While marketing may be one of the most important components of any dealership when it comes to sales, not every type of marketing applies to auto dealerships. Any student of Marketing 101 knows that with each market, there are different approaches to marketing that are particularly appropriate to that segment. For auto dealerships, the emergence of brand equity marketing in the late 1980s was the start of a beautiful friendship that continues today.
Today it remains one of the most important ways that any dealership can connect to its prospective market. So how does any dealership go about setting their own brand in place successfully? Here are a few tips from David Aaker, one of the originators of the idea of brand equity marketing in its early days.
Build Brand Loyalty
A keystone to the whole idea of brand equity marketing, brand loyalty is a big determinate for many car buyers. By identifying those past customers who identify as loyal fans of your brand you can lower your overall marketing costs by appealing to that loyalty. In addition, you can use this loyalty of others to attract new customers because of their awareness of the brand and the reassurance of its popularity. In addition, if you build a marketing campaign that centers on this perceived brand loyalty, you can use it to respond to market threats from competitors in the area.
Building Brand Awareness
While there are some who are already familiar with the sterling attributes of your particular brand, others are barely aware of it. You can build on this market by linking the market awareness of your brand as an anchor for building greater awareness to this new market segment. As familiarity grows for them, loyalty becomes more likely. At the least a certain familiarity will lead to an acceptance of the brand and perhaps a willingness to explore it when looking to buy. As you make your individual brand more familiar, the general market will see it and accept it as an authoritative brand. It will gain substance and create a commitment from loyal buyers.
Equity Brand Marketing Creates Perceived Quality
When the two steps named above, awareness and loyalty, are achieved in the marketplace, the next step is easy to achieve. The perception of quality is a follow-through from awareness and a sense of loyalty to the brand, even if that loyalty isn’t yet their loyalty. Positive feelings begin to be associated with the brand and information is accepted about the brand more readily. This all leads to the realization by the potential customer that they have been given several good reasons to purchase, not the least is that this brand loyalty is seen as being earned.
The Loyalty Factor
While not every product uses brand loyalty as a main thrust for marketing, in the automotive industry it has proven a key factor for creating repeat customers through the years. Brands can sometimes be perceived in the same way as a sports team, with fans that support the brand against all comers. When this emotional context is made part of any brand equity marketing campaign, the dealership is the winner along with the customers.