Brand Performance Is Like Auto Maintenance

We just had a great ‘in-shop conversation’ on how brand performance is a lot like something we’re all a little more familiar with and I thought I’d open a word document to capture some of that sizzle in pixels and paragraphs.


We had a prospective client ask for a scope/quote for some motion graphic (digital design) work. We were able to quickly triangulate his needs and build out a solution that would have been a perfect solution. He declined based on his budget and found a much cheaper option elsewhere on the internet. There are so many different DIY options for creative work available. He likely found someone on Fiverr-no harm, it happens.

One of the newer members of our team was a bit crestfallen about losing a bid on a project they wanted to tackle. Aside from the usual, ‘buck-up buttercup’ remarks and chuckles from the team I had to explain it in ‘performance’ terms the newbie would understand. Cars.

Brand Performance is like Auto Maintenance
Brand Performance is like Car Maintenance

Cars, as a metaphor, are a great metaphor within easy reach. I have three automobiles that vary in ‘quality, age, mileage, condition.’ My care and attention regarding each vehicle reveal my esteem of the vehicle, it’s utility, and how long I intend to drive it. The analogy below is my description of Performance Strategy in car mechanics terms.

Toyota Land Cruiser 

My wife drives this big boy all over town and we use it for long road trips. It fits our family of six (rear jump seats) and our massive labrador retriever – Russell. We keep it in top performance condition. I spare no expense on this vehicle (and believe me, there is expense!) because it cannot fail us: we depend on it. When we show up to engage with clients, it is the nicer ride.

Occasional care goes into how it ‘presents to the public.’ I use one of the more expensive and reputable service centers, so I don’t mind paying a premium for fuel/upkeep because I intend to own it in 20 years. My two teenage drivers do not drive the ‘Cruiser’ no matter how often they ask.

Chevrolet Suburban

This is the ‘back-up’ vehicle for our large, busy family. Nobody loves driving this behemoth. My uncle gave it to me after replacing his with a newer model. He is generous and knew we could continue to use it as our family grew. My two teenagers drive this suburban and they haul their friends around in it. I suspect they will drive it until they render it immobile, crash it, or blow the engine.

I do the maintenance on this vehicle, or use a ‘lower tier’ local mechanic. Almost any mechanic will work on the performance of the Chevrolet and it won’t cost me too much in hourly labor. ‘Just keep her moving’ is my usual thought process on this vehicle.

Volvo 240 Wagon  

Affectionately christened ‘Walter Matthau’ because the old gray wagon has more than 300K miles and groans a bit; however, this 30-year-old beast just keeps moving with the performance of a grumpy old man. No air condition or heat, he puts along to the next destination. I love that wagon, but my son needs it to go to work each day.

Brand Performance
Brand Performance is like Car Maintenance

Liam is learning how to take care of ‘Walter.’ He changes the oil and brake pads, and we just replaced the wiper motor two months ago so in order for it to pass inspection. Should I need a ‘professional’ for some big problem, I call a friend who does work as a ‘shade tree mechanic.’ I’m not going to pay a ton of money to upgrade Walter to ‘street racing’ performance condition; that isn’t what I need from the wagon.

And the Point?

Brand managers, owners, company executives are always having to make decisions about where to allocate resources for the performance of their business. Some brands approach us with very little in the way of budget, but they are willing to spend money for what they care deeply about – brand strategy, or a great explainer motion graphic for a website overhaul, maybe a new brand identity system (logo/graphics).

We try and meet clients where they are and understand what they really need. When a brand wants to pay for a ‘shade tree mechanic’ instead of bigger professional services; we understand. You know we get it. Maybe we aren’t the perfect solution for every problem, and some businesses will never think of ‘brand building’ as a worthwhile approach to how they run their company.

We wish everyone the best success. Our correspondence usually ends with ‘hey, we are here when you need us’ – because more often than not, a few months later we get a phone call. ‘Our first option didn’t work out well. Let’s schedule a brand discovery meeting and get moving. We are ready now.’

The real question facing all business owners is – how do I regard the performance of my own business? How critical is the public-facing messaging? Visual identity? Website? Marketing?

Brand Stylescape

Our services don’t make sense for everyone. We know. We don’t want to work with companies that don’t need what we offer. Our favorite clients know why brand development is critical and worth the expense.

Brands that speak well, look the part and know how to address the needs, wants, and concerns of their client base PERFORMANCE. That’s why we do what we do.

If you want to talk about how we can help your brand perform better, then reach out and contact us today!

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