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GM Promotes Marketing Chief

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Joel Ewanick
jeffgilbert Jeff Gilbert
Automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News....
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A big promotion for somebody who’s been seen as a rising star at General Motors.

Joel Ewanick appointed to the position of Global Chief Marketing Officer.  He had been heading GM’s marketing efforts here in North America.
“As we continue our rapid growth in major global markets, it is important that we take a more customer-focused view of our overall marketing strategy,” said Dan Akerson, Chief Executive Officer, in a statement released by the company.  “In a short period of time, with his marketing acumen and creative leadership, Joel has proven to be a vocal advocate for the customer.  He is the right leader to take GM’s marketing strategy to the next level.”

General Motors hiring Ewanick earlier this year.   He’d spent three years at Hyundai, and was credited with helping that brands growth.

He wasted no time in making big changes in marketing at General Motors.

“We’ve changed everything in the way we’re looking at the customer,” Ewanick told reporters at the recent LA Auto Show.  “Our goal is to change the customers, maybe even better than they understand themselves.”

That includes getting more information on customers, so General Motors can understand better how to hang on to customers long term.  And, Ewanick says, making changes behind the scenes to make GM’s marketing message more cost effective.

“You know if you can find five per cent in a budget our size, that’s a significant savings,”  Ewanick said.  “The money can then be re-applied and used in different ways to get our message out.”

Ewanick is also the man who killed Mr. Goodwrench, telling WWJ AutoBeat Reproter Jeff Gilbert that he wanted to stress the individual brands in GM’s marketing efforts, not the larger corporation.

Here’s how the press release from General Motors describes Ewanick’s new position:

As the single point for marketing working in close collaboration with the regional presidents, Ewanick will have responsibility for GM’s brands globally.  He will ensure consistent global messaging for all brands including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Opel and Vauxhall.  Ewanick will provide oversight for global brand enhancements in the markets in which they are sold and work in association with the regional presidents in countries where GM has partnerships and joint ventures.  He will also oversee strategically important global auto shows and GM’s corporate and brand marketing participation with major global events.

Ewanick saying that General Motors will need do some things that go beyond the car making business, to show the country that GM is a different company.   He didn’t give specifics, but the company recently made a big donation to the United Way, and auctioned of the second Chevrolet Volt as a fundraiser for the Detroit Schools Foundation.

“There are some things that we want to do that signal to Americans that we have a social responsibility beyond just making cars,” said Ewanick.  “That’s very important to us.”

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