Jaguar Land Rover's McCullough Balances Differences And Similarities

British luxury marques Jaguar and Land Rover are on a serious tear.

Besides unveiling the Discovery Sport and showing the Jaguar XE in Los Angeles, and a new telematics system, JustDrive, the organization this year gave Jaguar its first-ever Super Bowl spot supporting “British Villains.” Land Rover, which has been doing branded content programs, just launched a digital novella by William Boyd, "The Vanishing Game."

Meanwhile, in late September the company consolidated marketing leadership for both brands under Kim McCullough, formerly brand VP for Land Rover.  As VP marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC, she reports to Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO of the North American organization. McCullough, who now oversees brand strategy, advertising, digital, experiential and partnerships for each brand, talks to Marketing Daily about the similarities and differences between the brands, and efficiencies.    



Q: You're overseeing both brands now. Isn't there a danger of the brands losing distinction with a melding of the organizations?

A: The role at the top is the only place there has been real consolidation. Everywhere else in the organization the structure has remained the same, and I think that's important point because we need to make sure as marketers we respect the brands. 

Q: The two brands couldn't be more different. Where are the commonalities?

A: I think as we step back a little bit, the Jaguar and Land Rover brands are quite complementary, even though each holds a very distinctive place in the market. The benefit is we don't need to artificially stretch one brand [to encompass cars and SUVs]. Each is a perfectly defined brand with a clear promise. And over 70% of our retailers are dual [carrying both brands]. 

Q: Where are the similarities that gain you efficiencies in marketing?

A: The similarities are the distinctiveness of the brands; 'Britishness' from design and performance perspective; reason to purchase for both brands; affluence of owners who are basically at the top of the industry; and the competition, which is basically the German brands. Those are the areas where the brands have the same kind of "watch out," so there are places and approaches where, as we try to reach an affluent audience effectively, we can work the same strategy: Things like digital insights, media placements. So from a marketing communications standpoint, everything consumer-facing would be distinct. But when we are working on plans, that's where we can get some synergy. 

Q: Where is the divergence in terms of the buyer psychographic and where the brands are?

A: The differences are attitude, because the Land Rover brand owner is roughly 10 years younger  versus the median age of the Jaguar brand, and Land Rover approaches life a little differently, more adventurous, more oriented toward style and design. For Jaguar, we're in a different place and starting with the Super Bowl spot we wanted to make a really strong statement. And we have the product to back it up now, so it makes sense for that brand to put the product in an amazing cinematic context, a "never been seen before" type of environment, allowing it to break through in a different way. 

Q: What are critical launches for both?

A: The Discovery Sport, our entry to the compact SUV segment, which is the fastest-growing segment of the SUV market; and on the Jaguar side the XE going into the compact sedan segment is also extremely important in a mature segment providing volume opportunities for the brand. 

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