Does Your Auto Dealership Have a Branding Strategy?
When you think of brands what comes to mind? You probably consider brands to apply to certain common consumer goods such as cereals, wine, and even laundry soap. But did you know that your auto dealership should also have a strong brand? If this is the first time you have considered this then it is time to talk about building a good branding strategy for your auto dealership. This will help your dealership stand out in the crowd of auto dealerships found throughout the USA & Canada.
A brand should be tangible in the minds of your customers for it to be effective. This means you need to sit down and consider carefully just what your auto dealership represents as far as you are concerned. What values do you think your vehicles bring to mind when their brand is mentioned? Some good values that many customers may relate to are: affordability, family-friendliness, safety, durability, quality, and affordability. Does your auto dealership bring these values to mind when you promote your vehicles? If yes, then you do have a brand already. If not, then you have your work cut out for you to build a strong brand.
One way to build that strong brand is to assess the vehicles you are selling carefully. Do the vehicles function well over the years or do they break down easily? It is important to sell cars that are durable and function well over time. Do the vehicles look great even without waxing and polishing? That means your vehicles have quality exteriors. Do customers drool when they get in the driver’s seat just to see how it feels to be in your vehicles? That means the interiors are great looking and very comfortable. Do customers nod their heads when they inspect the trunk of the car? Customers need cars with ample storage space too. Does the engine make them go “ooh” and “aahhh”? It means knowledgeable drivers can spot a well functioning engine even at first glance. If your answers to all these are positive, then you do have very good vehicles to sell which is half the battle won.
The other half of the battle is the marketing approach your auto dealership takes. What market segment do you think would be in the best position to acquire your vehicles? If you are selling small cars that are easy to maintain and easy to park, then you are looking for customers who are on a budget but still need a functional car to bring them around. If you are selling sedans that are presentable yet still affordable, then you are marketing these to customers who have capacity to pay for a mid-range vehicle. If you are selling SUVs (sport utility vehicles) then your market for these are the weekend warriors who might go on road trips occasionally or frequently. Knowing the market segment that your vehicles would appeal to means you can then create marketing programs aimed at each particular market segment and price the vehicles accordingly.
Ah yes, pricing. That word brings about mixed reactions from the public, which is why you should also target your marketing the right way. Which markets have the disposable income needed to pay for your vehicles? Some customers may be in the high income bracket while others could be in the middle class and working class markets. Your brand should represent something to each of these markets so that they know which vehicles are the perfect ones to match with their capacity to pay. Naturally, some customers may have their eyes on the nicer vehicles but they may lack capacity to pay. You should steer each customer to the vehicles that are within their reach.
Your brand should also have strong recall in the minds of the public and that means giving your auto dealership the right image building program. By image building we mean that you can create a marketing program that people immediately remember especially when the brand name of your vehicles is mentioned. Strong brand recall is how multiple vehicles are sold among many, many customers. As mentioned, you need good values behind your brand if the brand is to produce strong recall. If for example the values you want to showcase are “family-friendly, safe, and durable” then you might create ads showcasing a family in an SUV driving along a deserted country road. If you want values such as affordability and quality, you can also feature ads showing a young white collar professional stepping into your showroom ogling a small compact car. This way your brand is strengthened and people can relate closely to what your auto dealership is selling.
Written By Daryl Diemer – Founder of Diemer Corp
August 14, 2014