How Important Will Your Brand Be in 10 Years?

Jordan Walters
I've gone back and forth with some industry friends about the importance of branding your dealership and customizing the buying experience. I have Several questions for anyone willing to throw their hand up: 1) With the current climate of price compression, what do you feel are the three most important pieces of your business to focus on?(Digital presence, equity mining, service mining, ability to sell parts online, etc...) 2) Do you feel like personalized(Dealership) branding will play a bigger role moving forward? 3) Do you need to embrace the current climate and accept that a new breed of customer only focuses on price? Just curious, as most of my friends in the industry say branding and experience can help against the squeeze. Not necessarily a heavy spend on software providers, but a deeper focus on their dealership's brand. Thank you everyone.
Jason Stum
Hey Jordan. according to the DrivingSales Consumer Experience Study, 99% of the respondents said when they began their purchase journey they expected it to be a hassle. A staggering number to be sure, With that in mind, branding your dealership and what makes you stand out from the crowd is of the utmost importance in 2015 and beyond. It's not about screaming price, price, price - it's about being able to show your prospective guests that you offer an experience that's free of stress and anxiety and dare I say it....enjoyable! Of course that's a lot easier to say than to actually implement. But it can be done! I'd disagree with #3 though. Customers don't only focus on price. It's been shown over and over again that customers are will pay more for a better shopping experience.
Zach Janes
Well said Jason. Standing out from the crowd with a very specific branding message should definitely be #1 on a dealership's list of marketing priorities. I think having a competitive price is important but being the lowest price isn't the be all end all for attracting customers and closing a deal. Feeling comfortable with and trusting the dealership and sales staff goes a long way in my book. To backup Jason about #3, I'd gladly pay a SLIGHTLY higher price for a vehicle to have a great stress-free experience.
Jordan Walters
So what branding has an impact? I see a ton of websites, as do you, what do you feel resonates? Is it history of a dealership, or the management team. One of my customers took the initiative to show the GM of each store on the website which I thought was cool. What other pieces contribute to the brand? Is it community involvement? Is it a customizable customer experience? Thank you for the replies.
Clint Jones
First off, My Brand is going to be extremely important in the next 10 years. I would say that over 50% of my efforts are concentrated within that specific thing in mind...while of course making some money along the way. 3 most important things are brand building, equity mining, and constant website development. I do believe that there is a segment of the market that does primarily care about cost. This is a segment of the market that I will NEVER embrace. I will "service" this market segment, but I will not "embrace" them. This is a very dangerous and high risk segment of the market when it comes to building my Brand. These are the customers that get 2 "As-Is" disclosures, get talked to by myself or my partner, and get reminded that it is their right to have the vehicle inspected by an independent 3rd party. This is my take on Branding. Branding is not a "message" that you tell or post on your website. Branding is a way of doing business. Jason touched on this a few posts above. Branding is about SHOWING not telling. Telling is advertising. Telling is promotion. Telling is hype. Branding is about SHOWING. Branding will spread by word of mouth.
Jordan Walters
Awesome Clint, great post.

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