Cadillac CXCX is about more than simply improving the customer experience. For many brands, it is actually about creating a shift in the company culture by becoming more “customer obsessed.” This theme brought an array of innovative brands and thinkers together in New York for CXNYC 2015, Forrester’s conference for customer experience professionals.

During a speaker spotlight Q&A titled, “The Customer-Obsessed Enterprise,” Melody Lee, Director of Brand Reputation & Strategy for Global Cadillac, spoke about bringing the legendary brand into the future of customer engagement, and how its omni-channel approach is cutting across all products and markets.

Lee’s vision for Cadillac is to move the brand ideology beyond the constraints of the auto industry. She wants to create a shift that positions Cadillac as a global luxury brand that just so happens to also sell cars. And as it moves customer engagement forward, there is a new feeling that is beginning to permeate the company culture, which thinks of itself, Lee states, as a “112-year-old start-up.”

“We are being given the chance at Cadillac to take the company away from the bureaucracy, by stepping back towards infancy, and back towards being truly customer centric,” Lee said. “Cadillac’s heritage has always been one of looking forward and we want to bring this brand into a new generation.”

The first step Cadillac took on its journey towards building this new cultural foundation was to re-ideate the definition of the brand. The ultimate challenge was to remove the tarnish it had suffered over the last three decades, and restore Cadillac’s iconic stature in the world.

“We had to take a step back and think about what Cadillac stands for, because without knowing that ourselves, we could not communicate it to others,” Lee continued. “We had to get back to square one.”

Through a highly strategic and coordinated transformation, Cadillac eventually redefined itself though six core business imperatives. From the top of the company all the way to the bottom, these core imperatives now exist at every level, and Lee explained each in order of importance:

  1. Organization. From the CEO to the showroom floor, the company culture was redesigned around an intense emphasis on the customer.
  2. Brand management. Cadillac remains militant about articulating a clear position for the brand by delivering consistent and focused communications to customers.
  3. Product portfolio. Cadillac has always produced exceptional products. And it pledges to always do so, while also striving to continually increase quality in the process.
  4. Driver profiles. A deep and meaningful understanding of the customer is needed for all brands, and Cadillac is no exception. It now remains dedicated to designing strategies to increase its relevance and meaningfulness to all drivers.
  5. Dealer Network: This is where the customer experience “rubber” really hits the “road.” The dealerships are acknowledged as the frontlines of customer experience management.
  6. Residual management: This category is an industry specific strategic imperative that the brand uses to generate a pricing discipline to remain competitive.

This is the way Cadillac approaches brand strategy, and how it determines what it stands for.

“We start with our own inspiring point of view and then add in the magical mix of products that are truly desirable, and throw in consistent communications over a long period of time,” said Lee. “And finally, and probably most importantly, we ensure that the experience that our customers feel, from the beginning of their journey to the end, is exceptional.”Cadillac customer experience

Passion is at the core of Cadillac’s identity, and it is what the brand uses to differentiate itself from the competition. The goal is to have this value flow through every aspect of the company. From promise to product, Cadillac builds an entire realm that becomes meaningful and inviting to the customer experience. It is a special place that invokes excitement and belonging, and it is becoming a rich and vibrant world that consumers want to join.

About the Author: Mark Johnson

Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty360. He has significant experience in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs.

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