The importance of car dealership branding continues to grow with digital marketing and technology-driven audiences
Imagine a new customer walks through your dealership’s doors (hooray!) and over the course of casual conversation, you ask them, “What made you decide to come into our dealership today?” How would you prefer that they respond?
A) “I was driving by and saw you had the new Jeep model I’d been looking for. I figured I’d stop in and see how much you’re charging.”
B) “Your dealership has such a good local reputation, and your car dealership branding is very approachable and warm. I could just tell you were going to take good care of me. That is your jingle after all, right? ‘We’ll take good care of you!’”
It’s just a guess, but your answer would likely be the second option. Who doesn’t want to stand out in a sea of non-descript car dealerships?
The most effective way to get your dealership’s name on the tip of everyone’s tongues is through strong car dealership branding. Your potential customers need to know what you stand for, what you can offer them, and how you do business without ever having to directly ask you any questions. Your cohesive branding strategy should speak for you.
Car dealership branding ideas to beef up your sales and marketing efforts
1. Create a brand style guide
Building a powerful brand is far more than a couple of managers sitting around a conference room table choosing a few adjectives that describe what they want to be known for. Creating, managing and enforcing a brand requires a style guide that every employee in your dealership should have access to.
Style guides vary, but usually, they will contain visual and content guidelines. For example, tone of voice, word usage, and brand story, along with visual elements like appropriate fonts, logo use, and imagery choices. A brand style guide gets your brand down in writing and tells everyone exactly how to convey that image.
2. Put real thought into color
What colors do you use to represent your brand? Do you have distinct colors that you always use, or do you just choose what looks good in that moment? Instead of latching onto red and gold because they’re the founder’s favorite colors, take the time to consider what your colors should be. There’s a substantial deal of psychology behind the use of color in car dealership branding and whatever you choose could have a direct impact on your sales and how your dealership is perceived.
3. Extend branding into social media accounts
First and foremost, every social media account your dealership has should be designed with cover images and profile images that directly match the colors and styles noted in your brand style guide. Social media, however, is a perfect medium for showing off your brand’s personality. Is part of your brand being a team of experts? Create branded YouTube videos in which you interview your expert employees or have them talk about (and demonstrate) new car features that they’re excited about. That way you aren’t just saying you’re experts—you’re showing.
4. Display a code of ethics in your dealership
Being viewed as trustworthy can be challenging for any business, but it’s especially difficult in the auto industry. If being honest and trustworthy is part of your core car dealership branding efforts, this has to be an effort that goes beyond saying “you can trust us!” Create a code of ethics and prominently display it in your dealership; you’ll reinforce your brand’s commitment to quality service and high ethical standards. You can also repurpose the code of ethics and post it on your social media accounts.
5. Give your showroom a facelift
As you put effort into so many different areas of your branding, don’t let your showroom design fall by the wayside. For example, what if part of your brand was being high tech and modern—and then your showroom looked like it was straight out of 1987? If you talk the talk, you must walk the walk in every way. You may find that your showroom needs a total overhaul, or just that adding a few iPad terminals and professional lighting makes everything look a whole lot better.
Everyone benefits when your car dealership branding is on point. When your employees are outside of the dealership and tell people where they work, there’s a good chance those people will know your dealership instead of saying “Which dealership is that? There are so many on Route 66 that I can’t really tell them apart.” Your team will have a sense of ownership and a greater sense of belonging when everyone knows what the dealership brand stands for and how they can contribute to it in a positive way.