Jon Brancheau is leaving Nissan as its marketing chief for North America. He was credited for boosting Nissan’s brand image with consumers in the years he served as the carmaker’s North American marketing vice president. Brancheau was in charge of positioning of a series of new and redesigned product launches, including the Altima, Pathfinder, Sentra, Versa, Rogue, Juke and Leaf.
Aside from helping Nissan increase its volume, Brancheau’s greater hurdle was to make sure that customers in the United States got the right perception of the Nissan brand. Executives started grumbling in 2008 that Nissan was perceived as a murky discount brand.
Nissan executives felt that the brand’s image needed new clarity to stand out against Honda, Toyota and Hyundai. Nissan tapped Brancheau in 2010 to take charge of its marketing program and TBWA\Chiat\Day ad agency to broadcast Nissan as a brand for product innovation that boasts of edgy and sporty designs.
Since then, Nissan has pounded on the tagline “Innovation that excites” in its advertising. Brancheau was also responsible for increasing Nissan’s social media presence and even made it presence felt in college American football, which included a partnership with the Heisman Trophy Foundation.
Brancheau remarked that he is looking forward to “pushing the ‘pause’ button” to spend some quality time with my family while considering his next challenge. He said that he is confident that Nissan is positioned for sustainable growth and continued success.
According to Nissan’s senior North American spokesman Dave Reuter, the carmaker wants to set aside any speculation that Brancheau has been dismissed from his post.
He added that Nissan even tried to talk Brancheau into staying. Nissan Division posted a 13-percent rise in sales in the first four months of 2014 to 418,509 units, with its market share jumping to 8.1 percent at the end of April.