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Whether your dealership has, or is considering a loyalty program, it’s important to make sure your marketing messages align with the overall brand or image of your store. What is your dealership known for? Aggressive, “best” pricing? Friendly, no-pressure salespeople? A multi-generation, family owned pillar of the community?
A brand is your identity’s business, and conjures up powerful images for customers, both consciously and subconsciously. Whether you realize it or not, your brand creates a visual, emotional and cultural connection between you and your customers. Think about brands you know: Disney has a strong brand as the family entertainment leader. Apple commands higher prices than its competition because it has a loyal following that appreciates its innovative, counter-culture image. The Volvo brand is identified with vehicle safety. When a customer walks into your store, what kind of experience do they expect? Do they get that experience every time? Is that experience remembered when they receive their next communications?
All great brands share one thing in common: all of their marketing communications reflects their brand. This includes loyalty marketing. If your dealership is known for aggressive pricing and blow-out sales, and your latest loyalty program e-mail fails to mention pricing anywhere, or instead displays a cozy image of a family around the dinner table, that message will not resonate with your customers. They may not understand why, but it simply won’t ring true. Or, if your dealership is known for its no-pressure sales process but you are sending out e-mails with aggressive sales messages, chances are you are eroding your customers’ trust.
When customers buy a brand, they buy its values and promises, and feel that their expectations are aligned with the company. The goals of your marketing messages are to meet those expectations and continue to reinforce that alignment with your brand. Loyalty communications provides an opportunity to connect with your customers on a regular basis. Like customer loyalty, building brand awareness is an ongoing process—but an important one to ensure long-term success.
Do your marketing messages reflect your brand? In what way? What are your customers’ expectations when they visit your dealership? Does your marketing attempt to meet those expectations? Has one of your favorite “brands” ever disappointed you and if so, did they ever win your business back?