Don’t like car dealers? Great, neither do I.

I trust that, by now, you have seen some of our advertising campaign that we launched early this year. I wanted to cut through the clutter of automobile dealer ads and communicate why the Herb Chambers Companies are different. We did this in television, radio, print and billboard advertising. By far, the advertising medium that has created the most stir and comment has been our billboards.

Our billboards are designed to create a simple, thought-provoking and sometimes humorous message of how we are different from other car dealers. We are amazed by the response. Every day we get comments about them from our clients. There has even been significant discussion on social media. The great news is the vast majority of the comments are very positive. Of course, there are those who don’t like what we have to say. I have heard from a number of competitive car dealers who don’t like them at all. (How great is that?)

I do get concerned when the public is put off with our advertising, like when we posted these boards:

Obviously, it was a joke and we even say that when we ran the same ad in print. Most people took it for exactly how it was intended. However, there were those who took exception to it, even though we specifically said we were kidding in the print ad copy detail. We were even accused of, “inciting riots at ball games”. They say your advertising is working when you get any reaction to it, be it positive or negative. However, every client is important to us so I do get concerned when we get a negative response.

You may be surprised to know that our advertising is aimed at two target groups. The obvious one is the public but we are also are trying to reach our over two-thousand team members. I want the ads to serve as a constant reminder to our people of how I expect our clients to be treated. These simple messages represent our values and what we focus on day in and day out.

Horst Schulze, former long-term President of The Ritz Carlton company, along with all of his managers had a mission every day: remind every employee that, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” That simple daily articulation of purpose made a huge difference in his hotels. We’re trying to do the same thing. Take this ad for example:

Why shouldn’t it be fun? I’ve had clients tell me they would rather have a root canal than to go out and buy a car. It shouldn’t be that way. We constantly remind our people that when a client comes into any of our fifty-four dealerships, they are a guest in one of our homes and should be treated as such.

Frankly, it is easier in our Company, to live up to these commitments. Over the last twenty-nine years, we have worked to instill a culture where our people put themselves in our client’s “shoes”. We prefer to hire people who have not been in the automobile industry. This helps assure that they don’t bring with them the poor practices used by many car dealers.

We also continuously train our people on what has come to be known as, “The Herb Chambers Way”. We offer them better benefits, compensation and growth opportunities than any other dealer I know. They have rewarded us by naming us to “The Top 100 Places to Work” each of the last five years by the Boston Globe. We want our great people to stay with us because it’s better for them, better for our clients, and better for our Company.

Therefore, our advertising messages come very naturally. It is the “stuff” we talk about every day.

I want to thank you for allowing our “straight shooters” to serve you and I hope that our advertising conveys to you what we are trying to do. I also want it to remind our people, in every moment of truth with a client, what is expected of them. That moment of truth is to become a moment of triumph.

Herb