What is a brand? It’s your dealership’s voice, your dealership’s identity, your dealership’s soul. It’s the trusted bridge built between your dealership and your customers. It’s what makes your dealership you, helping you to stand out from the competition. For your dealership to build its own personality, while remaining relevant to its customer type, you need to create a strong brand both online and offline. In fact, there’s never been a more important time than now to ensure your branding is at its strongest. With the digital revolution making it easier than ever for customers to shop with your dealership from wherever they are in the world, your brand needs to be consistent, strong, and easily recognizable at each customer touchpoint.
You want to be creating a unique brand that attracts new customers while striving to connect with and retain loyal shoppers too. And, contrary to popular belief, your brand is more than simply your marketing materials – it’s the way your dealership makes people feel when they visit and it’s the customer service of your staff. It’s the whole package, and you should always be striving to improve your brand’s image.
So, whether you’re having a complete re-brand, or looking for ways to improve your current brand, here are our top tips to help you get started. The experts at SnapCell help you brand your way into the fast lane, and get one step ahead of your competition.
Know who you are
Before you can determine your dealership’s brand, you need to dive deep into who your business really is. It’s important that you and your team have a clear understanding of who your brand is internally, before you begin to work on your brand, externally.
It’s at this point, that you need to consider your dealership’s vision, mission, and values. This is vital to your branding, so ensure you invest the right amount of time in getting to know your dealership.
Proactively arrange meetings between various teams, including sales, operations, and marketing – and don’t forget about your service department (sometimes, you’ll find it’s your technicians who will curate some of the most effective ideas). Dedicate these meetings to getting to know who your dealership is. To help, try shaping your discussions around questions like this:
- What is your dealership’s vision?
- What message are you trying to send, as a dealership?
- What are your dealership’s values?
- What goals does your dealership have?
- What are the priorities of your dealership?
It’s important to recognize and accept that the answers to these questions might change over time, and that’s nothing to worry about. In fact, we would suggest you put six-monthly or yearly meetings in the calendar to assess whether your vision, mission, and values have remained the same – and furthermore if your brand continues to truly reflect who your dealership is.
Know your customer
So, you’ve identified who your dealership is, but what about your customer? Create customer personas to determine who you want your brand to talk to.
What is a customer persona? In short, buyer personas provide your dealership with a guide as to who your clients are. Gone are the days when you can simply rely on shoppers to decide they want a car and so, pop into their local dealership. Today, mainly thanks to the internet, dealerships need to know what type of person their brand is speaking to, to ensure they actually get shoppers through the door and ultimately secure those all-important sales.
How many customer personas is too many? While there’s not really a specific number on how many customer personas you should create, we would advise you sticking to around three.
Again, bring in staff members from across your different teams, and together, create three or more customer profiles. You will then be able to create a brand or amend your existing brand to suit these customer types.
Perform a brand audit
Having determined what message you’d like to be sending, and what type of customer you’re hoping to speak to, you should now perform a brand audit.
What is a brand audit? In short, a brand audit is a way of assessing your dealership’s brand, and whether it’s performing its job correctly. A brand audit will help you identify any potential gaps in your branding, indicate where you can improve and strengthen it and benchmark you amongst your competitors.
To carry out a brand audit, you should:
- Review the consistency of your messaging, online, offline, and throughout your dealership premises
- Evaluate your sales data
- Carry out market research amongst your customers
- Review your web and social media analytics
- Look at your competitors
Commit to clear messaging throughout
As mentioned before, it’s more important than ever for every customer touchpoint to be consistently sending the same message.
What is the message you want to be sending? What is the tone of voice you want to have? What type of language do you want to be using? Once you’ve established the answers to these questions, make sure it’s clear at every opportunity. And customer service is no exception – in fact, your staff are vital to ensuring consistency of your brand.
How are you speaking to your customers?
Having decided who your dealership is and what customers you want to be targeting, you can now decide what platforms you’ll use to speak to them:
- What are the best ways to communicate with your target audience/s?
- Which channels will complement the demographic and customer personas you’re hoping to reach?
For example, if you’ve identified that you want to engage with older, more financially stable customers, then more traditional forms of marketing might be best suited to reaching them. Likewise, if you want to connect with first-time buyers, then you’re better off using social media to reach them.
What colors represent your dealership?
If you haven’t already, it’s time to give some thought to the color of your brand. After all, when used correctly, a color can have a huge impact on how a customer feels about your dealership and better still, be the difference between you securing a sale or not.
According to research, the top three most impactful brand colors, specifically for automotive dealerships are:
Funnily enough, many other industries might choose to avoid red, as it can be seen to represent danger and anger. However, in the automotive industry, it’s often a popular color choice due to being associated with fast cars and winning teams.
As well as clearly featuring in your logo, your dominant color should be used to draw attention to key information on your website, like ‘call to action’ buttons for example.
Accent colors should be used to compliment your dominant color. If you’re considering the customer experience, you ideally want them to focus on the dominant color first, before heading to links and information in your accent colors. You should have a maximum of two accent colors, or else your branding could end up looking messy.
You want your background color to add an extra level of personality to your brand, without overpowering the rest of the content. While black and white backgrounds are common, every dealership is different and you need to determine whether a black or white background works best with your dominant and accent colors.
Create brand guidelines
When it comes to your brand, your staff are your biggest ambassadors. Create a brand styling guide to ensure every single one of your employees is up-to-date and aware of your dealership’s branding. This will ensure that all of your marketing and sales techniques align with the same set of branding standards.
At the very least, your brand guidelines need to include:
- Your dealership’s logo and name
- Your dealership’s slogan, if you have one
- A color scheme and list of approved fonts (including sizes)
- Your dealership’s key messages, mission, and vision
- Approved dealership imagery
However big or small your dealership is, it’s essential that you create a set of brand guidelines. Consistent messaging will enhance your trust, reliability, and credibility, which will not only help to build strong customer relationships but retain shoppers too.
It’s really important that you empower your employees to be your brand ambassadors. You want each of them to feel excited and enthusiastic about your brand so that they echo your dealership’s mission, vision, and values.
To really get your staff on board, we would suggest you engage with your staff through the power of video. For SnapCell users, this couldn’t be easier. Create a short clip of your CEO or Marketing Manager giving staff an overview of your dealership’s brand, why it’s important that every customer touchpoint tells the same story and how they’re encouraging all employees to send a consistent message. Honestly, it’s not just customers who feel the positive impact of video – you’ll find that interacting with your team through video will be much more powerful than simply sending a text-heavy email.
Boost your brand using SnapCell
Once you’ve determined the basics of your brand, it will be time to look at the bigger picture.
What techniques do you use to speak to customers, both in-person and digitally? Pre-recorded video? SnapCell Live?
Do you want to improve the click-through rate of your emails, social media, and website by adding video? Do you want to improve customer experience on your website by adding ‘how to’ videos and walkaround clips of vehicles? Do you want to enhance the customer journey and give your brand a more premium status by adding professional-quality videos throughout your customer touchpoints?
Determining the color scheme, your logo, and text style form the foundations of your brand but what about taking things up a gear by adding a few more layers to your dealership’s personality? Get in the fast lane and use video to enhance your dealership’s brand. Schedule your free SnapCell demo today.