For a luxury brand as recognizable and storied as Cadillac, one would perhaps assume that its Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for the Middle East, Nadim Ghrayeb, would have a relatively easy job on his hands. But that does not seem to be the scenario at all: over the last two years, Cadillac has been going through a self-imposed transformation in terms of how it is perceived in the market, and yes, this shift in direction has been happening here in the Middle East as well- and Ghrayeb has been tasked with marketing the brand across the region.
“Cadillac has undergone a big change in its brand image and the way it communicates to the public,” he says. “When you look at any kind of material from the brand, from a billboard to TV, you can see Cadillac reflects our way of thinking: it’s sophisticated, bold, and optimistic in tone, and these are our core values that everything at Cadillac is shaped around. It is not only our brand that holds these values true– we have also revamped who our brand and vehicles are aimed at.” For a luxury brand that has more than 100 years of history behind it (and a presence in the Middle East for more than 80 years), Cadillac’s shift in tone and messaging is characteristic of its efforts to stand out and attract customers in what is an extremely competitive market out there.
“Today’s Cadillac drivers are also bold, sophisticated and optimistic,” explains Ghrayeb. “Looking at the new luxury segment, our customers are looking for a global symbol of style, which represents the independently minded. We call them ‘entrepreneurials.’ They are not always entrepreneurs in the literal definition of the word, but they are successful people in their respective fields that share a common passion and a driven pursuit to realize their dreams, and live their aspirations.” And this thus explains the “Dare Greatly” theme that governs Cadillac as a brand today- but the genius of the motto is in that it is also reflective of all of the innovations the automotive company has showcased since its establishment way back in 1902. “Our history was built on daring,” the Cadillac website proudly declares. “Our future is too.”
With respect to the Middle East specifically, Ghrayeb says that Cadillac enjoys great brand recall here, and that factor has given it quite some momentum in the market. “Cadillac has been in the region for a very long time, with a positive brand perception, that models like the Escalade has enabled us to maintain,” he explains. “Now with our new brand direction and fantastic model line-up that is growing and diversifying, we are continuing to elevate it. What helps us in the Middle East is that the majority of the population is young. They are often ambitious, they share our brand values and are always daring to look to the future and grow. Also with SMEs on an upward trend, there is a rich market of self-starters who look for a brand like ours to align with.”
As for its portfolio here, Ghrayeb reveals that every model in the Cadillac line-up is available in the region, thus giving customers here the luxury of choice. “However, our main focus is on the recently launched CT6, which redefines the luxury sedan segment with advanced technology and design, and the XT5, which brings innovative engineering, craftsmanship and driving experience to the crossover segment,” he says. “We will also look to create excitement around our performance V-Series vehicles, a lineup that combines all the hallmark designs of a Cadillac with exceptional performance. The range includes the CTS-V sedan, with a supercharged V-8 engine producing 640HP giving it a sprint time of 3.7 seconds from 0-100km/h. Also in Cadillac’s performance line up is the ATS-V sedan and coupe powered by a 3.6LTT engine producing 460HP with an acceleration of 3.8 seconds from 0-100km/h.”
Nadim Ghrayeb offers entrepreneurs five tips for branding
1. Be daring “This might be a cliché, but it is true. Always look to do things differently. In a world that is becoming more homogenized, people are looking for new and different experiences, and this applies, regardless of whether they are going to a restaurant or buying a new car.”
2. Listen to your customer “This might sound obvious; however, many companies are inward looking and change and update their products only based on what they think. It is critical now to listen to the customer, take their feedback, and integrate it into next gen products.”
3. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it “If you have a product that is working, don’t change it or look to branch out a 100 different ways for the sake of it. By all means, be forward thinking, but the brand and products have to evolve with the customer.”
4. More is less “We often see a number of brands advertising looking cluttered with many messages trying to be communicated in one image. Simplicity is key: have as few messages as possible, and communicate them powerfully to make it easier for the customer to understand your brand.”
5. Having a good product is not enough “As mentioned earlier, just having a good product is not the only factor in customers buying decision. Companies have to give customers a full experience in and outside of their store, continually talking and listening to the customer and engaging with them in an authentic way even when they leave the store.”
Community and collaboration
Nadim Ghrayeb explains the Khazzan X Cadillac community space in Dubai , UAE
“’Dare Greatly’ is what we live while working on the Cadillac brand, as a testament to our past and our vision of the future. As a company that has always looked to push the boundaries of what is possible, we are looking to continue this thinking to drive us to further success.
We have built a platform with Dare Greatly that celebrates and is led by individual passion and creativity. For instance, we partnered with Khazzan to create Khazzan X Cadillac, a multipurpose community space based in the center of Dubai, with an on-site café that hosts everything from art installations to yoga classes, from markets to meetings, from guest speakers to craft classes. Creating a community space is not traditionally the kind of thing an automaker would do, but we see it as an innovative way to address a need we saw and to be a part of Dubai.
The partnership with Khazzan gives us a space in the region to allow people to be creative, cocreate and be inspired. We look to strengthen this message with collaborations with local artists like Hussain Daghriri: a young Saudi photographer who travelled across the Southern Region of Saudi Arabia and documented the varied culture of that region. His journey was then exhibited at Khazzan X Cadillac to give others the opportunity to learn and be inspired of the great work we have done with Hussain.”