Most dealership advertising is solely retail (what’s on sale today), but the most effective way to build long-term success is to build a BRAND for your dealership. Your BRAND is a promise of an important buying advantage and a clear differentiation from your competitors. An effective branding strategy changes the thought process of the customer from “I’ll decide WHAT to buy, then WHERE to buy” … to “I know WHERE to buy, now I just have to decide WHAT to buy.” When you’ve accomplished this, your business stays strong, steady and grows exponentially over time through customer loyalty and referrals.
“Everything your company does and says at any given moment, down to the tiniest detail, either subtracts or adds value to your brand.” – Sergio Zyman (Former Chief Marketing Officer Coca Cola)
When people hear the name of your dealership mentioned, what words, images or experiences come to mind? Fast? Friendly? Fun? Fair? Sleazy? Indifferent? Loud? Sketchy? The foundation of a BRAND is trust. Customers trust your BRAND when their experiences consistently meet or exceed their expectations.
To earn customers’ trust, you must deliver what is most important to them, which is a buying experience that is quick, easy and stress free. Only one competitor, in a market of many, can be the cheapest, so it’s important to earn the customers’ trust to take “where do I buy” out of the decision-making process. The stronger your BRAND, the less important your price will be to your customers and the greater your profit margin can be.
It’s important to use a direct, easy-to-understand brand promise to differentiate your dealership.
This statement (tagline or slogan) should appeal to the customers’ wants and needs to assure the customer that their experience will be enjoyable. For continuity, this brand promise should be included in all broadcast, print and internet messaging as well as on collateral throughout the dealership. Every employee should be aware of the brand promise and make sure that they follow through with it in every department, every day. This will result in consistency, which helps build customer loyalty.
Earning customer loyalty can lead to multiple sales, not only from repeat sales to the same customer but also to that customer’s friends and family as well. Third-party word-of-mouth referrals can be very influential in getting your dealership on someone’s list. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you exceed a customer’s expectations every time. Another source of future sales includes kids who learn to drive their parents’ vehicles. If their parents drove your brand, the kids will have a familiarity with it and be more likely to consider your dealership if their parents are happy with the service they’ve received. This can continue for generations and bring the long-term growth and success you need.
Build your BRAND.