Boost your dealership’s reputation

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I recently had the opportunity to observe the making of an exciting new video that will soon be added to our industry’s national Discover Boating campaign.

Watching the Discover Boating team construct the video’s storyline reminded me that the key to boosting the reputation of a marine dealership isn’t telling people how good you are by throwing out more adjectives, but it’s showing them you’re good by telling good stories.

Ryan Clancy, former speechwriter for Vice President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke during the Obama administration, correctly advocated that good stories do more than just engage or entertain. “They highlight what really makes you different and how you actually put your company values into practice,” he said.

Stories can demonstrate that your dealership delivers value to the people who buy from you. They can illustrate how you’ve enhanced the lifestyle of customers. They can show you’re skilled at solving problems. Overall, they can make your dealership and its products more credible.

This also explains why there’s been a very rapid increase in what’s called “content” marketing. In fact, these days there’s an abundance of help-wanted ads for writers of marketing content. That’s because all kinds of businesses are seeing the benefits of reaching people with written articles, documentary-style videos and social media placements that tell stories and, thus, build their reputation and recognition within markets.

What’s the power of storytelling? Princeton University neuroscientist Uri Hasson and his research team hold that a storyteller could essentially “plant ideas, thoughts, and emotions into the listeners' brains.” Moreover, the importance of good storytelling can be expected to grow as today’s audiences are said to be showing shorter attention spans and less acceptance of advertising claims.

In searching for stories, don’t think about what you want to say. Instead, consider what parts of your business stories would be interesting, informative and exciting to a reader or viewer. Every dealership has good stories that can be told and will resonate and be relevant to the audience base you want to reach. Content can range from interviews with customers on, say, how they use and enjoy their boats or how they might have added or modified something to make their boating more productive for fishing.

Or how about when your service department solved a problem and saved a family’s boating weekend or a demonstration of some really innovative new item or service that seems certain to appeal to customers. But be warned, in the latter case if all you’re doing is a video commercial, your credibility and views in the future will plummet.

Look at it this way. When you're reading a novel, you don't want the novelist just telling you things. You want to “see” them and “feel” them and “hear” them, if only in your mind. With today’s digital technology, it’s easier to create and convey visual and audio experiences than ever before. In other words, today you can really paint an authentic picture of what your dealership does and present evidence of how you genuinely enhance life for families through boating.

You have good stories to tell. Share them.

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