More than any tagline or logo, a consistent aesthetic is often what builds a brand. Photography is very much a part of that visual aesthetic, particularly as photos increasingly come to represent the products and services offered by brick-and-mortar businesses. For automotive groups, this means that maintaining photo quality and consistency across digital platforms is essential for strengthening brand identity and enhancing sales.
SELLING CARS IN A CHANGING LANDSCAPE
The internet has fundamentally changed how business is done in the auto industry. In the past, leads were primarily generated through print and tv advertising or word of mouth. Converting those leads into sales was largely driven by a salesperson’s skills, and the sustained success of a dealership relied on building long-term relationships with customers. In other words, the process was personal.
Today, car buyers spend most of their time online and only step into a dealership once they’re near the end of their search. This is particularly true of younger buyers, but a growing number of older car shoppers are also turning to the internet to learn about and find vehicles. As such, the most important leads come not from traditional forms of advertising, but dealership websites, social media, and—most importantly—online car listings. While this removes some of the opportunities for a personal sales process, it also means that those car shoppers who do come into the showroom may be more ready to buy—and strategic use of automotive group photography can set the stage for that conversion.
CREATING CONSISTENCY ACROSS PLATFORMS
Consistent, high-quality photography helps automotive groups build their brand and promote brand recognition wherever those photos are used—whether across websites and social media within the group or in digital advertising campaigns on multiple platforms. Additionally, consistent imagery allows automotive groups to seamlessly list all vehicles available at their different locations on every website in the group, increasing the reach and visibility without compromising the look and feel of the sites. Not only does this ensure that vehicles are presented in the best light at every opportunity, it can also help create a distinct and cohesive aesthetic identity that represents the automotive group as a whole.
One of the key areas that can benefit from this consistency is dealer listings on third-party websites. According to a 2018 study by Cox Automotive, over 78 percent of car buyers for both new and used vehicles start their car shopping on a third-party site. As a result, first impressions of both an individual vehicle and an automotive group are deeply shaped by the images found on these sites. By maintaining extensive coverage and consistent photography across makes and models, automotive groups can present car shoppers with comprehensive overviews of each car and facilitate comparisons between cars. Significantly, visual consistency also helps automotive groups to become identifiable; rather than simply being one of thousands of interchangeable listings, groups can carry their brand aesthetic into third-party sites and build a stronger presence.
WHY A STOCK LIBRARY IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR AUTOMOTIVE GROUP PHOTOGRAPHY
The advantages of consistent automotive group photography are compelling. In practice, however, producing such assets can be challenging. Capturing high-quality car photos with consistent lighting and angles requires a sophisticated studio with specialized equipment and an experienced photographer. In the absence of these resources, most automotive groups are left to take their own photos on the lot, resulting in variable lighting, angles, colors, and image quality—leading to inconsistent and unimpressive listings. Worse, it can compromise the image of the dealership group itself, leaving car shoppers with a very different impression than the group wants to project.
The best way to maintain aesthetic continuity is to partner with a stock library that specializes in high-quality automotive images. These firms have the equipment, skills, and industry-specific expertise to produce professional photos that capture each vehicle in true-to-life color and with consistent angles, lighting, and overall quality. By using premium stock photos, automotive groups have the assets necessary to not only market individual cars, but create professional and appealing branding across all internal and external platforms. Additionally, the best libraries will have products that auto groups themselves simply can’t match, such as interactive spins, virtual reality assets, and first-to-market images of just-announced vehicles and model updates. White label solutions and full customization services can ensure that all assets are used to their full potential.
Consistency in automotive group photography matters. The right stock library can help dealership groups adapt to the new landscape of automotive sales, generate better leads, and convert those leads to sales.