Jaguar Land Rover looks to cement brand positioning after record sales

Jaguar Land Rover says it will not rest on its laurels despite a 19 per cent rise in global sales last year and it plans to improve its brand identity through “consistent” marketing and communications.

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Jaguar Land Rover saw sales rise 19 per cent last year but isn’t resting on its laurels

Sales at the car firm hit a record 425,006 last year as demand for its vehicles increased across major markets including in China, Europe and North America. In the UK sales were up 14 per cent, with CEO Dr Ralf Speth attributing the performance to “continuing strong demand for vehicles across the range”.

“Our unrelenting focus on design, technology, innovation and quality has seen Jaguar Land Rover reach global consumers in more markets than ever before thanks to its most desirable product line-up,” he added.

The Land Rover brand sold almost 350,000 vehicles globally last year, accounting for 80 per cent of the company’s total sales and up 15 per cent. Jaguar posted its strongest full-year sales performance for 8 years up 42 per cent year on year to more than 76,500.

Much of the growth came from Asia Pacific and China, where sales were up 30 per cent, while Jaguar saw big sales rises in India, the US and Germany. The figures signal quite a turnaround for Jaguar Land Rover, which was bought by India firm Tata Motors in 2008 and was forced to ask for financial support from the British government at the height of the recession.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Jaguar Land Rover’s global brand strategy and identity manager Rebecca Murphy says while growth is up, the firm has identified Land Rover’s branding and communications as an area that needs work in order to build on the strong performance last year.

“We felt our communications didn’t reflect the strength and humanity the Land Rover brand has. We need to get a consistent and coherent tone of voice, balancing the heritage of Land Rover with passion to propel the brand forward so it is relevant and modern,” she added.

Murphy said the company ran some customer research to understand what the brand means to people. It found that while people see Land Rover and the Land Rover logo as “iconic”, it isn’t matching those expectations by creating a consistent brand experience across all the areas where it reaches customers, from dealerships to above-the-line marketing and DM.

With the help of branding agency Brand Union, Land Rover is now producing a set of robust guidelines to help marketers create a coherent experience across the 177 markets where it operates. This includes looking at factors including typeface and colour palette, as well as photo style and tone of voice.

Murphy says nothing about the Land Rover logo or message will change drastically, calling the plans “evolution not revolution”. However, she said work needs to be done to boost awareness and attract new customers to Land Rover.

“We want to make sure we’re embedding the essence of the brand and its ‘Above and Beyond’ strapline in all our communications and customer experiences. We have a great heritage and brand that people really recognise. We need to protect that and move forward, ensuring we area confident in the brand and its identity,” she said.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said UK car sales were up 10.8 per cent in 2013, with sales at the highest level since 2007, before the recession hit. Luxury car marque’s performed particularly well, with Lexus sales up 61 per cent, MG rising 29 per cent and Audi increasing 55 per cent.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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