As a dealer of an automotive franchise, you agreed to all the compliance documents and brand-specified marketing rules in order to claim your status as an authorized dealer. But this is YOUR business and you want to reflect your branding in advertisements as well. How can you manage to do both?
1. Rediscovering Brand Values
Your dealership was selective about the automotive brands you wanted to carry. What image did they project that made you buy into their values?
For example, the name Acura comes from the word “accurate” and even their logo design is meant to resemble a compass. As the luxury division of Honda, their mission statement is about advancing in all areas, plus Acura is the official vehicle of Marvel’s fictional agency S.H.I.EL.D. (from the Avengers franchise). These elements project the values of luxury and forward thinking.
Meanwhile, GM’s brand Chevrolet conveys images of affordability, power, and everyday usage. In 1919, GM CEO Alfred Sloan wanted “a car for every purse and purpose.” He picked the Chevrolet brand to become the volume leader in the General Motors family, overtaking the Model T as the best-selling car in the U.S. by 1929. They thrive on their history and appearing “All-American”. This is reflected in current branding, as worldwide we commonly refer to the brand by the nickname Chevy.
What does your automotive manufacturer’s branding reflect? What drew you to sell that brand?
As a luxury car dealership, you may want to explore the idea of opulence already established in your brands. What can you say to make sure that your prospective customers feel like they deserve to be pampered or that they can expect top quality from you? For other household name brands, what pain points do your customers have that your dealership brand could suggest solutions for in your ad copy? Rediscover your love for those brand values and it could inspire your own marketing ideas.
2. Double-check Compliance
Make your wildest marketing ideas come to life, but be sure that your innovation doesn’t break the rules!
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but to ensure that your dealer marketing efforts are staying within legal and established guidelines for your automotive brand, it never hurts to reference your brand’s most current compliance handbook. It ensures that your innovations stay within what’s permitted, so you can start thinking out of the box!
3. Find Support in a Common Goal
Ultimately, both your goal and the brand’s goal align; you want to sell motor vehicles and meet the needs of your customers.
Your brand often has marketing materials to share with you as an authorized dealer, but it’s up to you to make sure that all advertisements that you put out reflect YOUR voice. Are you THE dealer in your community? Do you provide the best customer service or pricing? Do you reflect the needs of your region? Do you have a number of convenient locations? Do you rely on repeat customers or focus on tackling newer markets? Whatever your Unique Selling Point (USP) is, show it off and use it to your advantage to meet your ultimate goal.
4. Make Yourself Heard
Yes, you want your dealership’s brand voice to be heard, and here’s just one last little tip! The loudest voice makes more noise, but that doesn’t mean anyone is listening. A clean-cut message will always be the most visible and most acknowledged, so think about the briefest way to get the point across. Be directive about what you offer and your message will ring out loud and clear!