With rising fuel prices and people tightening their purse strings, it’s difficult to encourage consumers to spend their hard-earned dollars on less-than-necessary car maintenance.
In fact, most consumers scoff at the idea of spending anything they don’t absolutely have to on their cars. And that is exactly the attitude that the Car Care Council (CCC) and the Be Car Care Aware (BCCA) campaign has set out to change.
BCCA is a national, industry-wide campaign created to educate consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle repairs and maintenance. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) launched the campaign last year at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in order to help the aftermarket, improve its image and gain a share of the estimated $60 billion in unperformed vehicle maintenance. BCCA focuses on vehicle safety, dependability and pride of ownership for both DIYers and DIFMers.
Not only does the campaign benefit the aftermarket, society benefits environmentally with cleaner air, energy conservation and improved safety.
And how can parts stores benefit? Well, as a parts store, you can get a piece of that $60 billion pie by encouraging your professional installers to participate in the BCCA campaign. Since professional installers often have more direct contact with consumers, it’s up to you to help your installer customers help their customers.
"Counterpeople need to support their service providers," said Susan Jones spokesperson for the CCC. "Give them ideas, and be creative in how you help them, because it will help you in the long run. The money that is spent by the consumers at the repair shops will come back ultimately to your pockets."
The CCC has lots of information and ideas that can be given to both consumers and to professional installers. For your installers, there are brochures, newsletters, on-hold messages, radio scripts and more. And the best part is that all of these resources and marketing tools have already been created, and they’re right at your fingertips.
"We have an online starter kit that has just gone live (online) recently," said Rich White, vice president of marketing and communications for AAIA. "We had a lot of requests from companies looking for where they could get signs and posters. So we decided that we needed to get some core materials. The kit contains merchandising and marketing materials and ready-made items that a shop can put in their place of business. It’s to get them started. There’s ordering information as well. They can download the order form right online."
"Use the website as a resource for marketing," said Jones. "It contains lots of materials that you can use to help educate the driving public. These things are already done. There are so many great ideas. The counterperson can do a lot to help lead their customer in the right direction."
ON THE WEB
The campaign has put an incredible amount of information on the web at www.carcare.org for consumers, jobbers, service providers and other interested individuals. Here are some of the resources consumers can utilize on the site:
This site is really multifunctional. It not only provides educational materials for the consumer, it provides marketing resources for the installers and jobber stores as well. There are resources for all levels of the automotive aftermarket. Even something as simple as using the Be Car Care Aware logo can contribute to the overall success of the campaign.
"There are all sorts of levels of participation that are involved," said White. "I think there’s probably very few out there who haven’t heard about it.
"The campaign is unprecedented," White continued. "Within a year, this thing has grown so tremendously, and the industry has rallied around this, especially since this month is National Car Care Month."
CAR CARE MONTH
One of the best ways, and best times, to jump on the BCCA bandwagon is this month, during the actual National Car Care Month (NCCM). The website has extensive resources to help plan NCCM events and to help jobbers, program groups and WDs advertise and promote the campaign. Some of the ideas include:
- Signage banners and signs that will alert motorists of NCCM; downloadable versions are available.
- Telephone On-Hold Messages to help educate your customers about why NCCM is so important to the industry and how they can participate; scripts are available.
- Incentives special product discounts, coupons, co-op money for customers who sponsor an event.
- Competitions contests may help motivate customers to hold a vehicle check lane or other event.
- Web Banners downloadable banners are available for your company’s website.
- Publishing Information logos and articles are available for use on your company’s newsletters, emails, website, etc.
- Cause-Related Marketing partnering with a good cause can help you market your product or service along with a charity or other organization.
- Brochures there are two brochures, the NCCM logo and the BCCA logo, that are downloadable and can be reproduced in color or black and white.
"The website has been phenomenal," said Jones. "People just love being able to get online and plan these events. It’s so cost effective. It frees up time, energy and money."
And recently available online is the order form for the BCCA starter kit. The kit includes the following items that are ready to order:
- Service Schedule Poster
- National Car Care Month Poster
- Service Schedule Countermat
- 120,000-Mile Asset Handouts
- "Around the Car" Handouts
- Acrylic Handout Holder
- Service Schedule Mirror Hangers
- "Be Car Care Aware" Banner
- National Car Care Month Banner
- "Be Car Care Aware" Delivery Vehicle Door Decals
- "Be Car Care Aware" Delivery Vehicle Hood/Tailgate Decal
- Kit Order Form
- National Car Care Month Inspection Form
"We have developed pieces in the starter kit for people who maybe don’t have the resources or the time to produce or customize their own," said White. "There are many companies that are producing their own pieces and incorporating their existing marketing and promotional strategies and advertising with the Be Car Care Aware campaign. So, participation is all across the board."
According to White, both the industry associations and consumer associations have been very supportive of the BCCA campaign and NCCM.
"We’ve been doing guest editorials in several associations’ publications and newsletters, such as ASE’s newsletter, ASA’s (Automotive Service Association) member publication and MEMA’s (Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association) publication," said White. "We’re continuing to develop strategic relationships with other associations as well. We’ve even had meeting with AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons), AAA and MAAD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). [With the consumer associations,] it’s another way to reach the public and get their support. We’ve had a lot of success, but we’ve got a lot of other organizations to talk to and bring in.
"This is a very credible campaign to help the consumer," White continued. "We need all of the support we can get. It’s not just the program groups and the manufacturers and putting up signs. This thing has got tentacles, and that’s what’s going to make it work for the long haul. We’re also going to be approaching the dealerships. That may sound strange, but this campaign is about safety, dependability and pride of ownership. It’s about driving more traffic to repair facilities and parts stores. It’s DIY and DIFM. Dealers are going to benefit as well. Some are already involved in National Car Care Month."
BCCA GETS NATIONAL EXPOSURE ON THE ‘TODAY SHOW’
BCCA recently got some great exposure when Kathleen Schmatz did a segment on NBC’s the ‘Today Show’ on Tuesday, March 18. Schmatz is the executive vice president of AAIA and represents the CCC and the BCCA campaign. The segment gave her the opportunity to offer the motoring public some advice on vehicle maintenance and how it can keep you safe and save you money. Her tips included:
- Checking tires routinely to ensure that they are properly inflated.
- Regularly changing air filters and spark plugs.
- Ensuring that the car’s gas cap is in place.
- Practicing non-aggressive driving habits.
- Avoid driving over the speed limit.
- Removing heavy and unnecessary items from the vehicle’s trunk and roof rack.
"That certainly demonstrated the effectiveness of this campaign and the credibility of the campaign and the council," said White. "I think that went a long way in drawing yet more attention to the campaign for the industry as well as consumers. I guess it helped legitimize the campaign."