HOW DOES AN ICONIC CAR COMPANY TRANSFORM ITSELF INTO A LUXURY BRAND THAT JUST HAPPENS TO MAKE CARS?
Cadillac, once a prominent luxury brand, wasn’t meeting sales expectations. The brand was of little relevance to today’s younger, rapidly changing idea of global luxury. Cadillac approached Publicis to transform the brand positioning and customer engagement. I had the privilage to lead the digital and product design.
THE IRREPRESSIBLE PURSUIT OF LIFE
In 2014, Cadillac created a new brand idea called ‘The Irrepressible Pursuit of Life’; supported by the belief that every Cadillac experience should be original, exceptional, and with the spirit of America. Working with the strategy team, we researched what is the sentiment and behavior of the Americans, and what the new brand values represent in their lifes. Here's a selection of insights that helped us frame our targetted mindset: creative self starters that believe in experiences over status or money.
THE RISE OF INDIVIDUALITY
Irrepressibility = Expressing your true self and passions.
THE SUCCESSFUL AND NEVER TRULY FINISHED
Pursuit = The thrill of continual improvement.
THE VALUES OF THE AMERICAN DREAM HAVE SHIFTED
Life = A life full of varied experiences.
A NEW MINDSET: THE ENTREPRENEURS
Our research showed that the idea of the American dream was changing – young Americans are more focused in building their dream and make an impact as opposed to follow the rules and do the expected. This vision applies to the luxury industry as well. For us, this meant that we had to change the brand look and feel, tone of voice, media, and products to connect with our desired audience: the entrepreneurs, and create a new definition where the irrepressible drive of Sillicon Valley meets the creative vibe of Downtown NY.
We wanted Cadillac to become the co-conspirator, a brand that inspires innovation, style, and action. We looked for inspirational models that are pushing the envelop in the areas of tech, design, film, science, and social impact, and with who we could create content for our new brand vision. These figures were Steve Wozniak, Njeri Rionje, Jason Wu, Anne Wojcicki, and Richard Linklater.
So we had an audience, role models, and a new attitude for Cadillac. But the most difficult question was still in my notebook: how can we create a deeper connection between Cadillac drivers and our new brand values? We wanted Cadillac to be the co-conspirator, and empower every Cadillac owner to be an entrepreneur. Here's a selection of concepts that I sketched.
An important research insight that resonated with us was the growth of crowdfunding platforms and their enormous impact. 68k entrepreneurial projects had been funded just on Kickstarter, raising up to $1.3B. This gave us our moonshot idea:
"Cadillac Pledge" is a miles program that converts every mile driven in a Cadillac into pledgeable money on Kickstarter. It starts with a connected device that records each mile, which is linked to a dedicated app that converts them into Cadillac Pledge points, giving every Cadillac owner the power to fund innovative ideas on Kickstarter.
For this product I leveraged a narrow color palette from the Cadillac logo, and introduced a new typeface tracking language to increase the luxury look and feel. The app icon is a modern, logo inspired version of the Cadillac crest, and the photography shows low saturated and fashion driven crops. Working with these two different weights enabled me to include clear content hierarchy in every screen.
The key interaction of this app is the investment dial, which is inspired in automobile dashboards. By displaying it large, using the right white space around it, we're giving this tool the priority in the content hierarchy.
• Browse through curated ventures.
• Fund projects in real time with Cadillac Pledge Points.
Editorial content featuring curated and sponsored articles showing exclusive content about entrepreneurs.
• Personal data tracking.
• Funded ventures.
Cadillac Pledge was part of a large brand ecosystem. I led the concept and design of Pledge and the Dare Greatly digital campaign. In order to do so, I worked closely with the print and TV teams to assure cohesive look and feel across platforms.
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