GM Replaces Logo at Detroit HQ

GM has replaced its well-known blue logo on the front of its Renaissance Center complex in downtown Detroit after its listing in the New York Stock Exchange last week, further enhancing its overhauled public image. The two-story plastic block-letter logo was substituted with a 625 square-foot LED screen, displaying historic versions of its logo.

We needed to freshen up our headquarters, and show people that G.M. is not the same anymore, that we are changing,” said Joel Ewanick, G.M.’s head of sales and marketing, who suggested the change.

The bright light-emitting diode display is visible from miles away from the 73-story tower that harbors the GM offices. Two more signs on the building will be replaced in the following months.

The new signs tell the century-old company's story, re-establishing its image as a main pillar in the US industry. GM felt it needed to cast a message to Americans, thanking them for the support during the bankruptcy protection procedures it underwent, and reassuring them that the automaker will carry on to represent American values in this new automotive era.

A marketing expert said GM had to measured in cutting its ties with the past, whether it was with a new visual style or simply repeating how “new” it was. “You can’t just get rid of the blue box and solve your problems,” said Laura Ries, president of the marketing strategy firm Ries & Ries in Atlanta, referring to the old sign.

She added that changing the people's perceptions of GM would be a slow process, that would take hard work. “They want people to like them, so they sometimes try to force the issue,” she said.

In spite of good advice, GM seems eager to catch consumers' attention with a huge banner stretching across the front entrance reading, “We are the new General Motors.”

Ewanick refused to say how much GM was spending on this image modernization, but he stated that operating the LED displays would be cheaper than illuminating the old plastic signs.

They use 15 percent of the power the old ones did,” he said.

You know these buildings are the backdrop of every news story about G.M.,” Ewanick added. “It is the symbolic center of our universe.
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