People love to personalize. We accessorize with things we love, and in the case of a presidential election, sometimes, even with things we hate. Where else, apart from politics, can you find people customizing t-shirts, stickers, greeting cards, and more, just to promote their opposition to an individual or party? It's fascinating. Everywhere you turn, consumers are personalizing. Enter a Google search for, "Donald Trump accessories," and you'll return over 1,000,000 results. Try searching for "Hillary Clinton accessories"--over 2,000,000.Personalization is an expression of who we are, what we believe, and what brings us joy. We personalize our bodies with tattoos, our own unique hairstyles, clothing, and jewelry to express ourselves. Did you know people tattoo presidents' faces on their bodies? All day long, my friend. We personalize our homes with decor and landscaping. We personalize an office with knickknacks, pictures, stationery and autographed memorabilia. Why would our cars, the second-most-valuable purchase in most Americans' lives, be any different?
So, what can an automotive dealer learn from the 2016 presidential election?
1. People personalize where they're passionate.
Generally speaking, people don't wear political party t-shirts on a whim. More often, there's passion and belief behind their reason for sporting this attire. As you’re working with the customer to get him in a car he will truly love, make sure you're listening to, and getting to know him. Present accessories so that the customer truly understands his options and why they benefit him. Make your presentation something to believe in.
2. Consumers like personalization that brings them happiness.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Peruse the internet for 5 minutes and you can find Trump-scented candles (actual item, guys), wigs, knee socks, Hillary Clinton-laughing novelty pens, and much, much more. Whether in support or in mockery, people are buying this stuff because they think it's fun. Just look at the success Jeep has had with its smiley-face spare tire covers. Try creating a custom package that’s useful and that also generates a smile.
3. Trends ebb and flow.
It's not always election time, but generally there's something around the corner. Online merchants are selling air fresheners with the President's face on them to hang in your car, and we say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. With the Super Bowl coming up, you may consider adding custom NFL window decals to your already fully loaded OEM package. The train of thought here is to be the one-stop shop for your customers' personalization needs. As we learn from the onslaught of Trump and Clinton accessories in the past several months, the popular thing will change with the times, and you'll have to evolve.
If there’s a latest craze (and there’s always a latest craze), use your resources to make sure your dealership is a part of it. Make personalization great again.