Michael Zammuto on the best and worst in automotive branding

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2013—

Most consumers know full well that some auto brands are more reliable, better-designed, or simply more attractive than others—and according to Michael Zammuto, the realities of auto branding are rich with implications for the car industry. To illustrate his point, Michael Zammuto highlights a recent report from 24/7 Wall Street, which comments on the fact that some auto brands are simply more appealing than others—and that the more appealing the brand, the more money consumers are willing to part with. Zammuto has issued a new statement to the press, weighing in on the report.

According to 24/7 Wall Street, “consumers know what matters,” when it comes to vehicle brands, “and vote with their wallets. A more appealing car commands a higher price, sells more quickly and develops customers who are loyal to the brand. Cars with low score tend to do worse in these areas.”

The article goes on to cite evidence from a recent J.D Power survey, which seeks to evaluate consumer opinions of various auto brands on the basis of design, performance, features, style, and comfort. The measures add up to provide the car’s score for the Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) report for 2013.

“The important point that this article makes is that these scores are not just matters of vanity, and they are not some meaningless marketing drivel,” Michael Zammuto explains. “The cars that enjoy the best public perception, in these categories, sell for much higher prices. Cars that are ranked lower do not sell nearly as well. The perception of a brand directly impacts bottom-line sales figures.”

“Many of the car brands with lower APEAL are struggling in the U.S. auto market,” the article confirms. “Nationally, sales are up by 7.5 [percent] this year, compared to the same period in 2012. Of the 10 brands with the lowest APEAL scores, eight grew at a slower rate or had
Expert Michael Zammuto Weighs in on Auto Industry’s Need for Better Branding Page 2

declining sales.”

According to the report, the cars with the worst brand APEAL include Smart, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jeep, and Mazda. The runners up for this dubious distinction include GMC, Chrysler, Fiat, Scion, and Toyota. “This last one is surely experiencing residual effects from its fairly recent product recalls,” offers Zammuto.

Zammuto then turns his attention to the question of what these companies can do to improve their public image. “First and foremost, these auto makers need to understand that the public consensus is very much against them, and that they are faced with some serious reputational woes that demand total brand overhauls,” he says. “These companies need to develop brand identities that speak to quality, trustworthiness, and style, and then inundate consumers with this new brand message.”

The best approach, Zammuto says, would be for these auto brands to enlist the services of a professional reputation management company. “Our company, Brand.com, is really in the business of building brands,” he says. “We have the tools and the strategies that can bring new brand equity to auto brands like these.”

Michael Zammuto is the president of Brand.com, and a leading figure in online reputation defense.


Michael Zammuto is the President and COO of Brand.com, and as such he is one of the most public advocates for the online reputation management industry. An award-winning technology entrepreneur, Zammuto has successfully launched and led numerous thriving online startups. His previous career experience includes work with ChaCha and Ontario Systems, among other companies.

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