How can tire retails stay relevant in these ever-changing times, while competing with innovators in the digital space and beyond?
Since opening its doors more than 60 years ago, Fountain Tire has prided itself on its personable one-to-one service and connection with the community. But in a changing market where discount and online retailers are gaining market share, and commercial customers face increasingly complex business challenges, the company wanted to ensure that personalization and a collaborative approach remained at the forefront of their business.
“The tire business and the larger concept of service has changed,” said Kristi Dubeau, General Manager, Marketing at Fountain Tire. “The need for service hasn’t changed but how we go about getting it and fulfilling it has. We need to stay on top of this and understand our customers and how their needs change, and we need to change with them.”
So what can tire retailers do in order to identify and leverage their core strengths? Dubeau says that a bit of soul searching is a must. “What surfaced during our brand strategy work was a recurring theme of strong partnerships,” she explains. “That evolved into our new tagline—“We’re on this road together”—which reinforces the powerful relationships at every level of our company, from associates to store owners, suppliers and, of course, our customers.”
For Fountain Tire, partnerships are engrained in every level of the company’s operations. Their unique manager model exemplifies the concept, and the majority of Fountain Tire managers own equity in their stores, allowing each manager to make decisions based on what is right for their customers in their communities.
Fountain Tire’s brand refresh outwardly expresses a partnership philosophy that has been in place for decades, from associates through to commercial and retail customers, with a renewed commitment to communication, collaboration and a shared sense of accountability.
The company is also investing in third-party advice in order to help them reach their desired destination. “We booked a new advertising agency in 2017,” Dubeau explains, “and with their excellent guidance, we were able to retool our strategy and understand what the changes were. From that came our new campaign.”
Sometimes, it’s that professional third-party opinion that can help a company redefine their strengths. “We were able to pivot and do something fresh,” Dubeau says. “It’s really what we have been doing for the last 52 years, and now we have been able to put some words around it.”
The final step is a buy-in from everyone in your organization. “When we presented our new brand promise to our staff,” Dubeau says, “everyone in the room nodded and said, ‘Yes. That is us!’”
With a new brand message, and a focus on core strengths, Fountain Tire is ready to take on the competition. “This marks a new chapter in our business with a re-energized focus on the customer,” Dubeau says. “Through every level of our company and every relationship, our end goal is to take care of our customers’ fleets and personal vehicles like they are our own, and to solve problems with our customers, so they never have to solve them alone.”