What Stands Out? Connect Your Customers to Your Brand Story

Aug. 18, 2023
A pair of auto repair shop owners on leveraging the power of your shop's uniqueness.

One aspect of marketing that has stayed the same since its inception is the power and effectiveness of storytelling. A story has the ability to connect people and, in marketing, connect potential customers to the auto repair shop that's using a brand story. 

We see examples of storytelling in Apple's "Think Different" campaign when it first launched its iMac computers. Apple didn't focus on the features of the computers or what you get when you buy them—it focused on the story of visionary leaders who changed the world and why using Apple's computers is a version of "thinking differently."  

Your shop's brand story is one of the most underutilized tools in your marketing plan. Why your shop was started, who started it and what vision they had, how the shop grew and who works on the vehicles are stories waiting to be told in a way that will connect with your current, past, future and potential customers.  

Shop owners need to understand their brand story and how to use the power of story to engage with customers in an entertaining, informative, and, ultimately, serviceable way. Here are some examples of shops using their brand story well and some tips for using your shop's brand story in connection-based marketing. 

Green Drop Garage

Brand Focus: The Environmentally Conscious 

If you visited the website for Green Drop Garage in Portland, Oregon, it'd be clear what their brand story is and how it's used in their marketing.  

"We have an eco-conscious mission to make car care less environmentally impacting, and that's what attracts the majority of our client base," says Mike McMillen, the operations director for Green Drop Garage. "Our brand story tends to attract environmentally conscious people who practice those decisions in their personal life, and they choose us to do the same with their vehicles. We want to be known as the shop that's moving in the new world of automotive."

Green Drop Garage's environmentally conscious message is intentional down to its slogan: ""We consider the impact of every decision we make." This mission is reflected in the certifications their team and shop learn about and achieve, who they are and how they run their shop.  

"We advertise that we're the most eco-certified shop in the country. Our team encompasses the mission, and we regularly meet to ensure everyone is on the same page. We teach classes to the general public, give back and care about the environment. We embrace new technology and training on things like EV technology," says McMillen.  

This brand story of caring for the environment and being eco-conscious attracts customers who believe the same thing. And as one of the only shops in the area with this story, the shop attracts all the business from customers who identify with it.  

If your brand story and shop have a special focus, you should use that in your marketing and branding. The goal isn't to attract any and everyone who needs their vehicle worked on—it's to attract clients who believe in your brand mission and want to support it.  

Alternative Auto Care

Brand Focus: Inclusive Initiatives 

As soon as you land on the website for Alternative Auto Care in Columbus, Ohio, you'll see the slogan, "A woman's touch to auto repair." The shop's brand story is one of inclusion.  

"Our brand story and messaging help us connect with our customers; they feel safer with us and valued because we're welcoming to everyone. Our brand has much to do with the lifelong customers we've built through good service," says Chris Cozad, owner and president of Alternative Auto Care.  

"We talk about our brand on social media networks to connect with our customers—we build deeper relationships with them. A brand story is important, and ours is unique. It catches people's attention, but the brand is deeper than just 'woman initiates.' We offer quick service and good work and train our technicians well. Our band story is we offer the best service in an inclusive way and are welcoming to everyone," says Cozad. 

Cozad and the team have created a shop that welcomes those who may not understand automotive repair and are worried about not feeling welcomed. They go out of their way to welcome people, treat them well and give them good services, which is part of their brand story.  

"People who haven't traditionally been treated well and taken advantage of get treated well by us; being inclusive is part of our brand and story. People want to be heard, tell their stories and be involved in the decision-making—we meet customers where they are. The key is communication—customers are people—whoever they are. They want to tell their story and be heard.  

"We build a relationship with our customers. The brand is bigger than just women—we have men customers. We stand by our word, and all of it makes up the brand. My brand is about how we treat customers and take care of them. Everyone gets the same great treatment in our shop," says Cozad. 

Automotive repair can be a scary and frustrating process for your customers. Making them feel welcome is one way to ensure they return and continue doing business with your shop. Be inclusive and ensure it's displayed as a part of your brand story.  

Using Brand Story Is Powerful In Marketing 

The story of your shop's founding, its founder and the growth of the shop are stories that make customers connect deeper with your shop. People connect with people more than they do with brands, and your customers are people, first and foremost.  

Some practical ways you can incorporate your brand story are:

Add your founding story to the About page of your website. Make sure potential customers can go to your website and read how and why your shop was founded. 

Tell your brand story in advertising, on social media, and throughout your communication. Consumers will connect with their brand story and be curious to check out your shop. A brand story is especially effective in all forms of advertising—so lead with the story, and you'll experience more conversions.  

Be proud of your brand story and perfect telling it in a concise way that connects with your customers. The point is to help your customers see that they're not just doing business with a shop but connecting with a deeper mission.  

Ask yourself what stands out and how you're different than your competitors. Your brand story is how you differentiate, and it's a powerful marketing and connection tool that builds brand loyalty.  

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