In addition to being inextricably connected to their phones, Millennials are known for their passionate support of causes. As consumers, they prefer products and companies tied to global and communal improvement.
There are many ways to make giving part of your dealership culture, but to truly stand out in the current market, you want to incorporate it into your brand. Charitable branding links your dealership to the value of giving in customer’s minds and makes a longer-lasting impact than any one fundraiser or donation. It can also be more mutually beneficial to the chosen charity because it keeps their name and cause front and center in the public’s attention.
Here are three practical ways you can make giving back part of your dealership’s fabric.
Make Strategic Partnerships
When it comes to branding, you want to connect with charities or community projects that match your dealership. The partnership should make intuitive sense to those hearing about it.
For example, donating computers to a local high school, while a worthy endeavor, doesn’t precisely scream dealership. On the other hand, helping fund a Driver’s Ed program does.
What if there’s a charity or community cause you feel an affinity to that doesn’t overtly connect to your dealership? You don’t necessarily have to give it up. Brainstorm with the organizers to find a way to match both your giving and branding goals.
Say you want to help a local women’s shelter. Women’s shelters and cars might not seem connected at first glance. However, you could donate vans to the shelter or create a program that gives cars to women at the shelter when a certain number of cars get sold at the dealership.
Integrate Giving into the Buying Experience
Toms. Warby Parker. Better World Books. These are all companies known for their giving. Part of their business model is that every time a customer buys a product, they donate money, products, or services to different disadvantaged groups.
The reason this version of charitable branding is so effective is that it allows shoppers to take an active role in giving. It shifts buying from a selfish to a selfless act.
As a dealership, consider giving a percentage of proceeds from each car sold to a local cause or charity. The partnership will be a win-win for both sides:
- The charity receives donations and greater exposure
- You sell more cars and gain positive branding.
Join for the Long Run
Building a brand is never about one-offs. A brand takes time to develop and needs to be nurtured as an integral part of who you are. This is why the above-described partnerships are just that: partnerships, instead of one-time campaigns or fundraisers.
If you choose to run smaller charity events, make them annual or biannual occasions, so they create a stronger relationship in people’s minds. Devote a corner of your website to updates regarding the charity’s developments and news, showing the timeline of your involvement.
Above all, jump in and embrace whatever cause you choose to support. You’ll find that even if you start focused primarily on branding, the force of giving will make it a reward in and of itself.