24 Seven Presents: Katie Kim of Cadillac – The 115-Year Old Startup’s Strategy to Outwit

A luxury car brand’s relationship with content creation, brand partnerships and experiences with Cadillac…

Katie Kim (Manager of Brand Partnerships and Experiences at Cadillac) discusses consumer touchpoints in the real world and the new brand experience center in SoHo, New York City Cadillac House in a conversation presented by 24 Seven Talent, in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. With hosts Lisa Berger, Dalia Strum and Edward Hertzman.

Cadillac House, outwit vs. outspend, and quantifying success

Kim describes Cadillac’s sprawling scope of work with breadth and depth in creating content from brand partnerships and experiences, the move of the global HQ office from Detroit to New York City, and Cadillac House as a new way to experience the brand. She describes Cadillac as a nostalgic brand of accomplishment and luxury, and touches on how the brand is taking positive nostalgia and translating it into a regaining of brand relevance today. Cadillac can be thought of as a115 year old startup and underdog, which shakes up how the company does business overall.

Kim talks about the importance of New York City as the center of luxury in the US, and why Cadillac can’t just copy what other car makers are doing. Instead of playing catch up with other brands, Cadillac is striving to strategically outwit them. She covers traditional communication vs. social media planning, and explains how everything Cadillac does is designed to be shareable. Cadillac is still determining benchmarks and commercial viability for brand experiences and partnerships, but is maintaining focus on clicks vs. engagement and ROI to quantify success and paint the picture of how buzz-worthy each event they host is.

Building relationships with the brand, content through a broader lens, and a retail lab

Cadillac is not in the game of pay to play,” says Kim. Developing relationships with partners who have a genuine interest in supporting the brand is where the success originates.

Kim shares the tagline “Dare Greatly” and that Cadillac is moving past featuring interesting people doing interesting things, and why the strategy is no longer to focus on borrowing equity from them or by sponsoring someone else’s event. She talks about in-person events using them to create content like the pop up retail boutique in Cadillac House and the retail lab built with CFDA, offering designers the opportunity to test brick and mortar retail works for their businesses. This strategy has enabled them to position Cadillac as a lifestyle brand, instead of an automotive company.


Growing brand relevance, a meaningful partnership, and namedropping in music

Cadillac House is a brand experience, leading people to buy a Cadillac because of a relationship. Kim discusses the importance of online brand presence, explaining that “by the time someone comes to a dealership, they already know what they want.” Kim explains the three year process of developing a relationship leading to a car purchase, the focus on making the brand relevant to new consumers, partnerships with Global Citizen, and opportunities for actions to gain access. She discusses adding a new layer for change by empowering change-makers, intimate concerts, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The results Kim presents show that the strategy is working, with Cadillac growing globally, showing brand-health KPI’s improving. Kim also gives a glimpse into how the movement of Cadillac’s HQ has changed the hiring mindset and how the company’s aggressive growth infuses high energy within.

Personal questions cover the most namedropped brand in music, an incredible Andy Warhol exhibit, and Kim’s final thought, saying “good content can come from anywhere…It’s a really interesting time. Content is not just top down anymore. It can be bottom up.”

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