• Caleb Clark

ART CARS, The Surprisingly Effective Marketing Tool That Makes Business Vroom, Vroom

When you’re driving around town, you pass tons of branded cars and trucks without even realizing it. It’s not uncommon to see a Coca Cola truck barreling down the highway or a U-Haul decked out in orange and white.

But shipping and moving companies aren’t the only ones branding their cars, vans, and trucks. It turns out small business owners and startups are jumping into vehicle branding and art cars just as much, if not more.

But are these companies seeing ROI from their vehicles? Is vehicle branding a great marketing tool or just a waste of money?

I did the math, talked to a ton of small business owners with various types of branded transport, and figured out which industries are most likely to see success.

Vroom, vroom.

Does The Investment Make Sense?

No marketing decision is a good one if you don’t do the math beforehand. You can brand the car you already own or you can get a new one.

ART Cars Are Attention-Grabbers

There’s a lot of branded cars on the road, so if you're going to brand, make sure your wrapping gets you noticed. Art cars are very rare however and i think this is the key for innovation in the branding game. Small business owners with branded vehicles cite attention and recognition as the primary reason for spankin’ their company name on a car. Many talked about how their vehicles were moving billboards, the art car puts branding on a whole new level.

Amy and Rod Burkert, a husband and wife team, branded their RV with Go Pet Friendly.com, their company's name. Their home is essentially an advertisement and they see more website visits from locations where they're parked.

A car with a funky personality could be a way to brand, too. Your car has the potential to become famous in your town or city.

“Creating Maggie, my branded Mini Cooper, was the best thing I did for my business,” says Leeann Shattuck of Women’s Automotive Solutions. “Everyone recognizes her, and she had more friends on Facebook than I did at one point. When I meet people, they often have seen Maggie zooming around town.”

Breeding The Familiarity Principle

Did you know that 60% of consumers would rather buy products from companies they’ve heard of than ones they haven't?

If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. So, breed a little familiarity with vehicle branding. This works especially well if you’re catering to people in a certain neighborhood or geographic region. Recently Qonsult has been doing this with Ron Lewis Alfa Romeo with amazing results in pittsburgh, just in the first week.

If your company name rings a bell, people will be more comfortable with you. They'll feel like they've seen you and your business around town, as though you're an esteemed neighbor.

“Familiarity sells. If someone is in your area and needs a dentist, and they go to Google and say ‘hey, I’ve heard of them,’ they’re more likely to differentiate, they're more likely to choose you,” says Jeff Blake, founder of Rush Hour Advertising, a company that connects advertisers with prospective drivers.

Maintaining a Professional Image

If you’re making house calls and visiting clients, a branded vehicle or art car go a step beyond customer acquisition and recognition. It serves as proof that you’re a real professional, totally dedicated to your company.

“Our van makes my business seem larger, more robust than it is. When asking a new customer recently how she heard of us, she replied, ‘Oh, I saw one of your vans in front of my apartment.’ I love that she thinks that my one and only company vehicle is part of a larger fleet.”

-Valerie McCartney, Enticing Tables.

When you drive up to someone’s home and park in their driveway, you’re not only showing them that you’re serious, but you’re showing your company to the neighborhood.

If a customer is buying from you, their neighbors are probably interested, too. That’s why landscaping companies always have branded vans and trucks. Neighbors peek out their front windows or walk by and decide to call that landscaper, too.

Getting Direct Sales

So we said getting direct sales isn’t a reason for vehicle branding, but some of the business owners we talked to believe their vehicles result in direct sales.

'I literally see people sitting beside me at stop lights reading my car or looking at the photos,” says Valerie. “Occasionally, they snap a photo of the brand name with their smartphone. People routinely walk up to me and ask for a business card.”

Welmoed Sisson of Inspections by Bob has had a similar experience.

“We get calls all the time from people who have seen our vehicles and want to know more about our services. I'm also approached in parking lots as I'm getting in or out of my car, and asked for business cards. We have small business card holders on the rear of our vehicles, and we need to refill them every week or two.”

Considering Your Industry

The people that see the most return on their branded vehicles run businesses catering to local audiences in certain neighborhoods. No surprise there-- it’s pretty hard to get a national presence if you’re driving around one area.

who believe their branded cars were awesome investments:

  • A luxury residential architect.

  • A creator of high-quality cupcake and cake holders.

  • A healthcare startup founder.A sports and fitness instructor.

  • An automotive consultant for women.

  • A lawncare and landscape expert.

  • A family owned car dealership.

You have control over where you park, so you can position your vehicle in neighborhoods and locations where you're needed.

Branding your car has better results than spending money on a billboard because you not only make the advertising targeted, but you have a higher reach when driving. From now on we will park our car outside of small businesses we are trying to enroll, community centers, country clubs, fitness clubs, etc. so we can raise awareness about our service.

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