A Unique Brand Identity – Essential to Advertisers

If you’re not building a unique brand identity for your dealership … your business could fail.

Bold words, but hear me out.  Each day, consumers are bombarded with countless marketing messages. Having a brand and message that is unique will help break through the clutter.  A unique brand identity is essential to getting and keeping your customer’s attention and loyalty. A powerful brand helps pave the way to a successful and profitable business.

Make the decision to actively build your brand.  By virtue of just being in business, you end up with a brand identity whether you build it or not. The difference is that when you work on building your brand, you have the opportunity to guide your customers in developing an identity that you would have preferred to have.

Brand building and positioning is not something that you do to your business, product or service — it’s what happens in your customer’s mind.  You have the power to influence your customer’s perception of your business, product or service. With effective brand marketing, you can position yourself ahead of your competitors.

A Few Brand Building Quotes and Tips from the Godfathers of Branding:

• “Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol — the brand image. You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities and they can make or break them in the market place.” — David Ogilvy

• “In advertising… not to be different is virtually suicidal.” — William Bernbach

• “General advertising is Cyrano. He comes under your window and sings; people get used to it and ignore it. But if Roxanne responds, there’s a relationship. We move the brand relationship up a notch. Advertising becomes a dialogue that becomes an invitation to a relationship.” — Lester Wunderman

• “To establish a favorable and well-defined brand personality with the consumer, the advertiser must be consistent. You can’t use a comic approach today and a scientist in a white jacket tomorrow without damaging your brand personality.” — Morris Hite

• “If you ever have the good fortune to create a great advertising campaign, you will soon see a competitor steal it. This is irritating, but don’t let it worry you; nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else.” — David Ogilvy

• “There’s no secret formula for advertising success, other than to learn everything you can about the product. Most products have some unique characteristic… and the really great advertising comes right out of the product and says something about the product that no one else can say. Or at least no one else is saying.” — Morris Hite

Branding is serious business.  Your brand simply cannot support itself on attractive logo images and font usage alone. The biggest mistake businesses make is focusing on the visual aspect of brand identity without first establishing the brand framework, which contains: the company’s position, unique selling proposition (USP) and marketing message.

Brand is defined as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers”. While the brand image must be both powerful and visually distinctive within the mind of the consumer, businesses must first determine the most important component of the brand definition: how to “differentiate from those of other sellers”.

Your dealership’s position and USP are the frameworks that must be defined first. Once you have established your position, move onto developing your tag line (if applicable) and key marketing messages. Both your tag line and marketing messages are extensions of your position and USP content. The marketing message must articulate the value your company will provide to the customer. Your marketing message must confirm your credibility, connect to your target market, motivate the buyer and set the stage for brand loyalty and evangelism. Once you have completed your content foundation, you are then able to develop the aesthetics of your brand.

Brand identity allows you to create a visual picture of your company within the customer’s mind. Be sure to strategically think through the visuals and marketing content. Similar to the ongoing strategy associated with positioning, your brand images and content must be clearly defined throughout all corporate communication.

A successful brand position must satisfy three conditions: it must be unique, compelling and credible. Linking your brand with a compelling customer need in a unique way is a good start. However, many companies falter in the implementation phase when credibility is proven or refuted.  Just saying it doesn’t guarantee customers.  You must deliver on the promise your brand makes or you’ll witness the migration of your customers to your competitors.