The Importance of Online Brand Continuity for OPE Dealerships

By Sarah Prellwitz

If your dealership has more than one store, you’re likely familiar with the importance of brand continuity across locations, ensuring that customers enjoy a consistent experience. After all, you don’t want your customers to feel like they’re talking to an entirely different business when they visit your location in the next town over.

The same holds true for your online presence, where your brand can exist on multiple channels – from your website and social media profile(s) to business listings, mobile applications and more. As digital outlets emerge and evolve, a lot of businesses make the mistake of launching onto platforms without considering how it fits into their overall brand vision. Without a strategy, their actions become disjointed and can undermine their online presence. Even if their marketing content is compelling and creative, it won’t do them much good if their audience doesn’t recognize their brand at the heart of the message.

One of the most important aspects of managing your online presence is to keep your brand continuous across all touchpoints. Continuity is consistency plus improvement – maintaining your brand presence to build a connection with your shoppers. Brand continuity will enhance your online credibility, as well as benefit your dealership in multiple other ways.

Increased marketing efficacy

You invested a lot of time and funds into creating your logo, brand message and business reputation, but all of these could be negatively impacted by an inconsistent application across your digital outlets. By keeping your design, messaging, keywords and response time consistent on any platform, you’re building familiarity with consumers, which can grow your customer base.

After all, purchasing is more of an emotional decision than a practical one. Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman published a book called, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, in which he revealed that 95 percent of purchasing decisions are subconscious. Consumers gravitate to brands that they understand and like – and being able to form a sense of familiarity with your brand goes a long way in establishing a connection.

From website to printed advertisements to social media and digital ads, it’s important that your approach to messaging stay consistent. If you have one team member responding to website leads and another managing your social media, make sure they’re communicating with each other and following the same set of brand guidelines.

Avoiding mistaken identity

If you have rebranded or refreshed your look at some point since you first opened your store doors, be sure to remove traces of your old brand on the internet. You don’t want your old store name, logo, colors or motto to linger on your social profiles or online business listings, or else you run the risk of confusing your shoppers. They may assume there are two different dealerships with the same name. Or they may interact with a similar-sounding competitors, thinking that they’ve found an outdated profile of yours.

Even if your dealership has a unique name or look, having multiple logos or mottos across your digital platforms can throw off shoppers and cause them to not take your business seriously. Any change to your brand – name, store location, phone number, logo, colors, etc. – should be applied across your digital channels so that shoppers have the most up-to-date information no matter where they’re browsing.

Quality as a brand standard

By ensuring that your customers have consistent and satisfactory interactions across all of your outlets, you’re building a reputation that any platform of yours that features your name and logo will be able to deliver an optimal experience that meets shoppers’ needs.

When creating or reforming your brand, take some time to outline the general guidelines for your brand identity across your digital platforms. Set expectations for your team regarding these guidelines to ensure that everyone is on the same page, especially any team members who manage your online accounts. With some effort and good communication, you can easily maintain a recognizable brand that consistently supports your business.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sarah Prellwitz is corporate content specialist for ARI Network Services (www.arinet.com).

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