Auto Service World
Feature   June 1, 2002   by Gordon Cameron

Results on Marketing: Brand Marketing is for Everyone! – Part 1

When you hear the word "brand, what comes into your mind-Levi's, Cadillac, Red Rose Tea? What inner image or feeling occurs? When you think of Cadillac, if you feel luxury, "I've made it," or high cla...

When you hear the word “brand, what comes into your mind-Levi’s, Cadillac, Red Rose Tea? What inner image or feeling occurs? When you think of Cadillac, if you feel luxury, “I’ve made it,” or high class, the brand marketers at Cadillac have done their job.

What is a brand? Why should you care?

A brand is the image or feeling conjured up in the mind of the person interacting with the product, firm, or organization. The connection can be as mild as hearing the name of the product or company, or the hands-on experience of being a customer.

The key point concerning a brand is that it exists in the minds of your customers and potential customers. What you believe your brand to be is irrelevant.

A good brand-be it image, reputation, or status belief-is worth millions. You may choose to operate a franchise under Midas or Canadian Tire. As part of your franchise obligations, you must understand what your master franchiser’s brand is all about, so that your own local franchise can stay in sync. Or you may build a business from scratch. Be aware that everything you do in your company contributes to your brand image in the minds of others, even if you do not set out to create an image.

As the owner of a service repair facility, what should your brand image be? First, describe your business; you will probably include words such as honest, value, knowledgeable, and competent.

Once you clearly understand what you want your business to be, you then determine what it actually is. Get an understanding of what your existing customers think about you, and how your potential clients see your firm. Chances are very good that the brand perception of your existing customers is favorable; your sales growth, however, will come from all the other consumers in your marketplace.

To learn how people in your marketplace perceive your business, do a survey of your existing and potential customers. You can do this yourself, but it is probably better to hire a consultant outside your business. Anonymity is critical for truthful results.

You could hire a professional firm to conduct a survey, for a fee of thousands of dollars. Some sources can do such a survey for free, or for a nominal amount. I am referring to the business schools in many communities throughout Canada. Your call requesting help from the business department of your local school can meet with a favourable response. Many schools require their students to do projects in the community; your market research may be exciting for them to undertake.

The most important issue to understand about a survey is this: the larger the sample, the more accurate the findings.

Determine the information you want to capture, then let the researcher design the questions to capture the data. Asking a question does not create the results; it identifies them. A word to the wise: be prepared to hear comments about your business that you might not like. Next month, we will discuss what to do with the data, and how to improve your marketing efforts.

About Results Consulting Group Inc.

Results is an international full-service business consulting company with special expertise and experience in the automotive industry. In the past five years alone, Results’ team of automotive professionals has trained more than 20,000 automotive personnel-and logged thousands of in-store consulting-project days, from independent operations to national and international chains.

Senior Partners Ken Keis and Gordon Cameron have over 45 years of combined business-ownership experience and 15,000 hours of automotive consulting experience.

The Results Performance Institute provides a full range of information products and services designed to increase your business and individual performance, including personal one-on-one coaching, in-store consulting, on- and off-site educational sessions, tele-conferences, videos, and audio solutions. Results also provides appointment-scheduling and dispatch software solutions-ServiceMate-specifically designed for the independent maintenance and repair sector. Results’ copyrighted service marketing and operational system, “0% Customer Defection & 100% Customer Retention,” has a proven track record of increasing service gross by 10-20% and beyond-in less than six months.

For further information about Results and its automotive and business solutions, call us Toll Free at 1-866-852-4347, email, or visit our Website at

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