In Hollywood, everyone knows the value of an Academy Award. The last two Best Picture winners, “The Shape of Water” and “Moonlight,” saw increases of 171% and 151%, respectively, in box office revenue the weekend after their nominations.
The auto industry should take a page out of Hollywood’s book. Third-party awards can dramatically influence how consumers view vehicles. Three-in-four car shoppers said awards from automotive review and companies such as Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Consumer Reports influence their opinions of vehicles.
Awards can make consumers more confident in their purchase and can sway them to choose a vehicle from your brand over the one next door. Following in true Oscar winner fashion, dealerships should display awards. Here are four tips to help dealers leverage inventory’s award-winning status to drive more value and sales:
1. Promote Awards Across All Channels
As a starting point, dealerships need to ensure consumers know about award wins. These wins provide another way to highlight a vehicle that has been on the market for a while or add another boost to a recently introduced vehicle.
Conventional marketing suggests repetition is the key to having an idea stick in a consumer’s mind. Remind people about award-winning vehicles multiple times. Cross-site promote. While researching, consumers visit third-party, dealership and OEM sites. Dealerships should highlight awards in all areas, reinforcing the strength of the model or brand at every step of the car-buying journey.
2. Use Consistent Messaging to Build Credibility
Dealerships need to promote these accolades with consistent and strong messaging. Misstating the award or what it means risks losing public trust. Look at messaging from the consumer’s point of view. Is the messaging consistent and accurate? Do you have proof of claims? Do you provide validation to the car shopper with links back to a third-party site for the award?
3. Differentiate Your Dealership with Brand Awards
In 1998, Matt Damon was a relatively unknown actor who was catapulted into fame by his leading role in “Good Will Hunting.” After receiving multiple Oscar nominations and a win for Best Screenplay, Damon became an A-List movie star.
Not only should dealers promote awards on specific vehicle listings, but they should include them in overall messaging about the dealership online and in print. The individual awards can add up and help make your dealership the best and most trusted in the area.
4. Spotlight Awards in the Showroom
Oscar winners often display the award in their home or office. Dealers should do the same.
Digital promotion is important, but the showroom and dealership lot remain central to winning customers and closing deals. Approximately 89% of customers still want to sign the final papers at the dealership, according to the 2018 Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail Study.
So don’t be shy about showing your accolades. Use hanging tags, window clings and stand-up signs to draw attention to wins. In fact, dealerships should push their manufacturers to co-op spends that tout brand awards in new and better ways. (Wards Industry Voices contributor Steve Lind, left)
Everyone loves a winner. Auto consumers are no different. Whether online or in-store, spotlighting awards will help guide consumers to quality vehicles and lead to more dealership sales. So, roll out the red carpet and make the most of your wins this award season.
Steve Lind is Cox Automotive’s vice President and general manager-OEM and industry solutions.