Tips to Create a Car Wash Brand

by | Jul 27, 2022 | Brand Discovery

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When your car wash has a sharp and consistent brand and all of the brand touch points are in alignment, the consumer feels that they can trust your brand and choose your wash versus the one down the street. I’m giving you six tips to the most important things to consider when creating a car wash brand.

Hey guys! I’m Mike Berlin from SLAM CarWash Marketing, bringing you some new ideas to consider when marketing your car wash. It’s the SLAM Six. This episode is all about branding. Nobody cares what the car wash looks like as long as it works, right? Wrong.

For years in our industry, branding was thought of as a logo and some signs. With the car wash industry now elevating to mainstream, like it is our properties are sitting on the main dragon town right next to national brands like Starbucks and Chipotle; it’s changing, and branding has become a much bigger deal. Branding is the DNA of your car wash. It’s the vibe or your style. It’s what makes you different than the car wash down the street.

I like to define branding as how a consumer feels when they interact with your company. What brands do you love? I drive a Jeep Wrangler, wear Costa Sunglasses, use an Apple computer and put my beer in a Yeti cooler. I’m not a fishing guide, I never go off-road in my Jeep. and there are better coolers out there, but these brands make me feel cool. There, I said it!

Branding is your tone. It’s your company’s personality and it’s carried out in every interaction that we have with our customers. That’s the way your sign looks at the car wash, the language you use on your website, or maybe even the tone of your response in a review, the greeting at the pay station or your uniform choice.

It can even direct who we hire at the car wash to be the manager.

Let’s say your car wash is called Precision Clean. You might hire an ex-military operations-minded person that is a little OCD because they fit the brand. Or let’s say your car wash is called Bubbles or Monsters. You might want to hire an ex-camp counselor that’s all smiles and high-fives to be your wash manager because they fit the brand. I always joke with clients and say “Look, Chick-Fil-A did not hire a bunch of kids and brainwash them.” They attract those types of kids to work for them with their brand.

Brand Discovery

Figure out who we are and who we aren’t. We need to document it so that we can convey that to all the people that we work with, the web team, the signage folks, social media, the ad people, and employees. We want all of them to be clear about who we are as a company and what our brand is all about. When everybody is on the same page and there’s consistency in the brand, guess what consumers feel? They trust it and favor it.

Consistency is Key

Once you discover and create your brand, consistency is the key across all branding materials. That’s the logo, website, any advertisements, the architecture of your building, uniforms, colors, fonts, imagery, etc. Keeping all these elements of your brand consistent is the name of the game.

1. Brand Discovery

Let’s figure out who we want to be what style do you gravitate towards. What brands do you compete with? I know in the express car wash business, everybody with a job and a car is potentially our customer, but the old saying is true. “If you try to be everything to everybody, you end up being nothing to nobody.”

Get some help and figure out who you want to be or who you need to be. Most importantly, who you’re not.

2. Logo

What makes a good logo? Something that is memorable. For the car wash industry, something that’s easy to see and recognize when we drive past the wash at 40 mph: something that’s recognizable. If you look at it for like half a second, you get it.

Keep it simple and clean with just a few elements. Make sure you’re using fonts and icons that are current but not too trendy. You want a timeless logo that is not going to look outdated and irrelevant in a few years. It’s okay to have a fun more elaborate font, but we need to see the words car wash in big bold font underneath the wash name. You want to make sure it’s easy to read and doesn’t compete with the title of the wash. I always recommend the words “car wash” being the name with the logo.

3. Site Appearance

Carry the characteristics of your logo into the car wash lot. This means sticking to the same colors, fonts, and utilize that same consistent style. If you have a fun mascot, use them all over the wash to make it feel fun for kids and adults. No matter what your brand is, keep your wash physically clean and make sure your team is always in branded uniforms. You can also get creative and use themed air fresheners, towels, and other fun giveaways.

4. Brand Voice

In addition to making everything look the same, you got to make sure it all sounds the same. Meaning, keep a consistent voice across all of your messaging and in the way you actually talk to customers on site. You know, a common mistake we see with some car washes is they have this really cool and fun brand, but when you get on site, the team is formal and regimented. A little too serious. If you have a fun brand, smile and be fun.

5. Culture

You may find it shocking, but your company culture is also directed by your brand. Companies with a great brand find it easier to recruit and retain employees because they feel like they are a part of an organization who knows who they are.

6. Keep Preaching

Find ways to continue telling people about your brand, remind your crew of the core values, and continue to enforce what your company values the most. Find ways to talk about your brand as often as you can and continue to remind the crew and customers what our organization is all about.

That’s your SLAM Six. There are so many ways and directions you can take branding. I hope this gives you a new perspective. If you need some advice or you need some help, call us at SLAM. We’re here to make car washing easy(er)!

Lastly, if you like this video, click subscribe and follow us on Facebook. We’ll keep sending you fresh ideas on car wash marketing. Go get SLAMMED!

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