New marketing strategies for GM electric vehicles, including Hummer and Silverado EVs.
General Motors has waged an all-out assault on the electric vehicle segment. Aside from the affordable Bolt, Cadillac has introduced the Lyriq recently to great success. Elsewhere, GMC's Hummer EV twins are proving successful, and soon, the Silverado EV and Blazer EV will hit the scene, too.
But how will GM convince buyers to switch from ICE vehicles to battery-powered ones? According to the automaker's top marketing executive, the company has several strategies in place. Deborah Wahl told CNBC that allowing customers to ask questions is important. "People are at different levels of knowledge of EVs, and so they need different information," she added.
Customers can, for example, make use of the GM EV Live video chat platform. This allows clients to call into showrooms and ask questions about electric vehicles. Without even visiting a dealership, prospective buyers can learn more about electric vehicles and how they work.
Wahl explains that futuristic styling and EV drivetrains aren't enough to entice the customer. As Tesla demonstrated, people are enamored by the bells and whistles, so cutting-edge in-car technology is essential.
"They're already mesmerizing people because the experience is so stunning, not only just the core driving but the technology that you have inside," added Wahl. But even though GM is looking to the future, it's still relying on trusted methods from the past to sell electric vehicles.
"I do believe in the core basics of marketing, which is tell the story, tell it well, do it in an engaging fashion, and if you're really good, you'll make a cultural impact," remarked Wahl.
Great marketing remains crucial to the brand's success. Once seen as the preferred mode of transport for octogenarians, Cadillac is reinventing itself with all-new electric models. The Lyriq is just the start, with the Bentley-rivalling Celestiq expected to debut in 2024.
While traditional marketing is important, General Motors is also embracing the new world of social media and influencers. Wahl explained how things have changed. "Influencers are the new media channels ... [social media] allows us to get the core messages out to the right audiences at the right time. It's pretty easy to see, you know, which influencers impact which targets."
Recently, the GMC Hummer EV made a surprise appearance in the Call of Duty gaming franchise. Elsewhere, GM has teamed up with Tik Tok influencers, reaching an entirely new audience.
The automaker has tapped the world of celebrity as well and, in February, released a star-studded commercial previewing its electric cars. Renowned comedian Will Ferrell has also joined the fun on numerous occasions, using his influence to market various GM electric cars.
"We have to be even more clever. There is more competitive activity, more innovations, I think, than at any other time in automotive history since we changed from horses to cars," said Wahl. "For us right now, it is to work on the transformation of the industry to EVs. We believe EVs are the future."
Interestingly, this is something Mercedes-Benz is doing as well. CEO Ola Kallenius previously said he believes luxury buyers will be the ones to spur the transition into electric vehicles, with the technology slowly trickling down to mainstream segments. GM may be targeting the wealthy, but vehicles such as the impending Blazer EV and the $30,000 Equinox EV will cater to eco-conscious consumers on a budget.