The automotive industry spends more on video to build our brands than any other industry except travel – even more than media and entertainment.[i] The heavy spend, though, makes it harder for a dealership to set itself apart amid a sea of video content. Here’s one way to do so: share your brand through people, not cars. Following are a few suggestions for how to make your dealership stand apart through the power of people:
Shine the Spotlight on Your Employees
Video snippets that give an inside look at the lives of your people can make your dealership more authentic and approachable. Employees at many dealerships post videos that reflect the many dimensions of their roles as brand ambassadors, whether they’re on the lot with a customer or participating in a community event. Usually employees post this kind of content on socials such as Facebook or Instagram.
For example, we recently wrote about Rudy T. “El Patronn,” managing partner/general manager of Brooklyn Mitsubishi. He has become a one-person content machine as he shares livestreams and video segments that provide an inside look at the life of an automotive executive. He even gives you a look at his family life and personal travels.
Tip: to empower your people to use video to blog about their lives, set some ground rules on considerations such as posting content on dealership sites and personal pages.
Celebrate Your Customers
Nothing says “visit our dealership” than videos of happy customers meeting the car of their dreams. Consider doing livestreams and recorded videos of customers picking up their cars and driving off happily with their new purchase, as Honda of Staten Island does on Instagram and “Honda Rick” Kruger of Ayres Honda in Fort Wayne, Indiana, does.
Tip: the key is to be brief. All you need are a few moments of the customer sharing enthusiasm and voicing their excitement. You don’t need to do a customer testimonial, per se, for this kind of video; but do ask your customer for permission to post.
Share Your Ideas
Video blogging tips and ideas for customers provide value and establish your people as authorities for car purchases and service. Examples include brief how-to videos from your service lane or the sales floor on topics such as proper car care. Jason “HondaPro” Richmond, formerly of Schaumburg Honda Automobiles, built a name for himself by creating videos of car tips. He became so popular he created a second career as a consultant.
Tip: publish how-to videos across multiple platforms such as your website and socials to optimize your findability for customers who might be looking for answers to questions about car ownership. To do them right, you’ll need professional equipment, planning, and rehearsing with someone on your team who is willing to learn how to engage an audience as a teacher in a brief video.
Considerations to Keep in Mind
In all cases, it’s important that you:
- Define your strategy for why and how you will create video, including measurable goals.
- Never wing it. Get comfortable with basic ways to speak to a camera, for instance.
- Do your homework. Research proper video creation and production tips (Launch Digital Marketing, part of the Cars.com family, is a good resource) including proper use of equipment and tips for doing a Facebook Live right.
Video is a rapidly evolving format. Instagram, for instance, recently launched IGTV, a mobile-first video creation feature for longer-form content on the one-billion-member platform. Be willing to learn, experiment, and grow.
[i] eMarketer, “US Automotive Industry Statpack 2018,” June 2018.
Author: Sarah Epstein
Director of Brand Marketing, Cars.com
As Director of Brand Marketing at Cars.com, Sarah Epstein helps lead the company’s consumer brand and creative strategy. As a strategic storyteller, she develops dynamic and engaging content and campaigns that drive awareness and brand differentiation. Her passion for marketing and cross-departmental capabilities inspires and motivates her colleagues to seek out new opportunities and tackle challenges, making her a fast leader at Cars.com.
Prior to joining Cars.com, Epstein honed her marketing skills at Grub Hub as a Senior Brand Manager developing and defining their consumer marketing strategy to maintain consistent messaging and brand integrity. Preceding her contributions to Grub Hub, she worked at OMD creating digital advertising programs for brands such as Intel, Nordstrom, and Barilla Pasta. Epstein’s unique ability to identify, strategize, and develop breakthrough insights through innovative, creative campaigns has set her apart in her field; in 2016 she was presented the Jay Chiat Award for Regional Strategy for Seamless as well as a USA finalist for Cannes Young Lions.
Epstein graduated with a degree in Communications with minor in Business from Penn State University. She currently resides in Chicago with her fiancé and her golden retriever, Winnie.