With the company “on a path to an all-electric future,” General Motors is taking steps to signal major changes are coming by pairing a major new marketing campaign with a complete makeover of its familiar logo.
As part of the “Everybody In” campaign, the current, squared-off blue logo will be replaced by a new one with rounded corners and lower-case type presented in an appropriately electric blue hue. This marks the most significant change in the logo of the 112-year-old company since 1964. And it comes as GM is set to make some of the biggest changes to its business strategy in decades.
“We felt it was just such a transformative moment that this is the time that we would change again,” said Deborah Wahl, GM global chief marketing officer. “Our message here is that we believe there should be an EV for everyone.”
Since assuming the CEO post in January 2014 – and later adding the title of chairman – Mary Barra has pushed GM through a massive series of changes. It has, among other things, pulled out of weak markets like Russia and South Africa and even sold off its long-struggling European Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary.
(GM CEO Barra keynoting CES 2021 with look at electric Chevrolet pickup.)
The biggest transition is just really getting underway. Though GM has offered a handful of electrified vehicles during the past decade it is preparing to roll out 30 all-electric models by 2025, most based on the new Ultium architecture and batteries produced in a new plant in Ohio, and operated as part of a joint venture with South Korea’s LG Chem.
GM also has formed a series of EV and fuel-cell partnerships and alliances with companies like Honda and Nikola. And it is pushing into autonomous vehicles with its San Francisco-based Cruise subsidiary.
The EV push will begin in earnest this year with the launch of vehicles including the Chevrolet Bolt EUV and GMC Hummer pickup, and then it will accelerate in 2022. CEO Barra is expected to offer more details next week during the online version of the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show.
The “Everybody In” campaign will be “very significant” in size, according to Wahl, and while it will start in the U.S. it is expected to roll out globally in the months ahead.
(CEO Barra wants GM to be dominant global EV maker.)
There appear to be two key targets for the campaign. GM wants to reach out to consumers to let them know about its shift from conventional powertrain technology to battery power, and it hopes to build on the momentum it got with the October debut of the Hummer, which it claims was the most widely viewed online product debut in automotive history.
It clearly also wants to get the message out to Wall Street that it should no longer be ignored. GM’s stock price is only a slight bit higher than where it debuted nearly a decade ago after emerging from bankruptcy.
There is an unspoken rival in both those messages: Tesla. The California carmaker is the world’s largest seller of battery-electric vehicles, with global deliveries last year coming in a hair under 500,000, a record. GM is the second-largest player in the emerging market, but that has gained it little traction with investors.
While the Detroit carmaker’s shares have been hovering in the low to mid-$40 range over the past two months, Tesla’s has continued a meteoric climb. As of late Friday afternoon TSLA stock was trading around $870, up from a split-adjusted closing price of just $98.43 on Jan. 8, 2020.
This becomes only the fifth time GM has redesigned its logo – and the new look was clearly influenced by GM’s push into battery power.
(GM highlights innovation in new battery technology.)
“The underline of the ‘m’ connects to the previous GM logos as well as visually representing the Ultium platform. And within the negative space of the ‘m’ is a nod to the shape of an electrical plug,” a GM release said.