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The Master Branding Strategy Part I: PURPOSE

Because your branding strategy is so important to the overall perception and success of your dealership, we’re devoting the next seven posts in this series to help get you on track with a MASTER BRANDING STRATEGY!

Do you know how your potential customers see you? For example, are you the risk-taking, innovative dealership? The reliable, loyal, consistent dealership? The dealership known to give the best deals around? Are you known for high-quality or high cost? Give some thought to these questions, keeping in mind that in part, your dealership brand should be a reflection of your target audience and where your purpose lies. It is important to determine the answers to these questions because this is where the heart of branding really begins.

Strong branding for any organization seeks to inspire a target audience, rather than simply to convince a prospective buyer to commit to you. Entrepreneur Magazine defines a brand as “The practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” However, not all brands are created equally. Automotive manufacturing companies have long since grasped the concept of selling an idea, lifestyle, or inspiration to their ideal customers. This has resulted in some serious brand loyalty for many automobile consumers (in fact, you probably hold some of your own car brand loyalty). But how do you, as an auto dealership, develop a cohesive, inspiring brand that increases both your status in the community and your sales?

Realistically, in order to inspire, your brand’s purpose has to extend beyond the purpose of "my business is to make money”. Ultimately, what you claim in your brand message (i.e. your purpose) must match how the actually operates every day! This is how brand loyalty is developed, and it happens through a well-developed “why”. If your purpose is what differentiates your dealership from your competitors, it is rooted in how you are perceived in your community through your online presence and your engagement of every potential customer that enters your doors. A great first step: develop a vision or mission statement, as you consider the purpose of your dealership brand. Then communicate that mission statement to everyone who represents your brand. Take an honest look at whether or not your current branding reflects the purpose that drives what you do, considering your online presence as well. Undoubtedly, you have given thought to the first impressions when customers walk through your doors. But have you given the same thought to your online presence -- website, social media presence, videos, photos, etc? Have you provided elements that allow your audience to associate specific, intended qualities to your business and brand? If not, there is no better time then NOW!

Stay tuned, because next week we’ll continue the conversation by considering the importance of consistency in sharing your intended purpose for your brand.

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