It’s late in the evening and you’re out of town, driving without your GPS device. You don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you’re going, but you do know that you’re hungry! Up ahead, you see the next exit has fast food options so you turn off and go down that road.
You pull up to the stop light and are faced with a difficult decision: you can either turn left and go to McDonald’s, or you can go right and eat at The Twiggs Burger Joint. What would you do?
Now I make a great burger, but I’m guessing you would choose McDonald’s. You may be thinking, “But Eric, you fix burgers right the first time, are family owned and operated, and have the lowest prices in town! Why would anyone choose McDonald’s over you?”
It’s because McDonald’s has built a leading, dominant brand. When in doubt, customers will default to the brand they trust.
For many consumers, choosing a repair facility feels like going down an unfamiliar road without a navigation system. Here’s the million-dollar question: Would your shop be their default choice or would the customer make the right turn to your competitor?
If your answer leaves you needing a “happy meal,” keep reading and you’ll learn a three-step plan to build a dominant brand. But first, let’s make sure we have a clear definition of what your brand is.
What is a Brand?
Your brand is the perception of the experience a customer will have when they interact with your business. It’s the first words that come to mind when someone mentions your shop.
For example, when someone mentions McDonald’s, the words consistency and convenience come to mind.
Now that you know the definition of a brand, you are ready to build your three-step plan:
Since you can’t build something you don’t know about, the first step is to discover what your brand is. Think about your ideal customer whom you would like to clone if you could.
What are the most common words they use to describe the experience when they give you a testimonial? Why do they do business with you instead of the competition? What words are consistently used in your 5 star Google and Yelp reviews?
I went through this exercise with Darrin Moncur, owner of Denny’s Auto Service. He discovered the following words described his brand: family, integrity, and honesty. Armed with this insight, he was ready to move on to step #2 in the process.
If you know your brand, but nobody else does, your car count will be similar to that of my make-believe “burger joint!” So the next step is to create a “tag line” that tells the world about the experience they will receive when they do business with you.
A tag line is a memorable slogan a company uses to associate with its brand. After discovering his brand, Darrin, from the earlier example, created the following tagline: “Honesty • Family • Integrity.”
This will be communicated on his website, business cards, and all of his future marketing. He is now working with our Marketing Tool Box Representative, to find a logo that best symbolizes this experience.
You know your brand, and you’ve communicated it through your marketing so you’re done right? Wrong! Choreography is the process of ensuring your people’s daily actions are aligned with the brand you’ve communicated.
It all starts with the hiring process. For example, someone who lied on their resume would struggle to deliver an experience of honesty and integrity to your customers. After hiring the right person, the next step is to provide on-going training to reinforce the right behaviors.
Darrin has his service writer watch training videos that instruct on presenting a repair order with honesty and integrity. Communication is talking the talk, but the choreography is walking the walk!
So there you have it. If you commit to discovery, communication, and choreography, you can create a leading brand. I wouldn’t recommend eating at The Twiggs Burger Joint, but I am a fan of the three-step plan!
P.S. Struggling to find out who your ideal customer really is? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you my “Ideal Customer Checklist,” to help you target the type of customer you want more of.