In May, SSGM ran an article regarding banner programs. This article seemed to get some pens moving in the independant service business, and so here are some excerpts from a couple of the responses....
In May, SSGM ran an article regarding banner programs. This article seemed to get some pens moving in the independant service business, and so here are some excerpts from a couple of the responses.
Dear Mr. Ney,
I would like to comment on the article that you did in the May edition of SSGM titled “To Brand or Not to Brand.” Our company has been a branded service provider for the past 10 years. We made the commitment at that time because we saw what changes were coming in the aftermarket repair industry and decided it was time for us to improve our image and the way we were going to market.
There is something, however, that I firmly believe in. If you are a member of a banner, support it. Our supplier supports us 100 per cent and we support them 100 per cent. I could not expect them to go the extra mile for me when I was not supporting them to the fullest. To become part of a banner program and then cherry pick it is just not right in my estimation. The banner programs are developed by professional people and should be followed as closely as possible to the guidelines of the program. They are the experts. They know what works and what doesn’t, and if we try and second-guess what they are recommending us to do, then we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
Your article was very vague, and ended up leaving the reader with an idea that you can play the field and be all things to all people and not really care about the person that really matters, the consumer.
I feel that we need to be focused as an industry. We need to define who we are and we definitely need the help of a banner program to help us look and act like the professional industry we need to become in order to survive.
A Proud Napa Autopro Member
J.D. writes: Some great points John. I’m sure the folks over at Napa are really happy to hear that you are doing so well within their system. Obviously our goal here at SSGM is to raise issues and ask important questions, to help managers make the decisions that fit their individual needs. More often than not, that involves trying our best to point out the good as well as the bad in any situation. Otherwise we would have had to call the article “To Brand,” and forgotten the other half of the question.
I enjoyed your article, “To Brand or Not to Brand” [SSGM, May 2006] in which you explored the pros and cons of signing up for a banner program. You are, no doubt aware of an alternative for shop owners: joining their provincial automotive service provider association. Membership in their association offers many of the benefits of a banner program while allowing the shop owner to preserve his/her independence and control. In many cases, association membership presents benefits that branding does not. Their association is the voice of the industry on many political and advocacy fronts and works on behalf of its members (and inadvertently non-members) while possessing no self-serving interests of its own. Perhaps there is a follow-up article in the waiting?
Mechanical Division Consultant
Automotive Retailers Association
J.D. writes: Thanks for your note regarding the SSGM article on banner programs. I also appreciate your point in terms of the provincial association option. I would like the opportunity to explore the issue of association membership sometime soon, especially as it pertains to political advocacy, because as you aptly point out, that is an area that could use a few more vocal opinions.
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