Let me ask this: a customer walks into your dealership and you ask them what made them choose your dealership today. Which way would you rather they respond: (a) “I was driving by and saw you had the new Ford model, I figured I’d stop by and see what you’re charging for it,” or (b) “I’ve heard good things about your dealership - it’s got a great reputation, and I knew you would take care of me.”
Most dealers would likely prefer the second response. After all, your dealership brand should be more than a mission statement or an advertisement tagline. Your branding strategy should speak for you; potential customers should know what your brand stands for, what you have to offer, and how you do business without having to ask you.
Building a strong dealership brand consists of more than managers sitting around a conference table, brainstorming the adjectives they want the business to be known for. If you want to effectively create, manage, and enforce a brand, some sort of guide is a must.
The guide should contain both visual and content guidelines, including things like tone of voice, word usage, brand story, and visual things like fonts, logos, and other imagery. In other words, the style guide helps get the brand down in writing, and then tells you how to convey that image best.
It’s especially important to be on top of your brand’s social media game nowadays. Each profile for your dealership should be designed with a relevant cover photo and profile image that match the color and styles noted in your guide, and be well-maintained.
But don’t stop there; social media is an excellent medium to show off your brand’s personality, whatever it may be. Decide what kind of brand you want to be and go for it! (And, really, if Denny’s can pull off its particular personality, you can do anything.)
If your brand is not viewed as trustworthy, your business will not do as well. It’s that simple, especially in the automotive industry.
When in comes to garnering trust, you have to do more than just say “you can trust us!” - anyone can make that claim. Don’t just tell your customers you’re trustworthy; show them you are. Create a code of ethics and display it. By making it visible, you’ll reinforce your brand’s ethics and make it clear to customers what values you hold.
Don’t let your showroom fall to the wayside as you work on the other aspects of branding. It does not reflect well if your website and brand as a whole is high-tech and modern and your showroom still lives in the nineties.
Maybe your showroom needs a full overhaul, or maybe it just needs a few iPad terminals to really complete the transition. Either way, you should take a good look at your showroom and make sure it matches the image your want your brand to fit.
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