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Bruce Springsteen once said, “Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” Although he was referring to his journey to fame, his thoughts are very applicable to maintaininga consistent brand. Establishing brand consistency within a dealership is about more than just creating rules and setting the standards. Keeping a consistent brand image means you must uniformly brand yourself to your potential customers andcurrent, loyal buyers. Brand consistency significantly impacts your brand recognition and leading to more sales. There are two ways dealerships can demonstrate brand consistency—cultivating a social culture and delivering customer experience.
To achieve consistency, successful brands are careful to deliver messages that build familiarity. Whether it’s social media or a print ad, a strong brand will have a consistent look, feel and tone. The modern automotive dealership must begin branding from the inside out. Focused efforts to cultivate a social culture and leverage the influence of employees begins with effectively communicating the core mission, vision and values of your brand. Engaged leaders and their employees have the power to create a credible and authentic marketing channel. A dealership culture of engaged employee advocates will reach a far broader audience than you could ever gain from paid advertising!
Think of the brands who have gained your loyalty. What kind of employees work for them? Are they passionate about the brand and do they share what’s great about the brand they represent? Brands like Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Zappos and more place the highest value on creating a social culture and the proof is in the bottom line.
Although dealerships may not work exactly like the brands mentioned above, they can still improve the way they present themselves to customers by investing in their employees, offering tools for engaging with consumers at the top of the sales funnel and empowering them with consistent communication so they feel connected to the mission of your brand and excited to share it! Dealerships who want to stay competitive in the digital age must invest in the people they’ve charged with carrying out their growth strategies and goals. It is no longer enough to buy a bigger ad or have cooler business cards. Branding begins inside the dealership and from there it is carried forward by the people behind it.
Creating a consistently excellent customer experience is essential to a dealership’s success. In the automotive industry, consumers can find the same cars anywhere they search, but customer experience is what sets dealerships apart. Consistency on the customer journey is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty. A customer journey spans all elements of a company and is most directly impacted by the level of employee engagement. To maintainconsistency, dealerships need tools and teams in place that allow them to quickly respond to customer needs and concerns. Proper training ensures employees know their role in the customer experience, and the right tools provide them with effective strategies for stepping in when needed. When you have done the work of cultivating a social culture, every employee will know how, and have the tools to deliver a consistently excellent customer experience because they understand the values and mission guiding them. Trust is gained or lost in every customer interaction, so empowering teams to meet customer needs is critical. When customers know what to expect, or better yet, know the people who work for a dealership, they will demonstrate loyalty.
Customer experience is driven by the combination of promises made and promises kept by a dealership. Brands must deliver on the promised values of their brand in addition to the deals and promotions they advertise. This will require a proactive strategy for sharing content that highlights the goals of the brand and the delivery of brand promises.
Since a customer journey often touches different parts of the organization, companies need to rewire themselves and re-engage from the top down. Everyone in your dealership must understand how they contribute, either positively or negatively, to the customer journey from beginning to end. Dealerships that miss the opportunity to invest in employees as step one on the customer journey department will undoubtedly expend unnecessary resources to improve the customer experience, without realizing the cost.
Creating brand-consistent customer experiences are critical to a dealership’s influence and bottom line success. Cultivating a social culture is the lynchpin for great customer service. When every lead is a referral, trust is easily established enabling your dealership to sustain continued growth.
Author is Kristin Huntley, Director of Content & Marketing for Motofuze powered by Fuzecast