A Car Marketing Makeover: Brand Building for the Penny Conscious

You want to get your name out there. You need a new look, but this whole car marketing thing seems very complex.

It’s suppose to.

Advertising and design firms like to keep it all very complex and mysterious to help bring small dealerships like yours in their doors. They charge an arm and a leg to manage the seemingly, “impossible to manage yourself” process.

The truth is, managing a quality image and brand is fairly simply. Throughout this article we will walk you through the process step by step.

Why you should care when what really matters is that you sell cars?

A clean polished image is important. It can make a huge difference in developing trust with potential customers. A shiny, clean appearance can also create the illusion that you are bigger than you are.

You can accomplish the above in one of two ways. You can hire a big fancy firm to do it all for you and spend a ton of cash or for about the price of an eight year old mid-size sedan at the auction and a little time on your part - you can do it yourself. With the information we are going to share with you, you’ll be able to freshen up your look and makeover your image. We’ll give you our insider secrets for logo design, business card and stationary printing and web design all for pennies on the dollar. In about two weeks you’ll look as good as new and for much less than you think.

Some things don’t have to be perfect

You will care more about your logo and web design than anyone else. So don’t get into a panic about it and spend more time and money than you need to. You want a polished simple look. You don’t need to worry about winning the “best logo of the year” award. It’s very important to hire a professional for this. It’s not something you should be attempting yourself. Please leave it to the professionals.


This is a Gravitational Marketing original word. Yes, we made it up. It’s a mix of branding and transcend: rise above traditional branding strategy. Most people think branding is accomplished over a long period of time with a lot of effort and money.

This is true but that’s not the only sure fire way to achieve a strong brand presence with a respected image. Having a clean polished image and consistently use that image in all of your efforts – signs, commercials, mail, print ads, shirts, hats, letters and your website will go a long way toward promoting the value you have to offer. Don’t spend a ton of cash running ads that only “get your name out there” for the sake of trying to build your brand.

Simple Steps

Your Identity

Corporate identity packages (logo, letterhead, business cards, envelopes) will normally run you around $3,000 from a good design firm, but did you know that there are many talented graphic designers that will freelance for much less than the average firm? Some as much as 90% less!

You can get a complete corporate ID package for as little as $300 by working with some online outlets. Simply google “corporate identity” and you will find a long list of options. We recommend www.logoworks.com. They are not necessarily the cheapest, but they’re a lot lower than the traditional firm.

Normally the online firms send your project to several designers who all make proposals to you. You will choose which design you like best and sometimes even be able to make changes until you are satisfied. It’s a great alternative to the traditional firm. A much more “consumer friendly” experience.

We only have found one drawback to using online firms and that is you don’t meet the designer face to face. Everything is done virtually.

Dirt Cheap Printing

This is probably one of our biggest secrets. www.netprint24.com, offers the lowest cost business card printing we have ever found. 5,000 full-color, 2-sided cards for $75.00. Check around but you won’t find a printer that can beat that price.

If stationary is what you are looking for we recommend you look at www.printingforless.com. They have unparalleled service and their prices are hard to beat.

Website Design

Like the graphic designers who create your logo, web professionals from around the globe are interested in freelancing as well. Check out www.elance.com. They have created an online environment that allows you to interact with and receive bids from thousands of freelance designers and programmers. You can even see references and samples of their work.

You can save as much at 25% off the normal rate for web-design.

Our advice to you when creating a site is to not focus on inventory. Instead you want your site to be an example of your virtues. A site that focuses on inventory can be a huge nightmare. Keeping up with ever changing inventory can be time consuming and expensive. Also consider this: if you post your entire inventory online potential customers can decide for themselves whether they ever even set foot on your lot.

Finial Details

Now that you’ve created the new look and logo you will want to contact a graphic designer to apply that logo to your signs and banners. You can visit your local embroidery store and have your logo added to shirts and hats. www.naagtag.com has unique name tags for your new design. The sky is the limit. Be proud to display your new look on everything you can.

Who this doesn’t apply to

If you are in a position where you require an executive board meeting to decide on new logos and web design then this probably isn’t for you. You have to be prepared to make decisions quickly. You have to be flexible and somewhat patient when dealing with people via the internet. This is the trade off for the money you will be saving.

If you aren’t computer savy – don’t worry. Ask around your store to see if there is someone more familiar with the computer. You can even put them in charge of the project allowing you to spend more time improving your sales and marketing process so more vehicles move off the lot.

Now that it’s done...

So now what? You’ve had your logo re-designed, website updated and the golf shirts are hot off the press. Now make sure your new appearance isn’t only skin deep. Keep it maintained when people arrive at the lot and when they interact with your staff. Set yourself apart from the guy down the street through your image, not just on paper but appearance as well.

Make your dealership sensational. First impressions are everything. Make yours as memorable as the first time you visited an amusement park as a kid. Place your banners and signs that match your image and marketing where people will notice them. Think about which vehicles are in the front row. Make people stand up and take notice.

Make it shine!

Yes, we mean clean it up. This may sound like a no-brainer but many dealerships overlook this very important step. Potential customers like a clean environment. They don’t want to shop in filth.

It may be a good idea to hire a cleaning service to give it a deep cleaning. Carpets, windows and even the concrete need a good scrubbing. If the walls are looking dingy give them a good coat of paint. It can really make a difference in the overall look of the dealership. Paint chipping off the walls doesn’t put off a good first impression.

Try your best to achieve a consistent level of professionalism. Your goal should be for your marketing, image and the experience you give your consumers to all be congruent. When this happens, your perceived value will increase thus making your brand stronger and stronger.

For more information on car dealership marketing visit RichDealers.com