Services vs. Products

As an automotive retailer, you should know the answer to this question about your brand.

·      Is your brand promise a Product or a Service?

A decade ago, market research with Toyota showed that consumers couldn’t recall whether or not a just watched Toyota Camry spot was a Honda Camry. That’s right HONDA CAMRY. MIND BLOWN.

Worse yet it was a multiple-choice recall test  – so the right answer was actually right in front of the consumer. Next to the wrong answer. And each – even after the advertisement – were equally as likely to be chosen.

Fast forward to today. Car Max’s been building its brand since 1993 on the used car side of the business. Customers wanted a more transparent, cleaner purchase experience. Call it operational transparency. Does it sound anything like what Carvana’s go-to-market strategy was circa 2012?

And now what is your dealership doing in 2020?

From Forbes “Car Max is in a category where prestige is indirect – it is created by the automobile brand purchased rather than the dealer endorsement.”

We’ve often said the car business is a people business and it’s because the personal interactions in dealership influence our business as a service industry.

Put another way, the next time you say that “the car business is a people business” you’re actually acknowledging that we are a Service industry and your advertising immediately moves to the operational side.

Great retailers–more or less know this—but now giant corporations are setting the service standard and fast followers will win.