10 Bright Ideas for Brand BuildingJul 30, 2019
Make no mistake about it: a recognizable and loved brand is one of the most valuable assets a company owns. According to a 2018 survey, 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products or services from brands they are familiar with.
And with recent stats showing 85% businesses in the USA being classified as small businesses, we know competing in the marketplace can be tough! In our current culture, you aren’t just competing with other auto shops, you’re competing with the business of working parents, and the social media apps calling out to us making it harder and harder to grab the attention of your potential and current customers.
So, you ask, how do I go about building my brand?
First, let me say, Branding is much more than a trendy logo, a discount coupon in the monthly grocery store circular or fun FB posts.
You need to do more.
Let me give you a simple definition before we drill down into the details of building your brand.
BRANDING . . . What exactly is branding?
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product or service from other businesses. It’s your customer’s overall perception of your business.
Your successful brand needs be consistent in communication and experience, through many ways you can promote your business:
Branding includes your environment, building, signage, print and online advertising, all of the ways you answer phones calls, and handle customer service. It’s your entire “packaging” of identifying your auto shop that hopefully sets you apart from your competition and other businesses in every way possible!
One of the keys to strong branding is knowing it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to create your brand and honestly the work never stops. You get a firm direction of where your headed and you building, build and build.
One of the challenges I’ve had to overcome with branding is not developing the different brands I’ve created for my own companies, BUT STICKING WITH THE PLAN. We all get busy serving our clients and it’s easy to let your branding move to the back burner, try not to let this happen. There were also times, as a marketing person, I wondered if we needed to change something visuals or move into a different direction. Most of the time this happened because I was getting a bit bored with our current advertising or visuals.
Our boredom with our brand many times means we’re headed in the right direction, because we are being consistent! This is EXACTLY what our clients and potential customers want to see… our consistency! Building a brand is a process. And your ongoing efforts will result in establishing long-term relationships with your customers and bring about great success for you and your team.
People ask me a lot, what exactly do you mean by brand building?
For listening today, a great way to define brand building is we want to generate awareness about your auto shop, using marketing strategies with the goal of creating a unique and lasting image within your city.
Even though all of us have many people, businesses with tons of advertising thrown at us, our current technology has made it easier than ever to build your brand! This can be done effectively through various digital marketing activities:
- Email Marketing
- A great looking website
- SEO & Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Word of mouth and online reviews
- Direct Mail
- Or Paid Advertising
Together, these medias are fundamental to gaining brand awareness and growth.
Are you wondering where to start? Ladies and gentlemen start your engines and fuel up!
Let’s dive into the 10 Bright Ideas for Brand Building, and soon I know you’ll be lapping your competition!
1. Determine your brand’s target audience.
As you get ready to press the pedal into marketing, you first need to determine “who is your target audience,” or avatar.
I recently created a marketing direct mail campaign for one of our clients…. They came with the avatar named HOLLY. This allowed everyone on the Transf. marketing team to head in the perfect direction for our client! They knew who they wanted to reach, and WE provided the HOW TO REACH them, or how to reach the HOLLYs in their area.
When brand building, keep in mind exactly who you are trying to reach. You’ll create your vision and mission messages to meet their exact needs.
The key is to get specific. Figure out detailed behaviors and lifestyles of your consumers.
- One of the most important things I’ve done with my own businesses is to set aside time with my key team leaders to discuss the direction of my business.
- This was done during the week, and at times, we’d take team leaders and their families away for a weekend. We would brainstorm and work for a few hours, while spouses and kids went sightseeing or shopping and we’d hammer out our vision and mission for a few hours. Then our families would enjoy some fun activities the next day.
- It was great to get their input and their buy-in as they now had ownership over where we were headed.
We’d solidify a picture of the customers we wanted to reach, and then learn how to create a brand identity that those customers could understand and relate to.
Brand creation relies on truly understanding the buyer persona. Here are a few of the things to document when describing your ideal customer:
- Biggest needs
- How to build trust and earn their loyalty
I believe you should get as detailed as asking, what are our customers:
- What Motivates them
- Hassles in life
You may come to realize that the competitive advantage when branding your business is to narrow your audience focus. This can help ensure that your brand message comes across crystal clear to your potential customers.
Identifying the target audience for your auto shop is an exercise that will affect and benefit all areas of your brand building process. You want the right person noticing all that you say and do, your community involvement, clicking on your ads, reading your reviews, taking action from your direct mail, and wanting to remain on your email list.
As a result, determining the ideal audience for your auto repair services will support your overall branding strategy. It’s definitely an important first step!
2. Establish a brand vision and mission statements.
Before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts, you need to know why your business exists, how you determine success and the steps you’ll take to get there.
When people ask you what you do, answer them with your brand vision statement and communicate your passion for assisting them.
When branding your business, start small and remember to focus on that targeted avatar FIRST and don’t depart from that goal!
3. Research brands and strategies of other auto repair shops. In the world of advertising we always said, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ORIGINAL IDEA. Even though this isn’t totally true, but YOU CAN get inspired from the success of others . . . and you should!
The goal is to differentiate yourself from your local competition. Convincing your customer, that you’re professional, and that you care about the need of them and their family, and your community!
One of the clients we work with at Transformers is in Colorado. Located in are in a fairly large city and people in their area are concerned about keeping their mountainous area beautiful and doing what they can to support a healthy environment. It’s very important to their customers that we print EVERYTHING on recycled paper and not use any plastics in their direct mail… gift cards. This client KNOWS their customers and their customers LOVE them for their auto repairs service and also not polluting their great city!
As you begin to create or obtain get a branding REFRESH, you’ll research your main competitors, study how well they have gone about building a brand name and maybe be a secret shopper to learn from their successes and your negative experiences when checking them out.
When checking out your competition here are some great questions to ask:
- Does your competitor have consistent messaging and visuals throughout all promotional mediums?
- What is the quality of the competitor’s auto service?
- Can you review their customer reviews and social media mentions?
- How does your competitor market their business?
When creating your brand name and to be truly effective, the name needs to be easy for consumers to recognize and remember. I have current clients that got SO CLEVER with the auto shop name, some customers don’t even know what they do! Be creative but stick to your vision so others don’t have to wonder what your business is all about.
4. Outline the key qualities, services and benefits of what your potential customers are looking for.
Starting a brand that is memorable means you dig deep to figure out what you offer, and no one else is offering in the special way of what is happening or will happen at your shop!
Focus on the qualities and benefits that make your auto shop unique.
Assuming you know exactly who your target audience is, give them a reason to choose your brand over another, planning what is the outcome you want your customers to experience.
5. Create a logo and tagline.
When you think about how to build a brand, visuals probably come to mind first. This step may be the one where you need help with execution. When developing a logo design, remember, you get what you pay for. I see and work with many clients that regret having a college-age cousin design their logo. Be willing to spend time and money on your logo design. I strongly suggest hire an experienced graphic designer that is not simply trying to build up their portfolio but has a true marketing-minded designer to create your print and online marketing.
Once final artwork is created, your logo and tagline should appear on everything relating to your shop. It’s your foundation, your DNA, your identity, and the visual representing you!
A strong brand style guide will include the following things:
- Make sure your logo is readable at any size it’s reproduced
- Stick with your corporate colors once they are established
6. Build your elevator pitch.
When building a brand, tell customers exactly who you are in a simple, brief 1-2 sentence statement. Many times, this can be you vision statement!
- Use a positive tone of voice when describing your brand letting them know who you are, what you offer, and NOT what you do!
- and how your uniquely serve your customers
- Your goal is to use your language to strike an emotional chord.
I always tell my clients: give your businesses voice as if you were running into me on a busy day at Walmart, so make it simple and clear.
7. Let your brand personality shine.
Customers aren’t looking for another cookie-cutter auto repair shop that offers what everyone else does.
Constantly have you AND YOUR TEAM review your vision statement and remain consistent!
When you can, share stories of your customers and how you assisted them.
How you have gotten to know their families, where they work and their kids sporting events? Your auto shop’s personality can shine daily in front of others.
8. Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business.
Remember, the brand building process never stops.
Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear.
Anything–from business cards to advertisements, to name badges, comfortable lobby or sitting areas, including your logo and corporate colors everywhere.
Let me interject an important suggestion here: Hire a good, professional photographer! This makes a huge difference into who you are as an auto shop. When showing photos of your shop here’s what I suggest:
Also show people in your photos, they give a warm human touch to all you do.
Show faces and expressions that lead your potential customers to say: Wow, these folks really know what they are doing. They look professional and friendly!
Your website is an incredibly important tool for marketing your brand. When you design your website: incorporate your voice, vision, and personality into each portion. Many of my clients will post funny cat photos or their favorite apple pie recipe. Sure, these can be fun and interesting, but get great photos of your team and promote who you are and why your clients LOVE YOU! Let people get to know your shop through your website and social media!
And don’t forget about video! YouTube, Facebook Video and Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are all platforms that need to have content executed with your unique brand voice and personality.
9. Stay true to your brand building.
What is brand building worth, if it is not consistent? Don’t constantly change your branding. The inconsistency will confuse your customers and make long-term brand building more difficult.
Unless you decide to change your brand into something that is more effective based on measured consumer response, consistency is key. I know I said it before, but I can’t emphasize it enough!
I suggest to all of our Transformers clients to create a document of all your branding guidelines and distribute internally for reference.
Okay, you stayed with me through the first nine, so congrats . . . let’s complete our list with number ten of our bright ideas!
10. Be your brand’s biggest supporter and promoter!
Once you build a brand for your auto shop, you (and your team member) are the best advocates to market your brand.
No one knows your brand better than you and your key leaders to spread the word.
It’s easy to give your loyal customers a voice to promote your brand as well! Encourage them and reward them to post reviews, and for bringing your referrals.
Brand building can be one of the most significant things you can do for your new or existing shop.
A solid brand building process can transform your business from a small player into a strong, successful competitor.
You’ll discover that your customers will develop a deeper level of trust for your brand and be more likely to visit you on a regular basis as your build your brand and then back it up with your outstanding customer service and quality work!
Lastly, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes about building brands:
Former Nike Executive Scott Bedbury simply states: 'A brand is a story always being told'.
Thanks for hanging out with me today. I hope these 10 ideas take you from the starting gates and into the winners’ circle soon. So, Go build your brand, and tell your story.