The BOOK Seller: 5 Questions With BOOK by Cadillac MD Melody Lee

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Book by Cadillac

Cadillac’s subscription service has been such a big hit in New York City that the American luxury car brand is now extending BOOK by Cadillac to Los Angeles and Dallas. For a monthly fee of $1,800 (after a $500 initiation fee), customers can get access to a portfolio of fully-loaded Cadillac vehicles. Other premium auto marques, including Porsche, are testing similar services.

With more than 7,000 subscribers in New York alone, the automaker has been pleased by the “overwhelming” demand since January’s launch by customers requesting to join the service.

BOOK by Cadillac has introduced entirely new customers to the brand and has been fully embraced by younger audiences as an innovative service that meets their ever-changing needs,” Melody Lee, newly appointed global director of the service, said a press release. “Introducing the service in Los Angeles and Dallas is a natural evolution of the program.”

Cadillac also is increasing the number of vehicles in its metro-New York fleet to keep up with demand. The brand also has launched BOOK by Cadillac as a pilot in Munich, Germany, with an eye to expanding it in other global markets.

Melody Lee - CadillacNamed Global Director, BOOK by Cadillac, last month, Lee is responsible for the successful growth of both BOOK as the luxury vehicle subscription offering it is today, as well as leading the Cadillac brand and executive team’s charge into future innovation areas.

Prior to BOOK, as Director of Brand Marketing for Cadillac, she was responsible for building Cadillac’s global brand identity and driving a clear and consistent strategy across all of its channels, products and markets.

We spoke with Lee for for more insights into this new chapter for Cadillac—and how she intends to throw the BOOK at competitors.

Why are you expanding BOOK by Cadillac now?

We’ve had overwhelming demand. Even though we started out saying it was for New York City only, we received overwhelming demand from handraisers all over the world. Recognizing the clear customer demand for the program, we made the decision to go to market where we know there is an affluent luxury customer and where we see an opportunity for Cadillac to grow our market share. Also, with the LA market, you’re tapping into the biocoastal luxury-lifestyle traveler.

BOOK by Cadillac app

Are you refining BOOK by Cadillac as you expand?

It’s very much a constant learning experience for us—we want to test and learn and flex and refine. Among the changes we’ve made are to increase the price to $1,800 a month; clearly there was a willingness to pay $1,500 a month, so we’ve raised the price as we expand. To more carefully manage vehicle lifecycles, we’ve instituted a mileage limit of 2,000 miles. That’s plenty of mileage, the way that customers have driven so far. And we’ve switched up the mix of cars, such as [offering more] CT6 plug-ins in Los Angeles because of the appetite there for electric vehicles.

How do you tackle the challenge of coming up with enough new SUVs and crossovers quickly enough?

Not to be glib, but BOOK actually helps solve that challenge for us. With a lease or finance payment, you think that the car will be with you for a while. But BOOK gives customers the ability not to sign up for a long-term commitment or have his or her lifestyle be forced into a particular vehicle, but have the vehicle meet his or her needs instead. We took away the burden of a long-term commitment [to a specific vehicle] and as a result people get to interact with a lot of different products that Cadillac has to offer. Try-and-buy is huge for us.

You’ve been a huge part of the brand overhaul at Cadillac, which could be a 1o-year process. How far along would you say you’re at?

We’re about one-third of the way into our long-term strategic plan, and BOOK is a product of pushing ourselves to live up to the tagline in our communications: “Dare Greatly.” It’s an effort to demonstrate that if you can’t win the battle, you need to change the battleground. BOOK is a great and shining example of how a 115-year-old luxury brand can take risks and be entrepreneurial, and as a result bring a new way to access luxury vehicles to customers.

BOOK by Cadillac

China is increasingly your biggest market and ever more important to the brand’s growth. How do your overall branding efforts translate there?

Yes, we’d been using a similar strategy in China already, so there’s been an effort to align the spirit of what we were doing there with the spirit of “Dare Greatly.” We’ve worked very hard over the last few years to recognize that China is a massive market of opportunity for us and therefore to get it aligned with our U.S. and global brand message. We are ensuring that “Dare Greatly” works for us in that  market and elevates the brand the same way it does in the U.S.


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