Dealers who stand apart from the competition know what they stand for - and they tell people about it.
That was the theme of the workshop 'Branding Your Dealership,' conducted at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention by Ron Wheeler of Wheeler Advertising Inc. of Arlington, Texas.
During the 90-minute session, Wheeler gave dealers tips on how to increase market share by building brand equity in their names.
Wheeler told attendees that since they are going to spend money on marketing anyway, every aspect of the dealership's business - from its advertising to its telephone 'on hold' message - should convey and reinforce the dealership's brand.
'You need a plan; then it takes discipline to make it happen,' he said.
To learn what your dealership stands for, Wheeler suggests asking employees and customers why they think people do business at the dealership and why they do not.
This information will help dealers craft a point of view that should be used in all marketing and advertising messages, he said.
He said one of his clients uses the point of view, 'We treat you like family'; another uses 'It's a matter of trust.'
Wheeler said those dealers convey and reinforce their point of view with advertising that includes customized jingles, animation and spokespersons.
For instance, the dealer who wants to reinforce the family message uses the theme song from the old 'My Three Sons' TV show and animated sneaker-clad feet that tap in time to the music in his TV spots. The dealership that wants to create a brand image of trust uses a grandfatherly man as its spokesman.
Wheeler cautioned that point of view is more than just a cute slogan; it is the dealership's brand identity.