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News   January 12, 2018   by Allan Janssen

COMMENTARY: What defines you?

Your company slogan tells prospective clients what’s truly important to you.


I first started thinking about effective slogans for automotive repair shops when someone told me about a sign they’d put behind the front counter.

“If you don’t trust us,” it read, “please don’t have us work on your vehicle.”

Hmm, I thought. That’s certainly candid… but not exactly the kind of message that attracts prospective customers.

Ever since then, I’ve thought about the descriptive phrases that promote your businesses. I’ve always had my favourites. I believe, for example, that the Mister Transmission franchise captured more than just attention when it coined its famous slogan, “Hey Mister, you’re a friend of mine!” It captured the feeling of working with a trusted partner. That’s valuable!

I started making a list of the slogans that struck me as particularly effective. And last year, I asked you to send in the slogans that have worked well for you.

I got a barrel full of them. Reading them over led me to a few conclusions.

Positive words push people in the right direction. OK Tire, for example, describes itself as ‘Honestly driven.’ Both descriptors send the right signal to consumers.

Think about the customer’s ultimate objective. McNeill’s in Elmsdale, N.S. has been ‘Keeping you on the move since 1962.’ And Cochrane Automotive in Toronto says, ‘We keep your car young.’

Sell your expertise. George Rempel Auto Centre, in Winnipeg, Man., and Ralph Mackay’s Auto Repair in Riverview, N.B. were certainly thinking alike when they came up with their respective slogans. Rempel promises ‘Modern technology with old-fashioned service,’ while Mackay offers ‘Old-fashioned service – modern technology.’

Simplicity is certainly a valuable component. Automotive Parts Distributors (APD) in Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon got right to the point when it wrote its four-word slogan: “The right part… FAST!”

According to APD’s vice president of sales and marketing Zara Wishloff, the slogan is not just for marketing purposes. It also serves as a guidepost when operational decisions need to be made about anything from equipment, to staffing, to inventory levels.

“We ask ourselves if a particular computer system will help us deliver the right part… FAST. If so, we put it in,” he says. “Will having cucumber soap in the staff washroom help us deliver the right part… FAST? Not so much, which is why it’s not a priority.”

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most obvious place… like the company name. More than 25 years ago, Dennis Roberts named his fledgling operation in Blind River, Ont. TransCan Service Centre.

“One day I happened to be looking at some paperwork when it struck me. Our motto was right there in our name! ‘Service is our middle name.’

Ed Jagt, owner of Pro Tech Tire & Auto in Barrie, Ont., chose to highlight his particular brand of service with a slogan that promises: ‘We exceed our clients’ expectations… with a touch of class.’

You can take the descriptive route. Glenn Ford, a Newfoundlander transplanted to Dartmouth, N.S., wanted to honor his home province’s reputation. His slogan promises that GT Auto Repair is, ‘The friendly repair shop.’

Or there’s the appeal for client exclusivity.Curt Gambiel of MiMechanic in Waterford, Ont. makes a particularly bold assertion. His slogan reads, ‘MiMechanic: If we aren’t, we should be!’

Whatever your approach, your slogan not only introduces you to prospective clients, it defines you.

So… how do you want to be defined?

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know what you think. You can reach me at allan@newcom.ca.