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Old 05-15-2001, 08:01 AM   #1
deke
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Post Is Impreza a cult brand?

Though it isn't something I read very often, Forbes Magazine had an article about cult brands and how this can often be a bad thing for the company (Apple, Mazda Miata) and/or a bad thing for the original customers (Harley). You can read the article at: http://www.forbes.com/global/2001/0416/072.html

The word "cult" usually has a bad connotation, but if i-club members are a cult, I think it is a very good one. My WRX is my first Subaru and I can imagine myself buying nothing but Subarus for a long long time. However, I have become addicted to i-club. I read it every day (even when I have work to do) and I even made it my home page on my browser. Still, even though my job suffers now and then, I am learning a great deal about my car and I have no complaints. Personally, I think the Subaru line and the Impreza line are broad enough to avoid the cult brand problems.

Any way, if these Forbes guys are on to something, what do you think dedicated Subaru owners like all of you could do (or not do) to avoid the cult brand related problems of the Miata and/or Harley Davidson?

God, I sound like I'm giving some kind of essay question on a college test here!

If you don't want to read the article, here are a few excerpts:

Quote:
Love and madness-any marketer's dream and nightmare. A cult brand seizes the imagination of a small group who spread the word, make converts, help turn a fringe product into a mainstream name.
But fanaticism can be dangerous. The most loyal fans can hijack a brand and make serious trouble for a company. "As good as those groups can be, they can take control and doom a brand..."
and

Quote:
Mazda had hell to pay when it redesigned the cupholder in the Miata in 1998. Drivers complained so bitterly about its position in the center of the console that the automaker changed it in a later model. "These people are psycho," says Frederick Aikins, Mazda's manager of product communication. Now, when a modification is on the drawing board, Mazda tests it with customers first. And the Miata will never sell to the masses. Mazda sold 18,299 Miatas last year.
Of course, I am not suggesting Impreza owners have much in common with Miata owners
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:05 AM   #2
I ROBOT
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Sometimes we run out of lambs to sacrifice to the AWD gods.
Thats about the only problem I run into.

The issues you brought up would only seem to matter if one owned stock in Subaru.
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:11 AM   #3
Yotsuya
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Fear not; Subaru was beholden to no community of fans when they styled the new Impreza.
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:15 AM   #4
blaster88
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Evidently Mr. Aikins wasn't aware of who Mazda is building cars for. As manager of product communication, it is good that he learned that customers have preferences, preferences that matter.

I was not aware that Harley had been hijacked - they seem to be doing okay, the same is true of Mazda, Apple, etc.

Subaru used to be a "cult brand." There actually was an ad campaign (years and uears ago) with the tagline "The Best Selling Car in Maine." Stephen King is from Maine. Enough said about that.

Subaru (of America, anyway) has actively sought to simultaneously niche market and mainstream its products. Sounds like an impossible task, but it has actually worked. Despite its open appeal to lesbians, Outbacks sell like hotcakes to the family crowd, and RS's sold like hotcakes to young men. And practically everyone who has cable knows the WRX now.

One measure of what is going on is how many Subaru items are for sale on ebay and their prices. There used to be 5-6 pages of stuff if you put Subaru in the search box. It is 9-10 now, and there were regularly 1/10th scale WRC Impreza RC cars for $59.99. Prices on those are up near a hundred when you see them - which means that they aren't wasting away on some retailers shelf anymore.

So I think SOA is succeeding in their job, which is to sell (more) cars and make (more) money.

As for the cult of Impreza, PM me and I will send you details of where to send all your worldly possessions.
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:15 AM   #5
North Ursalia
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<FONT face="Comic Sans MS">Quick!!! Hide the ceremonial robes!! They're on to us!!! Seriously though, it's a good cult to be a part of... it's not like Alex and Nick have us brainwashed or anything... oh yeah, here, drink this CoolAid .

Brian
AIM: captaindamorgan ICQ: 84483950
http://ravensblade.cjb.net
"Eureka!" may be loosely translated as "Duck! It's gonna blow!"</FONT f>
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:17 AM   #6
Kevin Thomas
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It's already to late for me. I'm addicted! I think, eat and dream Subaru (REALLY). I don't know what it is but it's pretty bad.

How bad is it? *Personal Stuff* I was in the shower today with wifelady and she decides to get 'cuddly' . I heard the word 'Subaru' on the fish shaped radio in the shower and had to brush her off for a second. It had something to do with some kind of special deals Matt Slap Subaru in Newark, DE was doing. I had to listen to the whole commercial before continuing on. Wifelady-----&gt;
Me----&gt;&lt;-----Commercial trance. I am doomed folks! You have been warned!

Pleaides Chant:
Ho man I, eh star of five
Treat me riiigghht oh AWD
Feed me torque oh boxer 4
Cum bi Ya Me grip galore

[This message has been edited by Kevin Thomas (edited May 15, 2001).]
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:18 AM   #7
deke
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Hey I Robot,

Lambs? I thought it was mountain goats - after all, they have better traction on the hills.

I disagree that only stock owners need to worry about this - look at what happened to Harley customers: huge price increases and business men posuers dressing up like bikers for weekend drives and even goint to Sturgis. I'm sure Impreza prices won't double, but my Subaru dealer was telling me that the WRX seems to be the new Yuppie guy car. It could become pretty obnoxious and if a new dominate customer group emerges, Subaru may have to cater to them over the original Impreza customers. It's a long shot, but I thought the subject was interesting.

The article did mention that owner groups (like i-club) are the best way to avoid cult brand problems.
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:27 AM   #8
deke
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Hey blaster,

I live in Ann Arbor, MI., lesbian capitol of the midwest ("not that there is anything wrong with it") and now that you mention it, all these Outback drivers around here make sense. However, it seems that most lesbains around here were just going through an experimental fad (I can't tell you how many guys I know are going out with "ex-lesbians" around here). As more and more go back to men, will Outback sales suffer, or will they simply switch to Foresters?

Seriously, I did say that I think Subaru's line is deep and broad enough to avoid this kind of problem - I just thought it was an interesting subject.
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:27 AM   #9
Poseidon
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Post

Don't eat the pudding.

Jordan
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:28 AM   #10
Zahnster
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My Dad told me my WRX was my Yuppie Car.

Houston, We may have a problem here....
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Old 05-15-2001, 08:36 AM   #11
subymamma
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This is a very dangerous cult. It brainwashes its members and at i-club meetings held at Subaru dealers forces members to plege their loyalty by carrying out unplanned automobile purchases. (That was us)......
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Old 05-15-2001, 09:00 AM   #12
chuckles
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dont forget the bombarding of subliminal messages.<FONT size="1">You need a new Exhaust.</FONT s>
that force you to buy after market parts.
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Old 05-15-2001, 09:08 AM   #13
WagonMonster
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Talking

ANYTHING that can make a bunch of guys sit ariund a parking lot for 7 hours and talk about cars MUST be a cult.


[hypnotic trance] Muuuust spend alll extra cash on modding car, cannot control myself [/hypnotic trance]
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Old 05-15-2001, 09:15 AM   #14
Rexwell
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Chuckles - I had a Kevin Nealon flashback there.

I think it's working...
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Old 05-15-2001, 09:28 AM   #15
Idjiit
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Post

This article was in Forbes? The same magazine that trashed the Impreza? Lest we forget:

"The blistered fenders give the WRX a rally-car look--but is that really the effect you want at valet parking time?"

and of course,

"Ideal mate is someone who lives on a CPA's income."

Why are you reading that rag anyway? Sheesh.

Instead of being a cult brand, it should be a brand marketed exclusively to yuppie snobs who's only goal is to look good come valet time? Hrrm.
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Old 05-15-2001, 09:32 AM   #16
deke
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Idjiit - I had no idea they trashed the WRX - but maybe this will help deter the potential yuppie whose only concern is status - there are enough cars for that kind of shopper.

I only bought the rag because of the Apple related stuff. I promise I will never buy another copy again - I swear.
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Old 05-15-2001, 09:52 AM   #17
Mike Smith
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Where DID I leave my purple shroud?

And the Impreza's shift gate IS heavenly.


<IMG SRC="http://web2.airmail.net/lhbc/hbhgtd.jpg" border=0>
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Old 05-15-2001, 10:30 AM   #18
Star*Child
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Talking

This is actually my first Subaru and I've <FONT size="-2">YOU NEED BRIGHTER HEADLIGHTS</FONT s> been nothing but impressed with it. Then I found this website and <FONT size="-2">YOU NEED A RALLY STYLE WING</FONT s> I've been completely addicted. I can't stop <FONT size="-2">YOU MUST MODIFY YOUR CAR</FONT s> checking for new posts and reading all the things that people are doing with their Subies.

Everyone here is great and it's always good for a laugh or two. If this is a cult with subliminal messages bombarding
<FONT size="-2">PURCHASE VINYL</FONT s> me, then I'm okay with that.



[This message has been edited by Star*Child (edited May 15, 2001).]
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Old 05-15-2001, 10:36 AM   #19
I ROBOT
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Heavens Gate... the fun never stops with those guys.. oh wait...
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Old 05-15-2001, 10:41 AM   #20
WREcks
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Exclamation

It's true, ever since I ordered my WRX it is all I talk about with friends and family. So this was bound to happen sooner or later... my friends/relatives set up an intervention for me.
Oddly enough it was the same day I picked up my brand spanking new car and I was greeted at the door by stern looking friends. After about 4 hours or so of them talking to me, I took them for a ride and now they have joined us my fellow brethren! Muhahahaha!

WREcks
That's the POWER of all wheel drive.
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Old 05-15-2001, 10:59 AM   #21
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Exclamation

You are getting Veeeeery Sleeeepy!
<IMG SRC="http://www.williwood.com/images/misc/hypno.gif" border=0>
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Old 05-15-2001, 11:00 AM   #22
JC
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Sorry to go OT, but deke goto the midwest forum. Oh and I think the Impreza is a cult car.
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Old 05-15-2001, 11:01 AM   #23
Retsyn
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I don't thkink I would have called it a "cult" car until recently. It was always more of an enthusiasts car. It's stupid crap like the "CALL TO ARMS" post that IMHO takes things distastefully into the cult arena. People have been calling our cars "Ugly" and "Quirky" for a LOOONG time now. Up until quite recently, cooler heads have prevailed. If someone posted something erroneous on another board we would compose a well thought out response/correction and submit it. Heading off to epinions en mass to flame the "Idiot" is EXACTLY the same behavior that we have long maligned Club SI for. Can we PLEASE evidence a little civility and not bring forth the inquisition for every imagined transgression or slight? People have opinions, not all of them are the same. Deal with it.
BTW: Avoid the Koolaid.

[This message has been edited by Retsyn (edited May 15, 2001).]
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Old 05-15-2001, 11:11 AM   #24
I ROBOT
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RETSYN!
Your transparent attempt to drag me into a long and bloody flame war is in vain! I RESIST YOUR EVIL ATTEMPTS!! THE MAN ON EPINIONS had absolutely NO IDEA what he was talking about and NO PURPOSE to post what he did about he Impreza. But flaming is not the answer, dont you dare put that idea into anyones head! You certainly are the rabblerouser!!! Little scamp!!


<IMG SRC="http://210.254.95.20/showroom/img/pleo_l.jpg" border=0>
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Old 05-15-2001, 11:22 AM   #25
Retsyn
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LOL! All I'm saying is keep it civil and well reasoned. I agree, he IS clueless ('cept maybe about the dead moose's butt part KIDDING). Next thing we know we'll have jackasses going to Mustang boards repeatedly posting "WRX OWNZ U!".
REMEMBER!
"There are many decaffeinated brands on the market today that are just as tasty as the real thing!"
When they come here we all get annoyed and call them Trolls. Let's not become Trolls on someone elses.
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