By Sarah Prellwitz
If you manage multiple store locations for your dealership, you understand the importance of maintaining a consistent brand experience across all locations. After all, it doesn’t bode well for your brand’s reputation if customers have a vastly different experience when they visit another location.
The expectation for brand continuity extends to your online presence. Odds are, your digital dealership exists on multiple channels, from your website and online business listings to your social media profiles and mobile applications. As the internet expands to include more channels, many businesses make the error of trying to create a profile on any platform without considering how it fits into their overall brand strategy. As a result, their profiles are inconsistent and their online presence becomes disjointed. Even with compelling and creative marketing content, these profiles will struggle to pull in a loyal audience if they lack brand continuity.
Continuity means consistency plus improvement, and it’s an important aspect of maintaining an online presence that builds a connection with your customers. It means holding each of your digital touchpoints to a high standard and ensuring that every online interaction with shoppers brings them closer to making a purchase. The most prominent benefit of brand continuity is greater credibility for your business, but it brings value your dealership in many ways.
Better Marketing Results
When you created your dealership’s logo and crafted your brand message and business reputation, you poured a significant amount of time and funds into creating just the right brand presence. However, your efforts could be undermined if the application across your digital platforms is inconsistent. Whether you’re operating a website, Google listing, Facebook page, Craigslist account and/or other outlets, it’s crucial to employ the same messaging, keywords, design and response time on every platform. This promotes familiarity for your shoppers, which helps to streamline your brand growth.
The decision to purchase a product is based more on emotions than practicality. This was proven by Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, who stated in his book "How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market" that 95% of purchases are subconscious. Shoppers are drawn to brands that they recognize and feel a connection with – and brand continuity goes a long way in creating that sense of familiarity.
From your website to your digital ads and social media posts, your strategy to create messaging should stay the same. That said, if your store delegates different communication tasks, make sure that the team member who manages your website leads is in close communication with the team member who posts on your social media – and that they’re both following the same brand guidelines.
Avoiding a Muddled Identity
If your dealership has undergone a rebrand or has refreshed its logo at some point, make sure any outdate brand assets are removed from all your online profiles. You could run the risk of confusing shoppers if they come across an older logo, store name, color scheme or motto. Shoppers may assume they’re interacting with a different dealership or that your dealership is not very active on social media – neither of which are conclusions you want your customers to draw.
Even if your dealership name or design is unique, having stray logos scattered across the internet can throw off shoppers or discourage them from taking your brand seriously. Anytime your dealership undergoes a brand change, it’s important to update all your digital channels (as well as remove or disable any profiles you’re no longer using) to ensure shoppers only find the most up-to-date information.
Make Brand Quality the Standard
By keeping your brand strategy consistent across all outlets, you’re supporting your business in creating satisfactory interactions for all digital customers, as well as fortifying your reputation as a reliable and customer-oriented brand.
So, whether you’re currently creating, updating or maintaining your brand, create an outline of your general brand identity guidelines and how these will be embodied by each of your digital channels. Communicate your decisions with your team, especially anyone tasked with managing an online profile, to make sure everyone is on the same page. Through persistence and ongoing communication, you can develop your dealership name into a brand that’s recognizable and appealing to shoppers.
Sarah Prellwitz is the corporate content specialist for Dealer Spike.