Subaru of America: Subaru Owner Love

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY/CHALLENGE

In 2007, Subaru of America was at a crossroads: sales were stagnant; some Subaru owners, generally among the most loyal in the industry, were beginning to consider other brands; Subaru, typecast for snow and rugged terrain, struggled to expand beyond the northeast and northwest, holding no relevance for the Sunbelt.

Moreover, the brand lacked an identity:

  • Its flagship model, the Outback, was a brand unto itself and not transferring any equity back to the parent.

  • The brand had 6 different taglines and campaigns over 7 years.

  • Advertising strategies shifted, but tended to pursue a product focus in an attempt to identify buyers for each car rather than identifying buyers for the Subaru brand

  • Media support for Subaru was consistently below the competition's, not just the “Big 3” Japanese brands but also vs. niche marketers such as Mazda, Hyundai and even VW.