Saturn, a now long-gone General Motors brand, was always a little different. In a world before many top leaders and executives really pushed to be customer centric, Saturn already was.
Those motifs are echoed by Scott McLaren, former Director of Global Customer Relationship Management and Digital Marketing at General Motors. Specifically, he spent quite a bit of time as the National Advertising Manager for Saturn.
Forbes sat down with the former GM executive, who has been recognized for disruptive strategies, providing a template for many future GM vehicle launches. The topic revolved around technology and how the “Saturn way” influenced his take on branding and marketing no matter where he’s involved.
I would say it wasn’t so much the auto industry, but Saturn’s approach to the auto industry that had the most influence. The “Saturn Way” was great at teaching me that, no matter how deep you get into what you’re marketing or what you are making, at the end of the day, everything you do should be about people. No one wants to buy from a brand that isn’t invested in them or established trust. Customers need to be your number one priority — not sales leads, not new technology, not quarterly goals — and this mindset has definitely been helpful through my career and my transition into the insurance industry.
As for technology? It creates new strengths and weaknesses for automotive companies.
In turn, it has also allowed a great deal of the power in the relationship to shift to the consumer. If you’re not ready to recognize this and realize that the customer owns the relationship, you’ll be left behind, so being able to change in stride with technology’s growth and implement a strategy that enables a strong customer relationship, needs to be an essential part of a company’s business plan.