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Old 9th November 2010, 15:57   #1
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Default Branding Article - Auto Industry - Nice Read

Branding : Help for the Auto Industry

Who cries for struggling auto dealers and manufacturers? It's important for many that they succeed, so I know there are deep pockets of sympathy. I wrote this back in the fall to try and help soften the barbed emotional barriers that surround the buying experience.
Today Brad and I are adding to the effort. I'm hoping my old boss and Guest BSI Author, Kevin Roberts will add his thoughts as Saatchi & Saatchi has been very successful in building the Toyota brand.
Ideally, a brand promises relevant differentiated benefits to its target audiences. Those benefits should be understandable, believable and compelling. Some brands have chosen such a compelling combination of unique benefits that they are perceived to be without peers. Those brands stand alone in their customers' consideration sets.

Here are some things that can be done to reinforce brands at auto dealerships:

•Know what your brand stands for and what makes it different
•Identify "proof points" for and "reasons to believe" your brand's promise
•Refine (and even script) your brand promise "talking points"
•Hold an employee contest to identify new ways to reinforce the brand's promise
•At staff meetings, brainstorm additional ways to reinforce the brand's promise
•Identify new ways to reinforce the brand promise with customers and potential customers at all stages of the purchase decision process, including immediately after the purchase and on an ongoing basis during usage
•Make and distribute copies of third party endorsements of your brand, especially if they extol your brand for delivering on its unique promise
•Publicly recognize employees who have done an exceptional job of reinforcing the brand's promise
•Have each employee think about and explain how he or she will reinforce the brand promise in his or her interactions with customers and potential customers
•Post the brand's promise in a place where customers will see it
•Post brand promise reinforcement tips of the week (for dealership employees)
•Assign a chief brand advocate who is responsible for developing a comprehensive brand advocacy plan at your dealership

As a specific example, for higher-end automotive brands, any or all of the following can be implemented to reinforce the brand's promise:

•Provide customers and potential customers with information/articles/newsletters on the latest advances in automotive technological innovation so they can stay "in the know"
•Create owner-oriented "white papers" on specific technology topics
•Provide owners with talking points on leading-edge automotive technology
•Compile and keep handy a comprehensive list of brand "firsts" in the industry
•Make current owners aware of the latest available technology upgrades/enhancements
for their cars
•Help current owners anticipate "next generation" enhancements
•Provide "sneak previews" of upcoming technology enhancements
•If you provide customers with product incentives or upgrades, chose ones that use leading edge technology (such as GPS, iPod, Bluetooth, digital satellite, etc.)
The bottom line: your brand will be much more successful if everyone in your dealership(s) can enthusiastically articulate your brand's unique promise. Even better: everyone in your dealership discovers and implements new ways to reinforce your brand's promise at every point of customer contact.

Source : Branding: Help for the Auto Industry: Branding Strategy Insider
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Old 20th November 2010, 12:33   #2
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Not to disregard that article, but its typical MBA from the boardroom stuff. Fact is, in India, automotive brands are made and broken on the street. If it was only about technology, features and engines, Fiat would be the no. 1 player in India (quite the contrary in reality).

Come to think of it, becoming a successful automotive manufacturer in India is all about common sense:

A relevant product: The Swift has long waiting periods years after launch, while arguably premium brands ended up with duds in the Fabia & Jazz. Despite its parent company's shaky reputation, the Figo has emerged as a runaway success. A decade+ after launch, the Indica + Indigo bring in respectable sales. A 10 lakh rupee diesel Chevy is touching 1,000 sales a month! Relevance is key. Give the market exactly what it wants.

VFM pricing: Whether 2 lakhs or 20, your car had better be high on value. Note that value doesn't equate to cheap....there's a stark difference. 7,000 monthly customers see value in a premium hatch like the i20! The Superb's value proposition makes the Accord look naked.

Support your product: The Sonata & Tucson, enough said. Make an enquiry on either of these cars (and others, like the Trax for instance) and you'd think the company does NOT want to sell you any cars. There's more to a dealer than a billboard, 4 walls & white lights.

Fuel efficiency: Simply put, a gas guzzler will destroy your car's shot at success in the sub-10 lakh brand. "Kitna degi" is a fact of life in India, like it or not.

Hassle free ownership: Easier said than done. The car's reliability & durability are of paramount importance here. I find it surprising how car makers STILL can't make niggle free cars. In fact, I can't think of too many troublesome cars that have ended up as successes...whatever the segment. I mean, c'mon, a car is no longer rocket science. About time a brand like Fiat figured this out.

Acceptable to good after-sales experience: Again, I'll bring up the reliability factor here. The more reliable your car, the less it has to visit the service center. And the easier it is for the dealer to match customer expectations (how difficult is it to change oil and filters). An aggressive after-sales strategy that includes closely monitoring dealer service quality, addresses complaints, links incentives to customer satisfaction etc. are a must. Heck, Maruti owns 50% of the market and yet manages to emerge on top in customer satisfaction.
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Old 20th November 2010, 13:33   #3
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I completely agree with you, GTO. Indian customers have peculiar buying preferences. The average customer wants the latest stuff, but he won't embrace the cutting - edge technology entirely. Cost, VFM, practicality are more important for him than the cutting -edge technology.
The 'chalta hai ' attitude is deeply rooted in the typical Indian mindset, as is austerity. And this applies not just for automobiles, but for almost every product.

Last edited by auto-one : 20th November 2010 at 13:35.
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Old 20th November 2010, 14:58   #4
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It is all about Consumer Satisfaction in the end. Too many of these boardroom jockeys spend too many hours fiddling about with excels and ppts when they should be spending time out there on the streets where the consumer is.

I like an ad of IBM's - "Dont sell what you have, sell what the consumer wants".

This pretty much sums it up.
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Old 20th November 2010, 18:14   #5
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One more Point: Give the car to Team-Bhp (GTO) for a review
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