A great General Manager thinks about their business the right way and sets the brand and team’s true North, this is just what Marek Letowt, General Manager for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars South Africa brings to the forefront of the local Rolls-Royce business.
It is said, to promote super luxury motor cars, brands have come to rely on professionals who can meet the expectations for the vision of their brand while promoting it effectively to a targeted customer base. Letowt lives the Rolls-Royce brand and knows all there is to know about these bespoke motor cars, falling in love with Rolls-Royce from a very young age.
At age 19 Letowt started his career in the automotive industry in 1999 as a management trainee at BMW SA. Under the ownership of BMW, he was responsible for relaunching Rolls-Royce in South Africa in 2004 and has enjoyed managing the brand for just over a decade.
Letowt’s relationship with cars started when he was just four years old and asked his mother ‘what the best car in the world was’, she replied, “Rolls-Royce” and when he was 21 years of age he bought his first Rolls-Royce at an auction, a 1984 Silver Spirit.
Being a General Manager of the most quintessential car brand in the world, requires precise consideration and understanding of not only the product but also the history and journey of the company. Letowt makes it clear that he not only leads the brand locally but also lives it in his personal life. “Once you completely immerse yourself into what it is you are doing, tangible elements of leading its growth become second nature. My passion has always been to portray Rolls-Royce for what it really is, which is authentic luxury that separates itself to retain its cachet and mystique,” says Letowt.
Rolls-Royce being a global company, and a name known to most, has many strict limitations which are in place to ensure the brand is upheld, but most importantly delivers on its promise of being bespoke and one of a kind among its competitors. “We create bespoke vehicles for our clients, nothing is ordinary, art and design is our passion and we constantly aim to provide an experience that is truly exceptional,” adds Letowt.
When asking Letowt what business principles have helped him succeed, he had the following to offer:
1. Advocate beliefs – You cannot excel at anything if you do not instinctively believe in what you are selling, more so in the super luxury market which is extremely niche. Luxury brands should advocate beliefs and values to customers rather than simply rely on its legacy. Unlike commercial companies, super luxury brands strive to please those customers whose beliefs align with their own.
2. Be more than a logo – To build and market a successful product you need to define it first. Symbols portray a story, like the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy. These symbols and tales define a brand, making it intriguing and fascinating adding to the appeal.
3. Understanding the ‘super luxury’ concept – A super luxury brand is all about fine craftsmanship, exclusivity, integrity and time taken to produce the final creation.
4. Reaching your client – Understanding who your target market is and how to reach them effectively is core to any General Manager’s job. A super luxury brand’s customer is significantly different from any other brand. Its very niche and challenging to penetrate.
5. Involve the customer in a ritual – Going above and beyond and creating offerings which they cannot receive anywhere else. This involves the customer in a ritual which makes them feel they are getting exceptional and exclusive experiences.
“In luxury brand management, most industry players have realised that experiences are essential. Super luxury brands are an entirely different proposition and require a very specific approach to brand management and marketing and this is exactly what we offer and will continue to offer at Rolls-Royce, in South Africa,” concludes Letowt.