The business world should be completely meritocratic – that is to say, it should promote or demote, celebrate or denounce, succeed or fail based on the quality of the product alone. It should be meritocratic. Unfortunately, as well all know, things don’t exactly work that way.
In business, as in life, a large part of getting people to like you are presenting yourself well. You want to put your best foot forward in order to make a positive impression. In this article, we’re going to discuss that very fact, attempting to get to the heart of why image is such a crucial element of business.
Then, as we tend to do in this blog, we’ll argue that your vehicle(s) constitute an important part of that image, that nice vehicles have a direct and visible impact on your business’ wellbeing. Finally, to bring things home, let’s discuss how our nationwide business car leasing is the best way to ensure you maintain a quality business fleet.
The Importance of Image in Business
Your brand image, roughly speaking, is the way your business’ brand is perceived by consumers. Numerous, wide-reaching and sometimes unpredictable variables feed into your brand image. The quality of your product and/or service certainly contributes to it, both for those who have experienced your business’ offerings and those who have heard word-of-mouth opinion.
Advertising is also a big factor in a brand image – it is the business’ way of attempting to control and steer the narrative around the product/service, as well as itself. You might, through advertising, position yourself as a company that gives back, a company with a fun corporate culture, a company that serves the community, or a company with a strong environmental conscience. These are all forms of self-determining brand image.
And, of course, the way your business physically appears to customers or clients is a huge factor. If a customer walks into your dilapidated restaurant, with dim tube lighting and dust everywhere, they’ll probably turn around and go eat elsewhere. If one of your realtors rolls up to a client meeting in a ’97 Chrysler LeBaron, with a busted headlight hanging by its socket, the client might reconsider their choice.
For consumers inundated with choice, an attractive business image signals credibility, professionalism and quality. As this Forbes article points out, business image is of paramount importance because consumers, who don’t have the time to test out every competitor’s product/service, rely on image as an indicator of quality.
You Are What You Drive
There is ample evidence to suggest that the type of car you drive affects other people’s perception of you. People see an expensive car and they think of the driver: ‘that person has their stuff together.’ ‘They must have a nice job.’
Further, than just financial standing, a car can convey other messages. People might see someone driving a fuel-efficient car and think that the driver must be eco-conscious. They might see someone in a big truck and associate that person with strength and handiness. They might see an SUV and assume the driver is a parent.
The same is true of a business and its constituents. Automobiles can broadly convey the success and profitability of a business, but they can also convey finer points of the business’ image. Automobiles are practical tools for transporting goods, equipment and employees – most businesses know that! – but they’re also a key part of the business’ brand image, and an opportunity to make the right impression.
So, it’s understood how automobiles are important to brand image, but how can creative leasing solutions for capital equipment and vehicles help?
How Leasing Helps Your Business Image
Leasing helps your business image in three distinct ways: 1) it allows you to acquire vehicles normally out of your price range, 2) it allows you to upgrade vehicles every couple of years, and 3) the lower monthly payments on a lease free up cash to help improve your image elsewhere.
Let’s dig into the first point. Leasing in inexpensive as compared to buying – not only is there no sizeable down payment upon acquisition, but the monthly payments on a lease are also lower than a standard financed vehicle. You can leverage that lower price in a couple of different ways.
Say the vehicle you would have purchased was $1,000/month: you can lease that same vehicle for around $700/month, thereby saving 30% of the money for your business, or you can stick with your 1,000/month budget and lease a much nicer vehicle. Both options are great, but the latter option helps you boost your business’ brand image without having to pay more.
To the second point, lease terms last generally around 2-4 years, as opposed to ownership, which can last 8+ years. That means that, with leasing, you are updating your fleet vehicles more frequently, keeping your appearance current and stylish. When one lease term is up, you simply sign a lease on another, newer vehicle.
Finally, to the third point – and this has less to do with the car itself – when you lease a vehicle, you often save money. That is money that you can direct elsewhere in your business, towards advertising, marketing, uniforms, rent… you name it. The fact that you save money on leasing means that you have extra money to dedicate to your brand image in other ways. In this way, leasing is part of a holistic business approach to brand image.
Of course, leasing your fleet vehicles has other perks – tax advantages, cash flow advantage, etc. Read this post from last month on how to choose your perfect business vehicle!
Listen, we know that image isn’t everything. As a dealership dedicated to providing quality vehicles with impeccable service, we know that you have to combine that image with a lot of heart and hard work. But there’s no denying the need for a professional-looking vehicle for your business. If you want to drive a better fleet vehicle, for less money, come chat with us here at AUTO ONE Group about leasing.