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Are You Looking For Social ROI? It Starts With The Brand Of The Dealer Principal

The Dealer's Brand

You can have all the metrics down. You can know exactly what constitutes the bottom line but if social is just PART of what you do instead of BEING what you do, you are going have a hard time finding a positive ROI. Social is a lifestyle change for the dealership. It's about humanizing the way business is done.


I've said it before and I'll say it again, tradition media is all about the marketing of the business while social media, or new media, is all about the marketing of the people of the business. That's what makes all the difference. How are you marketing the people of your dealership?


Social starts at the top, since it's a lifestyle change it must and if your dealership hopes to harness the true power of social, that is word-of-mouth and customer loyalty, then the dealer principal must project an image of honesty, integrity and a willingness to be social. That doesn't mean the DP has to be out there shaking hands and kissing babies but they must be visible. I know there are dealerships were the DP isn't an active part of the day-to-day, in that case there must be somebody, the GM, who would take over the role of being the brand leader.


No, I'm not talking about your paid spokesperson but somebody with authority at the dealership. The head honcho, the boss, the leader, somebody who can lead the organization, socially, from the top. This can be accomplished through blogging, video creation, Facebooking, tweeting, and of course others. The whole idea is to make people feel that they know the DP, that feeling, of course, being positive.


The new dealership is defined by the collective strength of it's employees' personal brands. People don't want to connect with or be loyal to a brick and mortar business. They want to connect with other people, relationship must be present before loyalty kicks in. Of course, as is the theme of this post, the direction of these personal brands must come from the dealer principal.


Yes, the dealership is made up of individuals. Individuals with different thoughts and dreams, with different ambitions and personalities. Our personal brands are defined by our experiences and the perception people have of us. That's why it's important that a certain direction is given, that an overall vision for the dealership is spoken about and carried out. If the dealership is all about being green then the personal brand of it's employees must also reflect that. The dealership brand is a reflection of its parts. What do your dealerships' parts look like?


Again, this comes from the very top. That's why there must be a brand leader, the higher up the food chain the better. Take a look at Frank Myers Auto Maxx in Winston Salem North Carolina. The dealer principal, Tracy Myers, has a very strong personal brand. He is a best selling author, a loving husband and father, and a christian that isn't afraid to let others know that he is. He stands for high morals and uses social to get his brand in front of as many different people as possible, he understands transparency. He IS the brand leader and because of it his employees have direction and his dealership is one of the top independents in the country.


Check out his book, YOU Are The Brand, Stupid!: How To Get Noticed, Gain Instant Credibility, Make Millions And Dominate Your Competition By Building Your Celebrity Expert Status


I bring up Tracy because he's a shinning example of the point I'm trying to drive home, and that is, social success comes from the top. I hear it all the time, "David, I'm not seeing a return on social." Or, "David, I just don't get it." The reason? It's because you aren't doing what you are supposed to do to build a connection with people. Social is the conversation, it's all about the dialogue. If you want people to connect with you and tell others about you then there must be something substantial about you that makes people WANT to connect with you.


Are you listen dealer principals? Are you listening general managers? Stop using social as way to get your inventory seen, you have to go beyond engagement and create a brand that makes it easy for people to gravitate towards. It's time to get your thinking straight, it's time to get yourself seen.

Views: 440

Tags: Branding, David Johnson, Marketing, Social Media, Tracy Myers


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Comment by David Johnson on August 29, 2012 at 6:05pm

Thank you Christine, feel free to quote me! LOL

Comment by Christine Rochelle on August 29, 2012 at 12:23pm

"Traditional media is all about the marketing of the business while social media, or new media, is all about the marketing of the people of the business"


-Great quote! 

Comment by David Johnson on August 29, 2012 at 12:10pm

I bring up the DP or GM to be more of the internal brand leader. The one who says do as I do, not as I say. It's upper level management that will dictate how well social is integrated into the brand of the dealership.

Comment by David T. Gould on August 29, 2012 at 12:01pm

Bravo on the branding yourself part... Everyone should be promoting their business and personal brand. Not as supportive of the dealership (owner) suggestion to put an individual (employee) as it's social brand. Turn over in automotive is unforgiving... Have you considered how Bricks and Mortar can be a brand if handled properly? Geico insurance is an extreme example... Their association with their creative characters sets the standard in my mind. If the CEO turns over, it has no effect on me as the gekko keeps the brand rolling along. Just a thought. DTG

Comment by David Johnson on August 28, 2012 at 3:10pm

Well said. I like to teach dealerships that there are three connections they must achieve in their social communities, I call it the Gold Triangle of Community Engagement. They are:

Engagement Between

  • The community and the dealership employees
  • Dealership employees and dealership employees, and
  • The community and the community.

Of course the last being the most important because that's where word-of-mouth happens. The stuff you mention goes a long way to creating that word-of-mouth, thank you for sharing!

Comment by Ashley Poag on August 28, 2012 at 2:53pm

One way to humanize your dealership in social media is to show the everyday interactions between the dealership personnel and customers. When you go the extra mile for your customers and they are smiling and happy that’s a social moment that gives the dealership a more human quality. When you "Back To School" supply drive or any community supporting event. That's something to share on social media. It shows you apart of a community and you are not just present to push a product.

Comment by David Johnson on August 28, 2012 at 5:35am

Thank you David, and I agree. The culture is changing and it must continue to change if a dealerships wants to remain relevant.

Comment by David M. Bowers on August 28, 2012 at 5:13am

Great article! There is really a cultural change taking place.  Increasingly the trust will be of individuals and not businesses. Thank you!

Comment by David Johnson on August 27, 2012 at 8:26pm

Thank you Rick, I appreciate those kind words!

Comment by Rick Emmons on August 27, 2012 at 5:11pm

Totally right on! I enjoyed reading this blog!!

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