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The role of brand storytelling in car dealership marketing 

How do great dealers market? In this article we discuss how to use brand storytelling to emotionally connect with your dealership customers

You might be wondering what brand storytelling actually means. To most marketers, brand storytelling involves using any marketing medium like video or marketing to create a story about your brand and dealership that evokes an emotional response from the viewer. We’ll dig in and explain more about brand storytelling as well as how to use brand storytelling to better connect with your customers on an emotional level. 

The importance of a narrative 

One of the simple ways to engage in brand storytelling is to understand your customer’s values and aspirations and find stories within your dealership, staff, and brand that resonate with those values. The idea is to enable loyalty by way of creating an emotional connection with your customer.  

Emotions are also much more memorable. While many car dealerships look and feel the same, a good story is much more memorable than factual information about a place. This is very important when customers have the option to go someplace else easel. 

How brand storytelling can benefit a car dealership 

People who are emotionally connected to your dealership or service center are more likely to return, even in the face of competition. So if brand storytelling certainly does one thing well, it does increase your customer retention for those connected to the brand.  

In one example that extends more to entire automotive brands, BMW is one of the best known storytelling campaigns of all time. Without giving any spoilers, the car manufacturers have created video stories that have their vehicles in them though the vehicles themselves aren’t exactly the main point.  

Brand storytelling can also connect new customers to your brand. Lincoln, for example, set up an online concert with popular musicians to tell a story about the brand, and had a big traffic increase in the days and weeks following. 

One of the big benefits to brand storytelling is simply connecting with your local community. Your ads and story will probably be seen locally, and your employees live reasonably locally. Telling your story is in part telling the story of your community, and people often love to hear what is happening nearby. 

How to get started on brand storytelling 

One of the first thing you’ll want to do is evaluate your brand, your community, and your employees. Does your brand have a long history in the community? Are any of your employees particularly unique in terms of length of service or skill? 

To give an example, the dealership that I formerly worked at had employees who had worked there for 30-plus years, some actually going so far as working there for more than 65 years. People who enjoy working at a place that long is a sure sign that something is going right, and they could be readily featured. The same dealership also published a book as they neared their 100th anniversary as a family-owned store. While you might not need to hire someone to write a whole book, the options are certainly there. 

One very important aspect of this is choosing the right story: You or a marketing company will want to make the story engaging, believable, and trustworthy. It’s up to you to determine which story is for your brand and audience. 

Tips for car dealership storytelling 

An honest suggestion here: Car dealerships get a bad reputation for a variety of reasons, whether about the price of cars or feeling pressured by salespeople. One idea for producing actionable content is having talks with long-time customers who are willing to describe their experience with a salesperson or your staff. The idea here is to leverage those who enjoy your dealership, and perhaps enjoy being on camera, as an example for those who would be nervous approaching your doors. 

Another step is to decide who is going to see your story and how. We suggest a mix of using methods that present your story to completely new potential customers as well as sending it to existing customers.  


Brand storytelling can go a long way to telling your customers more about your business as a dealership. To make an emotional connection, you’ll have to figure out what about your business will make your future and current customers have positive feelings about you when they think about service or vehicles. Consider your dealership history, your community, and your people when deciding on a story to tell. 

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Ben Stewart
Ben Stewart
Ben is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News with 10 years of dealership experience in automotive marketing. Ben loves all things cars and putting together strategies that help dealerships succeed.

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