Episode THIRTEEN: What's Your Brand?

 

Dealership brands often feel that they are attributed with their manufacturer brand. In a world of digital relations, your personality feeds more into your brand than you think.

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Welcome to lucky episode 13 of the Dealers Compressed podcast. My name is Paul J Daly and we're gonna kick off lucky episode 13 a little differently this time. We're gonna hear from some other people, so here we go!

Dale Pollak: I mean here we are a good 20 years into the internet phase and I’m still taken back by the percentage of marketing budgets that dealers continue to spend in conventional media so some of these are newer opportunities some of these are older opportunities, but the point is making money today is a game of inches.

Sean V Bradley: Finding there's a lot of dealerships, whether its your dealership's digital marketing that you're uploading the stuff to Youtube or uploading this to social media, you're uploading the content whether you're the dealership or you’re an individual sales person, the internet director or the digital marketing manager, you are not optimizing the content. You need to do something. The option of just leaving it there doesn't make sense to me. You can't sell something to nobody, you need an audience.

GaryVee: If you start making content and showing your expertise and passion, and kindness, and quirkiness and other passions, you will become unstoppable. If you do not put in that work, you will lose. so how's that for a fire hose.

We had, um, if you didn't recognize the voices, the first clip was from an in person meet-­up I had with Gary Vaynerchuck, found and CEO of Vayner Media. The second clip was from CBT new interview of Jim Fitzpatrick, interviewing Dale Pollak. That's Dale talking about marketing spends which you do 't hear him talk a lot about actually, so I was pretty interested when I found that. The third clip was from Sean V. Bradly, founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy, talking about content and where it goes and what you do with it. And finally, we close it up with a little bookend of Gary Vaynerchuck on the backend, talking about content creation in general, and if you're not doing good content creation you can be passionate about, and doing it well, then you will lose.

Little different flavor today on lucky episode 13. And the point that I wanna talk about today is this modern, digital communications environment, this ocean of content dealers are forced to swim in. We have customers that are obsessed with content, whether that is to buy something, or to keep with their friends and family, or to potentially create and produce themselves to share with friends and family. Content, self­ expression, customer experience, all of these things are so closely tied together, that dealers have no choice but to learn and adapt if they want to win. However, as we know Dale talks about in the book "Like I See It" that we did a whole content series about, he says 70% of dealers are resistant to change.

Well, if that's the case, that means that at least 70% of dealers are already behind the 8 ball on this. He said that the top 10% of dealers are the front runners, and you know, they're plowing in and they're starting to create change in executing and doing well. The next 20% are watching what the first 10% are doing. They know something needs to change but they're sure what to do about it yet. And then we have the 70% of dealers who say "Things are going well for me, I don't need to change." They, it hasn't hit their market or the necessity to change, it hasn't become so unavoidable that they are willing to do it. So today we're gonna talk a little bit about content and branding. Frankly, a brand that is so much greater than, I'm not talking about I'm a Ford dealer, I'm a VW dealer, or I'm a Porsche dealer. I'm not talking about your manufacturer brand, I'm talking about your dealership brand. Your group brand. And a lot of times in social media, and in modern day advertising and influencing, we hear that term personal brand, right? We also hear the term social media influencer. So those two things are tied together more closely than you think.

So let's start with personal brand, not your manufacturer. The way I see it, is that your dealership, whether it's your dealer or dealer group, that is your personal brand. I want you to accept it as your personal brand. I think dealers need to really embrace this fact that their organization is seen and treated like a person, when it comes to the sales process, when it comes to relationships. A brand is not your values, your brand is not your mission and vision statement that everybody works so hard on, and nobody knows, right? There's a lot of work to do those simpler so that everyone on your sales floor, every customer service, every person in the BDC, everybody understands what your brand is, everyone understands what your mission and vision is, quickly, easily, simply. But, I'll say it simply this way, well start the conversation and say, your brand is what people feel, right? We're not talking about metrics, we're not talking about analytics, we're not talking about numbers or manufacturers, we're talking about feelings.

Your brand is what people feel when they hear your name. So what they feel when they see an advertisement, when they think about your store, when they take a step into your store, it is the feeling. Everyone always sees low hanging fruit, how do you feel when I say the word apple. How do you feel when I say the word Amazon? See, automatically, it conjures up these initial thoughts. So what's the first thing that comes to mind when I say Apple? You're thinking sleek, you're thinking their retail stores in the mall, and how tight everything looks. You're thinking about the way they sell, or honestly, the way they don't sell. The way they present. You're thinking about the advertisements for iTunes, when you have the pop culture, the bright colors in the back with the white silhouette, of the people dancing. You think of all these things immediately. You think of a relatable brand. And what I'm saying is every brand that you like, that you enjoy, and you connect with. There is an associated feeling with that brand.

And when we talk about personal brand, it is the same thing. If there is someone you follow, whether it is Gary Vaynerchuck or Grant Cardone or someone who is an authority in an area that you enjoy or is an area of a personal interest, like fitness or health. All of these individuals that you follow have a personal brand. And that brand is what you think about or feel when you see that person, hear that person, know that they just released some new content, released a new book, they are a nice guy, they're a piece of crap. You know all these things can come in to. In high school everyone had a personal brand. If you think back to high school, everybody had a personal brand. You know before we called  it a personal brand, but never the less they had them. their was the jock, their was the pretty girl, their was the nerdy kid, right. And all these people, their was the nice guy, their was the bully. They all had a brand and when they were around you, you felt a certain way about them, about yourself, and you reacted accordingly to that, you felt better about yourself, or you felt worst about yourself.

I am telling you right now your dealership brand is the same exact thing and I hope that dealers start approaching it in the same exact way. And the tricky thing about branding in this dealership world is that their is a whole lot of legacy baggage that is coming along with us. Their justification is, it is an old industry. We have done things in a very very different way as dealers, as the automotive industry as a long time. I think it's one of the most best times ever because for the first time in history dealers control the information flow like never before. They control the PR like never before. You don't have to filter it through a major publication. You don't have to wait for someone to give a press release.  You get to define, produce and control the outflow of your brand every single day and it is not an easy thing. So if you're feeling like, "i don't know where to start." Good because it is not an easy thing. Crafting and controlling a brand is a lot of work. It's a ­lot of planning, it's the long game in a world where their is so much focus on attribution, and who is actually responsible for the sale  and where that customer comes from and how can we measure that and how can we tweak it, how can we make it a little better next month. Their is a ­lot of that instant sales business going on. Their are a­ lot of companies helping us do that and measure that.

I was just at NADA and it like, you know talk about overload. Everybody is doing that it felt like, i know that everybody isn't doing it, but a­ lot of people are doing it and there is a ­lot of focus on how healthy it is. And so what I'm saying today is that, the softer side and I know that like general managers, and owners. No one wants to talk about the softer side because you can't initially measure it. But I am telling you right now, like Gary said in the first clip we heard, if you are not executing in this environment than you are dead. And you might not be dead now and you might next year say, "Hey were not dead yet." But it's coming and the reason it's coming is because the dealers that pay attention to this are going to be the ones that connect with the customers, they are going to be the ones that are being seen favorably by customers, and that more and more is going to influence the sales decisions, influence the level of hassle the customer expects in buying the car. 

Right, we have talked about that stat that Dale quoted in the book that 99% of customers expect a hassle. I'm just gonna give you a hint, thats a really crappy brand across the board. If all of your customers expect a hassle when they come in your door. And let me give you another hint, the second they are given an option were they don't have to expect a hassle, guess which door they are walking through. The good news is if you pay attention to it, then it can be your door. The good news is you have control over this new thing, but you got to pay attention to it. 

So again going back a little bit, personal brand, your brand is what people feel when they hear your dealership name or see one of your people or see your uniform, its what they feel. So now we have to start talking about what are we communicating and how does that make the customer feel. So we have to deploy a lot of empathy and we have to understand who the customer is. And we all know that their is not one type of customer. Maybe you have a primary but look their is old folks, young folks, theres married, theres single. There is all types of reason people buy a car their is need buyers, their is want buyers, people that care most about the community and what the dealership does in the community, people that care most about price. So we have to speak to all of these people as one brand. So granted to go back to the apple example, apple is not the same thing to everyone. To some people it represents a cool factor, I just want to be associated with the brand because they're creative and I'm creative the end. For some people it's a performance issue, I want all my stuff to work together without thinking about it. For some people its, believe it or not a price issue. And I know apple gear tends to be more expensive out of the box but for instance an Apple laptop you buy is going to be good for far longer than you know a PC laptop that isn't scaled like the Apple one, it just works for a long period of time. If you value an apple laptop like you do a used car, it's like a Toyota Camry holds its value, a really nice Toyota Camry, but it's going to hold its value for a really long time, so actually your cost per year is lower.

So Apple in that case represents a good investment. So your brand is communicating, your brand has to communicate to a lot of people and one big group is the millennials. We talked a lot about that as well. We have this millennial buying demographic where the brand matters way more than it did Gen X, way more, and thats going to continue. Thats not going to go away, the people they feel connected with they are going to be the ones that do the best job branding. Again its the long game, your not gonna invest in your brand and then see a return the next month. You will see some return in the next month, but the impact in the force multiplier that it is on all of your sales efforts, on all of community service efforts. It's a force multiplier, its like putting a little exponent at the end of the number. So thats kind of the bit we are talking about today on brand, we talked about personal brand and what that means, we talked a little bit about finding your brand. Its a lot of work, its very hard to get there yourself. And our creative agency Congruent, we find it is the hardest thing to do is to create things for ourselves. To create our own website, to create video content for ourselves, to come up with a social media strategy for ourselves. For some reason it just hard to do it. And thats because you know yourself, you know in a different way than you know everybody else. So their are all these preconceived notions you have that you don't even realize that you know you have them and they are just built in and you think that is how everybody else sees it too, thats false. You're most likely being too delusional within your own walls.

So here we are in the middle of lucky episode 13 and I actually want to touch on what Dale Pollak said, so we are going back to the 2nd clip. "I mean here we are a good 20 years into the internet phase and I'm still taken back by the percentage of marketing budgets at dealers continue to spend in conventional media." He's just astounded at the split between what the dealers are spending on traditional media versus digital media or new media or whatever you want to call it and if you look at your budget and you look at the budget of those around you I think that you can at least observe the same thing that their is a disproportionate split in where we're spending the money. Versus where we know our customers are spending their time. And i think that that also is important to the branding conversation. You're advertising and marketing on traditional channels and for the $3,500 to $6,000 a billboard is gonna cost you, do you even really understand what that gets you in branding or social media execution. And I'm not talking about getting clicks to VDP, I'm talking about building your brand awareness, I'm talking about the customers you want to buy as its plugged into a long term strategy for building the brand. So when I think that when Dale is kind of surprised at the split between digital and tradition. yeah, a ­lot of that is just the way we have done it or we are seeing some results from it so we are going to keep doing it. And then in the typical fashion Dale is always talking about efficiency.

What result are you actually getting from that seven grand, do you even know what that would equate to running a savvy, you know social media campaign or an Instagram influencer campaign. Do you even understand what that dollar buys you else where, do you even understand what effective deploying of your brand does with that seven thousand. So I think that is another great take away that everyone can at ­least contemplate and that is really my hope for this episode is that, not that we give any answers but that we ask the right questions and get our minds thinking along the lines of those clips that we heard at the beginning of this episode and i'm gonna play them one more time as we close, so that you know that things are different, you need to behave differently, you are not immune and if we don't adapt and change we'll lose. So here are those clips again one more time parting comments, until next time, thanks for listening I'm Paul J Daly, this is the Dealer's Compressed Podcast.

Gary Vaynerchuk: "You are not educated in executing in the new digital world.You are basically irrelevant and guys like us are gonna be like, you're dead you're dead and then you can be like oh its 20­f***ing­18 I'm not dead yet, until you're dead in 2022 and that doesn't feel any better."

Dale Pollak: "I mean here we are a good 20 years into the internet phase and I'm still taken back by the percentage of marketing budgets at dealers continue to spend in conventional media. So some of these are newer opportunities some are old existing opportunities but the point is is that making money today is a game of inches."

Sean V Bradley: "Finding their is a lot of dealerships, whether it's your dealership's digital marketing that you are uploading to YouTube or uploading it to social media. You're uploading content, whether you are the dealership or you're an individual sales person or the internet director at a marketing manager, you are not optimizing the content, you need to do something. The option of just leaving it there doesn't make sense to me. You can't sell something to nobody, you need an audit."

Gary Vayernchuk: "If you start making content and showing your expertise and passion and kindness and corkiness and other passions you will become unstoppable. If you do not put in that work, you will lose."

So thanks again for listening to the Dealer's Compressed Podcast, if you like what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast, or leaves us a review let us know how we are doing. Also go to DealersCompressed.com where we have a ton of resources. We have actually created a entire video series around Dale Pollak's book, "Like I See It" and use it as a resource to train your team, to get up to speed on what's going on with millennial buyers and employee culture and manufacturing incentive programs and a whole list of other things. Pass it up to the owner of the group, if you're the owner of the group, pass it down to your management team so you can be aligned and on the same page. We have an email list, please subscribe to it on the website, we release fresh content every Tuesday and we will send it right to your inbox. Also my name is Paul J Daly, I would love it if you followed along with my journey, I do a ­lot in automotive and in the creative worlds. You can go to PaulJDaly.com, that's P A U L J D A L Y . C O M or you can follow along on Instagram or Linkedin or facebook or twitter and we can just walk the journey together.

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