Nissan rebounded from near bankruptcy in the late 1970s to become one of the world’s most profitable carmakers.
However, Nissan's narrow focus on cost management came at a cost: a weak and undifferentiated brand. European customers, in particular, had trouble identifying what Nissan stood for.
We developed an approach to brand engagement that focused on long-term change, turning Nissan Europe into a brand-driven organization. We sharpened their positioning and honed in on their communications to achieve new levels of clarity, inspiration, and emotional impact for their target customers.
Clarifying their brand message for target customers—and explaining why the Nissan brand should appeal to them—was a vital and exciting step that gave our internal engagement efforts a real sense of purpose.
Focusing on Nissan’s "commitment" culture, we aligned the brand with the business’s commercial objectives and ensured that the European VPs made a personal commitment to delivering them.
We also identified how the VPs’ operational goals related to the brand and linked their pay to improvements in brand opinion scores. Furthermore, we helped people across the organization understand the role and impact of the brand.
Our efforts redefined Nissan Europe’s approach to growing its business. The commitment to targets that would increase market shares by almost 50 percent—at one time considered incredibly ambitious—now appear eminently achievable.
It takes pride to build a brand that achieves that level of success.