Visual Branding for Today’s Auto Shop
To some people, “branding” is a buzzword that simply means making a corporate logo and tagline visible to customers everywhere. Savvy business owners know branding encompasses far more than a ubiquitous logo, however. Branding is expressed in every interaction a customer has with a business, from the way you answer the phone to the content of tweets and emails. James Heaton says, “Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service.“
Because most of us are visually oriented, appearance is a big part of branding, and that includes the physical space where customers transact their business. Retailers have been particularly adept at applying the techniques of visual branding in their stores’ interiors and exteriors. A Costco store, for example, is identifiable even without its signage.
For auto repair shops, however, visual branding can be a particular challenge. Like other service businesses, repair shops want their brand to stand for reliability, competence, and trust. But compared to the pristine environment of a retail store, auto repair shops can appear unsightly and disorganized, just because of the nature of the work. How can auto shops align their appearance with their brand, but still get the dirty work done?
Visual branding starts with the exterior. Of course a shop’s sign is prominently displayed on the wall, but keeping the parking area tidy and orderly tells customers that the owners want their experience to be pleasant. Something as simple as a clean door handle says you take pride in your work and in the place where you do that work.
Once a customer is inside, the order counter and waiting area continue the visual identity of your brand. A recent study showed that women, surprisingly, are the primary market for auto repair. Women keep their cars longer than men, and longer ownership means more maintenance and repairs. Creature comforts like modern comfortable chairs, coffee, water, and snacks will make these customers feel taken care of – and by extension, they’ll feel that their cars are well taken care of, too.
The work bays themselves are often visible to customers. Shop owners can carry the visual branding into the work areas with sleek, well-lit work benches and storage to strengthen a professional image and build customer trust. Modular cabinets can even be customized to match the color palette of a brand’s logo; these red cabinets are just one example.
With a few changes, your shop’s brand will be reinforced throughout your customers’ on-site experience. Everything they see will underscore your brand values, and they will respond with brand loyalty – and that’s what every business needs for success.
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