If you drive a car, Advance Auto Parts is almost certainly abrand you’re familiar with. The brand goes all the way back to 1932, and areknown for their speedy service and mostly friendly mechanics. They also happento be the largest retailer of replacement auto parts in America, so like Isaid, it’s likely we’ve all dealt with them at least once in our lives.
Theproblem is…when I’m not dealing with them, I don’t see them. Ialmost never see billboards, Facebook ads, or any form of advertising fromthem. It’s possible that I’m just not their target audience so that’s why I seeless of them – but when I do need some help with my automobile they’re notfresh in my mind so I don’t necessarily think to go to them right away. So, Idecided to do some digging. Did they actually have a bomb advertising strategyand I was just missing out on it? Turns out that while there are definitelysome things they’re doing right, there are also plenty of areas forimprovement.
While already a great brand, Advanced Auto could only stand togrow and gain a larger audience. Firstly, by showing love to other high profilebrands on social media. For example: It’s pretty likely that Armorall Wipes,which is a high margin brand, sell well in their stores and impact their bottomline. They should totally be liking, sharing, and commenting on Armorall’ssocial media posts! They should also be doing the same things on posts frompeople who share about using or wanting to use Armorall. When users of theirproducts begin to notice that there is some sort of connection between AdvancedAuto and Armorall, they’ll likely begin to feel some brand loyalty towardsAdvanced Auto.
Here’s an example of Armorall sharing a post from a DIY bloggerwith a high following. Kudos to them for remembering to tag the originalposter!
However, “liking” other people’s content alone obviously won’tgarner enough attention. In the same way that Coca-Cola uses #ShareACoke andCharmin uses #TweetFromTheSeat, Advance Auto should take note and get creativewith their own brand hashtag. What about using something kitschy like #TrailFailsas a funny way to share other people’s daily content? Brands that are serious aboutnot taking themselves seriously are our kind of people! Thiswill keep them at the top of their audience’s mind in a way that matters andhelps their voice come through. Here’s an example of where they did somethingsimilar, but they do this so rarely (and without a consistent #hashtag), thatit really doesn’t get the reach it deserves. Plus, I personally think that witha hashtag like #TrailFails, the potential for ensuing hilarity is high.
The post below didn’t get the reach it deserves. If they sharedmore often and with a consistent hashtag, they’d get more interaction. Theyneed to remember to tag the user who originally posted the image to create evenmore engagement (and give credit where it’s due)!
ENGAGING WITH THE AUDIENCE
Speaking of tagging people – Advanced Auto recently did acampaign involving Richard Rawlings! That’s a huge deal! People in the autoworld know him as the owner of the Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas and TV star onthe show Fast N Loud. The fact that Advanced Auto recruited him to do a smallseries on their social networks shows huge initiative on their part.Unfortunately, the campaign still wasn’t hugely successful due to lack ofhashtags, tagging, and not getting fans to share the video clips. Landingadvice from a celebrity in the auto industry should have warranted way morehype. Take a look at this screenshot of one of the video clips below. It gotless than 400 views, and only 1 comment. ONE?! That’s at least how many I getevery time my mom comments on my posts. Surelyyou can do better than me, Advanced Auto.
I would suggest taking some of the marketing budget they spendin other places (like print), and using it to specifically create, post, andboost unique, brand-centric, story driven content. Do this, invite mediainfluencers into the conversation, and then watch engagement blow up!
For Advanced Auto specifically, it’s all about Instagram andFacebook. This is where the bulk of their engagement happens, and they need toseize the momentum! Take a look at the comment below on one of their Instagramposts. This doesn’t seem to be from a troll – it looks like genuine feedback.This would have been the PERFECT opportunity for Advance Auto to jump in andcreate interactivity. Heck, they could’ve even just asked the commenter whatkind of content he WAS looking for, if not advice from Richard. The company ismissing opportunities to connect with their audience left and right. Even ifthey thought that their content was “on point,” they still should have weighedin. All I know is that everyone in my life sure seems to love giving his or heropinion! Why can’t my family be more like Advance Auto? But in all seriousness, brandsthat can take constructive criticism and use it to grow have unlimitedpotential. As print media loses momentum, Advance Autoshould consider reorganizing their strategy to focus their time, attention, andresources on the online platforms that dominate their space.
Despite all of this feedback, it’s definitely obvious thatAdvance Auto is putting forth effort in trying to find their “voice.” Theyalready post pretty consistently on Facebook and Instagram, and with just a fewtweaks to their approach, their branding could really take off!
Do you agree? Have anything to add? We want to hear yourthoughts below!