(This article first appeared in the July 2016 print edition of Professional Carwash & Detailing. Click here for the PDF version as it appeared in the magazine.)
In my line of business, I travel a lot therefore I constantly find myself in areas that I am not familiar with. For a lot of people this would be their heaven, but at my age and considering how much I have traveled over the years the thrill of traveling and experimenting with new places to eat for example is not fun.
It is because of this fact that my family including my grandkids all make fun of me, because I choose to eat at McDonalds a lot. It is obvious that I am not a connoisseur of foods or I wouldn’t be eating at McDonalds. So then why do I eat at McDonalds? Because of “The Law of Familiarity”. Which means people like to associate with things they are familiar with. I am familiar with McDonalds, because I know regardless if am in California or New York or Florida a cheeseburger at McDonalds is going to taste the same.
This is the power of what a brand can do for business and it can do it on a local level or a regional level or in McDonalds situation an international level.
But wait I would like to go a little deeper and share with you how this can affect your car wash business or detailing business or any kind of business you may operate.
In order to establish your business brand, you need a USP. Ok, you say what is a USP? Well this is where it gets interesting and where you can learn how to make more money, which is what business is all about. And this how to make the top line of sales increase.
A USP is what we call a “unique selling proposition” or what is your hook? In other words, what differentiates your business from everyone else in the market? If you don’t have a USP or a hook to set you a part from the rest of the crowd then why should I give you my business? And obviously you haven’t established yourself as a brand.
There have been numerous studies done about the power of brands and how they affect our daily lives so I am not going to address the issue of the strength in brands, but I am going to stress you need to differentiate yourself with your own USP/hook. Here are some examples to help you get started on doing so.
First let’s look at McDonalds. What are they known for? It used to be their speed in preparing and delivering economical food, but since they have increased the size of their menu I would say they are known for their consistency to produce the same quality of food regardless of what you may think of their food they are consistent.
OK, how about Domino’s Pizza. Their USP/hook and claim to fame was delivery in 30 minutes or less. Then there is Federal Express, when your package absolutely had to be there the next day you immediately thought of Federal Express. I will bet you that Tom Monaghan of Dominos and Fred Smith of Federal Express are glad they came up with their USP/hook.
How about Disney. Visit one of their parks and you will see where they focus on creating the absolute best experience for their customers with their characters and the cleanliness of their parks.
Let me take it to an even simpler example. What about the drive up window at the local bank that gives candy or suckers to children when they go through their drive thru window? How about the business that encourages their customers to bring their pets with them when they shop and they have dog treats at the checkout counter for the pets and watering dishes available for their four legged friends.
So I now ask you. What are you doing to enhance yourself as a brand and what is your USP/hook? Why should I visit your place of business instead of the guy down the street? I may be old, but I still enjoy knowing you appreciate my business and if told such I can be very loyal. Regardless of how dumb we may think the item is we should work hard to set ourselves apart from the crowd. Maybe your business out shines everyone in town, because nobody shines bumpers on vehicle like you do. I would be curious to hear what your USP/hook is, because once you establish your USP/hook nobody can take it away from you as long as you are the first in the market place with it.
So I suggest you stand back and look at your business as a customer and ask yourself why should I patronize this business? Years ago when I operated retail facilities I use to walk my manager out into the parking lot and tell them to put their customer hat on and look at our store and explain to me why anyone would want to patronize us. Try this little exercise and I bet you will be surprised as to what you can come up with and how the smallest thing can increase the sales and brand awareness of your business.