The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Who cries for struggling auto dealers and manufacturers? It’s important for many that they succeed, so I know there are deep pockets of sympathy. I wrote this back in the fall to try and help soften the barbed emotional barriers that surround the buying experience.
Today Brad and I are adding to the effort. I’m hoping my old boss and Guest BSI Author, Kevin Roberts will add his thoughts as Saatchi & Saatchi has been very successful in building the Toyota brand.
Ideally, a brand promises relevant differentiated benefits to its target audiences. Those benefits should be understandable, believable and compelling. Some brands have chosen such a compelling combination of unique benefits that they are perceived to be without peers. Those brands stand alone in their customers’ consideration sets.
Here are some things that can be done to reinforce brands at auto dealerships:
•Know what your brand stands for and what makes it different
•Identify "proof points" for and "reasons to believe" your brand’s promise
•Refine (and even script) your brand promise "talking points"
•Hold an employee contest to identify new ways to reinforce the brand’s promise
•At staff meetings, brainstorm additional ways to reinforce the brand’s promise
•Identify new ways to reinforce the brand promise with customers and potential customers at all stages of the purchase decision process, including immediately after the purchase and on an ongoing basis during usage
•Make and distribute copies of third party endorsements of your brand, especially if they extol your brand for delivering on its unique promise
•Publicly recognize employees who have done an exceptional job of reinforcing the brand’s promise
•Have each employee think about and explain how he or she will reinforce the brand promise in his or her interactions with customers and potential customers
•Post the brand’s promise in a place where customers will see it
•Post brand promise reinforcement tips of the week (for dealership employees)
•Assign a chief brand advocate who is responsible for developing a comprehensive brand advocacy plan at your dealership
As a specific example, for higher-end automotive brands, any or all of the following can be implemented to reinforce the brand’s promise:
•Provide customers and potential customers with information/articles/newsletters on the latest advances in automotive technological innovation so they can stay "in the know"
•Create owner-oriented "white papers" on specific technology topics
•Provide owners with talking points on leading-edge automotive technology
•Compile and keep handy a comprehensive list of brand "firsts" in the industry
•Make current owners aware of the latest available technology upgrades/enhancements
for their cars
•Help current owners anticipate "next generation" enhancements
•Provide "sneak previews" of upcoming technology enhancements
•If you provide customers with product incentives or upgrades, chose ones that use leading edge technology (such as GPS, iPod, Bluetooth, digital satellite, etc.)
The bottom line: your brand will be much more successful if everyone in your dealership(s) can enthusiastically articulate your brand’s unique promise. Even better: everyone in your dealership discovers and implements new ways to reinforce your brand’s promise at every point of customer contact.