Be Unique – Or Don’t Waste Your Ad Dollars

When it comes to crafting automotive ads that will get attention and drive traffic, you must do things a little differently than the other guy.

Creating an identity that is both positive and unique is hands-on, active work.  Just by virtue of being in business, you’ll have an identity whether you want it or not. By choosing to participate and actively building your identity, you have the opportunity to guide your customers and help them think of you the way you would prefer.

When you work to establish a position in the mind of consumers, the result you want is to have them think of that one thing that you want them to.  You have the power to influence your customer’s perception of your business, product or service.

In his book “Selling the Invisible”; Bill Bernbach spoke on the importance of creating an identity that is unique and positive.  He told the story of a start-up company that was sold and netted the founders hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The sale took place less than ten years into this firms’ existence.  This company had no real estate, no tangible assets, no inventory and no repeat customers.

What this remodeling/construction company did have was a strong, positive and unique identity that consistently delivered on its promise to customers.  That single element proved extremely profitable to the founders.

Whether you sell to consumers, contractors or big corporations, your customers are hit with messages every day. In this environment, you cannot assume that prospects, or even long-time customers, know all about you.  You must find a message that is different from everyone else, while strongly communicating your value proposition.  In a world and competitive environment of “look-a-likes”, you also must be able to add value to what you are offering.

Morris Hite (one of the greatest ad men) puts it this way: “There’s no secret formula for advertising success, other than to learn everything you can about the product. Most products and services 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.”

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

Following the herd is a common characteristic for businesses.  Since everyone else is doing it, it must be working…right?  Consider you attend an event and everyone is wearing black.  Who do you notice?  Now think of that same event and one person is wearing bright orange.  Hard to miss, aren’t they?

With the case made to be unique and different, it’s time for the million dollar question:  “How does one accomplish this?”

● First:  do some research and find out what it is your customers need or want.  You must fill a need or you’ll waste your time and money.  Once you determine what it is they want, build your identity and position around that need.  This activity will build the foundation for your success.  As you work to develop your position, identity and marketing messages, continually ask yourself “will this help differentiate me from my competitors?”

● Constantly research your competitors to find out how they are telling their story.  Make sure your story is different.

● Do your competitors use TV to communicate their message?  Consider using another medium all together.

● Do you your competitors use professional actors or a spokesperson?  Consider using actual staff or even yourself.

● Do your competitors use a hard-sell approach in their ads?  Consider having a conversation with consumers.

● And finally, always remember this:  Just saying it doesn’t guarantee customers.  You must deliver on the promise you make or you’ll witness the migration of your customers to your competitors.

Easy to say?  Definitely.  Hard to accomplish?  Without question.