It’s Time for Dealers to Start Building Their Dealerships

Over the years, it has never been important for dealers to build their store’s brand. In the past, dealers would spend their entire advertising budget in advertising that brought customers directly to the store—direct response. While direct response advertising is vital for a store to be profitable, it should not be the full focus of your advertising. If you’ve always thought branding was only important for major conglomerate companies, you need to start thinking differently.

 

Your brand is your most important asset. Your brand is made up of your goodwill, reputation, and public perception. Unfortunately, some dealerships don’t pay enough attention to their brand. Your brand is more than just a logo on your newspaper ad and business cards. It is your corporate identity. An effective brand tells the car buying community who you are, what you do and how you do it and establishes relevance for potential car buyers. Your brand signifies how your business is perceived by your customers.

 

With positive name brand identity, your dealership has a higher perceived value over your competition, which should add to your bottom line getting you better grosses. With a great brand name, your salespeople will be received better by your customers, giving your store more credibility over your competition. With a positive brand name, you can get out of the daily battle of who has the lowest prices; you will sell more cars than your competitors, because you are perceived as the better place to buy.

 

So, how do you go about building your dealerships brand? The first thing you must determine is what your core values are. If you’ve been a car dealer for any length of time, I’m sure you know what is important to your customers. Yes, car buyers want a good deal, but customers I speak with also want to go to a store that will treat them right. Buyers have been burned time and time again by dealerships, so just being polite, knowledgeable, and friendly, will give you an edge over many stores. Once you establish your core values, you need to convey that to the public through advertising.

 

I always encourage my clients to use television, as I believe there is no better medium for branding. Television conveys emotion, builds brand name equity, and allows marketers to demonstrate and display the car we wish to sell. The television commercial remains the one marketing tool that gives the dealer complete control over the images. TV ads elicit emotional reactions from buyers and people from your dealership.

 

The battle on television for dealerships has become a war of who has the loudest voice over who has the best graphics, or lowest prices. By turning your focus to branding your store, you will immediately change the perception of your store. Your commercials will stand out, simply because everybody else is still yelling and screaming. The hard sell yelling and screaming commercial does not work anymore, so now is the time to change.

 

Look, advertising dollars are precious and should be spent in a smart way. If you live by price, you will die by price. Start developing your brand today and start enjoying the benefits of becoming the brand name dealership in your market.

 

Tom Letizia is the president of Letizia Mass Media, a full-service advertising agency specializing in automotive. He can be reached at 702-777-2121 or email tletizia@dealermark.com.

 

 

 

 

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