Branding for Car Dealers

Jul 14, 2021Tips & Tricks

Volkswagen Branded Dealership

When it comes to marketing and promoting your car dealership, the word ‘branding’ often gets thrown around and not taken that seriously. In reality, the importance of branding your business cannot be underestimated. In fact, the value of branding is huge, and getting it right could be the secret to success for your dealership. After all, your brand is your identity, it’s your mission, your values, your goals, and ultimately, it’s that one string of consistency that runs throughout everything you do, seamlessly tying everything together. Your brand should tell your story, while connecting your dealership to its target audience, by presenting them with an identity that’s recognizable and familiar. Put simply, buying a car is a huge investment and customers will undeniably always lean towards buying from a brand they can trust are familiar with. That’s why our team of experts at SnapCell have used our knowledge of the industry to pull together these seven steps to success in getting the best out of your brand and ultimately, drive sales at your car dealership.

Determine Your Identity

Whether you’re looking to improve your current brand, or are starting from scratch, it’s important, in either case, to go back to basics, which means determining the identity of your dealership and what image you want to perceive. Ask yourself: what mission, values, and goals are at the core of what you do? How do you want current and prospective clients to see you? What are your priorities and what do you stand for?

This step plays a crucial role in the branding process, so don’t rush it. If you invest the necessary time in getting a real understanding of who your dealership is, then you’ll soon see the benefits, moving forward. Making any future decisions will seem a lot easier, simpler, and more straightforward if you map out who you want to identify as.

A top tip from us is to speak to as many of your employees as possible, not just the marketing team. Speaking to multiple members of your staff will allow you to gain a well-rounded understanding of the identity of your dealership. After all, regardless of their role, they are the people who each play a part in creating that customer experience, so should have their own idea about what your brand is and what your business stands for. If you don’t have the time to speak with staff individually, then create an easy-to-fill survey for them to fill out.

Evaluate Your Current Brand

Once you’ve thought about your identity, it’s important to take a look at what your current brand offers. This is otherwise known as a ‘brand image audit’ and can be done either by yourself, or you can employ an external marketing agency to support you with this, budget permitting.

A brand audit should look at your internal branding, external branding, and the overall customer experience. This includes assessing your current marketing material, for example, your logo, any physical promotional items, and your online platforms, like your social media and website. At this point, consider if your current brand is doing the job you want it to do. Is it speaking to your target audience? Is the tone and voice of your brand what you want it to be?

Analyze and evaluate your dealership’s website. This will help you to explore where your online audience is coming from, if your website is attracting the audience you desire and if visitors are staying on your website. You can use tools like Google Analytics to do this, which offers a free, basic service.

Similarly, use the analytics tools on your social media to assess how well your social channels are working. Are customers engaging with your brand across social media and furthermore, are you attracting the right audience?

Speak to your customers, it’s as simple as that. Re-branding or brand creation shouldn’t be a quick process, so invest the time in hearing how well your customers know your brand, what shoppers really want from you, and what their expectations are. Depending on the capacity you have available, you can use email surveys, online feedback forms, and social media questionnaires, to gain customer feedback on your brand. Take this one step further by exploring how well your brand is recognized outside of your target audience, by creating questionnaires and surveys specifically aimed at people who aren’t current customers.

Have a look at competitors’ brands and evaluate what they do similarly or differently to you. Get an understanding of what they do well and what you feel, they could improve on. It’s important to remember here, that researching your competition, doesn’t mean mimicking their identity. Strong branding doesn’t come from conforming to be the same as others. This is your story that you’re telling, be individual, unique, and be proud to stand out from the competition.

By carrying out a brand audit and reviewing the results, you’ll be able to assess what you’re doing well and what part of your branding needs improving. This information, combined with the results gained from your brand identification process, can be used to shape who your business is, going forward.

Create A Logo

Your logo is at the heart of your branding and will play a key role in how the public perceives your dealership. Simply put, your logo alone should represent who you are. With this in mind, think about the use of colors, imagery, and text, including what font type and size, as well as how many words you want to be included in your logo. Consider your target audience and design a logo that is targeted towards them.

Creating the right logo for your dealership can be vital in attracting the right audience, making your brand stand out, and ultimately driving sales. Think about those big car brands that have instantly recognizable logos. Aspire to have that same impact on your customers. You want them to instantly identify with your dealership by simply seeing your logo.

Keep in mind that your logo will be appearing on all types of marketing material and will be seen on several digital platforms and appliances, including smartphones and iPads, so make sure its design is suitable in all circumstances.

Consistency Is Key

Beyond everything, the consistency of your brand is key. Across every customer touchpoint – all marketing and promotional content, both traditional and online – your brand should be consistently shouting the same message.

This means that even the smallest elements should be considered, including using the same tone of voice across all platforms, as well as always using the same fonts and colors. While these might not seem very important, the consistency of all these little details plays a key role in the effectiveness and strength of your brand. Consistency not only shouts professionalism but also helps boost the reliability of your organization and encourages customers to trust your brand, something that is crucial when it comes to business reputation management.

Look Beyond The Marketing Material

With competition between businesses currently at its highest, you must recognize that successful branding is more than simply designing your logo. To drive sales and to create a strong and familiar identity, your dealership needs to be breathing your brand throughout everything it does.

Consistency needs to run through every aspect of your car dealership and that doesn’t stop at your logo, leaflets, and business cards. Educate and actively encourage your staff to tell your brand’s story, after all, they should be your biggest ambassadors, so empower them to become the voice of your dealership.

Likewise, if your business is in a physical building (rather than solely online) then it’s equally important for your dealership to reflect the ‘feel’ of your brand. This could be achieved by continuing to use your brand’s font style and tone of voice whenever possible, as well as choosing a color scheme that matches that of the rest of your marketing. Even the choice of images you use around the building can have a massive impact on the way a place feels and be instrumental in shaping the way visitors perceive your brand.

Build Trust

Although you might not believe it, building customer trust is essential when it comes to successful branding. One of your goals should be to get customer retention, working towards wanting shoppers to return to your dealership. Furthermore, you want them to tell their family and friends about your dealership and encourage them to shop with you.

When designing your brand keep customer loyalty in the back of your mind. Build a brand that encourages trust and reliability from your target audience. Consistency will play a huge part in gaining trust from your audience, so it really is important to ensure your brand can be clearly identified in everything that you do.

When it comes to building trust from your customers, then think outside the box. Take things up a gear by looking beyond basic customer service. Effective and regular communication between your dealership and customers can really help strengthen that necessary trust. With the simple click of a button, they can send easy-to-record videos, or messages to customers, the SnapCell app allows staff to keep customers regularly updated instantly and easily.

Create A Style Guide And Share It

Ultimately, the best way to ensure your brand remains consistent and is used by everyone throughout your dealership is to create a style guide.

Once you’ve agreed on the key elements of your brand, including logo creation, font style, imagery usage, and tone of voice, it’s time for you to create a style guide. This should be an easy-to-follow and clear document, which acts as a guide for staff to follow and reference if they need information on the brand of your business.

This document should be shared across all teams and your employees should be actively encouraged to read and follow it. Remember, inconsistency across your dealership weakens your brand, so it’s really important your staff keep in line with the style guide.

It’s clear that having a strong, recognizable, and trustworthy brand should undeniably be the top of your priorities if you’re wanting your dealership to keep one step ahead of the competition. Take things up a gear and drive sales by using the SnapCell app. Made with the automotive industry in mind, SnapCell can strengthen customer relationships and secure that essential trust from shoppers. Get in touch with the team of experts at SnapCell and see how we can help boost your brand.

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