Gamechangers

Congruent Story brings culture-first thinking to auto industry

Paul Daly, the founder and CEO of Congruent Story, a brand advertising agency in Syracuse, NY, says brand-first thinking is the essential differentiator between corporations that win and people who don’t. What does he imply? Hold reading or pay attention to the podcast.

A serial entrepreneur who leads with tradition first, Paul Daly launched Congruent Story 5 years in the past as an inner communications media unit for his auto repair and reconditioning company (Picture Auto). With Congruent Story, or Congruent, Paul needed to maintain his staff—which spread throughout 500 miles—aligned underneath a unified vision as they reached out to and serviced automotive dealerships. His clients, auto dealers, have been so impressed with the branding and content that they requested Congruent to produce advertising technique and materials for them. Soon, Congruent Story turned a enterprise in its personal proper, serving corporations in the auto industry. At this time, Congruent works with local and national corporations across industries to help them construct manufacturers, create compelling content, and foster lifelong buyer relationships.

Lately, Insightly CMO Tony Kavanagh checked in with Paul on Insightly Gamechangers Podcast. They spoke concerning the auto industry, brand-first advertising, how Congruent Story makes use of Insightly CRM, and more. Pay attention to their fascinating conversation on the podcast or continue reading to study extra. Please notice that the interview under has been edited for readability, length, and readability.

Pay attention to the complete podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

What is the state of the auto industry? What are auto industry tendencies?

Tony Kavanagh: So there’s a variety of disruption in the auto industry. Elon Musk just lately talked about Ford going bankrupt once we hit the subsequent recession. The auto industry touches everyone in their on a regular basis lives and has such a huge influence over us. I’d love to get your perspective on where it’s going.

Paul Daly: Look, on the base of automotive, or aviation, or public transportation, mobility is the actual foreign money. Getting from point A to level B, and that’s nothing new. Mobility has been a kind of foreign money and a staple for centuries. The auto industry has been quintessential America for the last hundred years. The car has been our ticket to mobility. It’s turn out to be part of our culture, our lives, and what we depend on.

In this technological age, not solely the mobility scene has begun to change because we’re in a automotive, but in addition due to the supply of that automotive now with Uber and Lyft and autonomous automobiles. It’s simply a variety of enjoyable and there’s lots of hype around these new applied sciences.

Elon Musk has turn out to be such a voice within the industry because he’s disrupting the sales model—how we manufacture and get to the purchasers. I feel when most individuals consider the automotive industry, they consider a automotive supplier as a result of that’s the place we buy automobiles, historically.

[Auto industry] has been a staple of our financial system for years. Prior to the 2008 recession, the saying was, “Whatever’s good for General Motors is good for America.” That modified in 2008 when GM went underneath. Then, we realized that one firm and our financial system weren’t so intently tied together, as a result of we found one other method.

However the auto supplier mannequin is how we have now traded automobiles, and that’s been legislated. It goes again to World Warfare I. When Henry Ford was making automobiles in America, the government and the individuals saw that the extra Ford succeeded, the extra People had these automobiles and [the business] would develop quicker.

So, it was conducive to distribute these automobiles quicker, which meant, constructing a franchise mannequin in order that they might sell by way of franchise dealers. Then, the laws came in place to shield these sellers, so that they might construct a business around selling a sure product. Right here we are, a hundred years later, and we’ve deep legislation to shield auto dealers from direct to shopper gross sales mannequin, which Elon Musk is disrupting. There’s numerous preventing over that.

Another element is the supply of data. In the sense that, the best way I purchase a automotive now has changed. I don’t stroll into dealerships and see what they’ve, and decide one thing that they’ve. I’m going online, do my automotive buying, and I do know every vendor that has every automotive that I like. If I like a 2017 Camry, I can now see the place all of the 2017 Camrys are in my market and their worth. That’s traditionally referred to as an efficient market—where the customer and the vendor have the identical info. We’re there now, and that’s an enormous disruption.

How are automotive dealerships adjusting to new shopper conduct and tendencies?

Tony: You speak about Fordism, which is the inspiration of what we know as production strains at present. In fact, they’ve been improved through the years; robotics and so forth have influenced how automobiles get made, so radical modifications are all the time occurring there from a know-how perspective. But in addition, the dealership mannequin, as you say. Something that’s in a protected surroundings is sure to be disrupted at some stage.

How do you see the dealership mannequin working sooner or later? As a result of, it’s altering, right? The expertise that we anticipate as shoppers can also be altering with the entire transfer to a subscription-based model for purchasing of goods and providers.

Paul: I’ve to begin off by saying I owe quite a bit to the dealership model. Quite a lot of Congruent Story’s shoppers are dealerships. I may also say that that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to what the buyer thinks about it. It’s the buyer who’s going to determine.

My message to sellers which might be hanging their hat on franchise regulation I say, “You know that laws are decided by legislators, and legislators are voted in by people. If people want something enough, they’re gonna get it.”

So, I agree with you—ultimately, these kinds of issues are disrupted and I don’t understand how and when that’s going to occur. It’s already being shaken up quite a bit. However I also, to your other level, consider that the buyer expertise has now risen to the highest of the pile when it comes to what you want to deliver as an auto vendor.

You want to deliver a clear expertise. We’ve got a nasty status within the auto dealership world of being dishonest, all the time making an attempt to get just a little bit extra out of the client. There’s just not numerous belief built there.

Now, I see a variety of progressive sellers, and the savvy ones, and those who are disproportionately going to win, they’re the ones which are empathetically addressing that situation head on. They’re not making an attempt to cover from it. They’re not making an attempt to say, “Well, that’s not us, that’s the dealer down the street.” They’re saying, “Hey, we understand you feel this way. Frankly, this industry has earned it.”

I consider that the sellers who’re paying consideration can and will ship the easiest buyer experience and are able to it as a result of they’re within the communities. Many of those are household businesses who have been staples of the group and have given often extra money, and time, and volunteer work than the subsequent 10 businesses in any group.

I still consider that the local dealership mannequin, the franchise dealership mannequin, has a variety of life in it if they concentrate. There are enough which might be paying attention, but they’re simply going to disproportionately crush the opposite guys. Their acquisitions are going to improve. It’s simply going to be a extra consolidated market. So, I assume that’s my 30 thousand foot on the industry for the subsequent 10 years.

Considering the modifications within the auto industry and shopper expectations, what is Congruent Story targeted on?

Paul: We’re a brand-first artistic company. There’s an enormous drawback with communication—from one individual to one other, or a corporation to a gaggle of individuals. It’s an issue that may never be absolutely solved. I don’t assume it is going to ever be solved by AI.

We will have algorithms and advertising AI bots. We will remedy loads of problems. But I really consider that a number of the issues that they remedy are just techniques. They’re necessary techniques, however I feel under all of that, the empathetic communication from one human to another by one function, speaking another person’s objective—that’s what I take into consideration most.

At Congruent we’re going to proceed to assume brand first, because it’s going to be the crucial facet of differentiator between the companies that win and the companies that don’t: sharpening that brand message after which executing to that. So I feel there’s numerous white area there and I don’t assume that area is ever going away.

What does it mean to be a brand-first company? How do you turn out to be one?

Tony: It’s so fascinating. Here at Insightly, we are so maniacally targeted on making an attempt to ship a tailored or a really private message and experience to clients that we put numerous time and effort in determining our clients’ needs and the way to fulfill them and ship a tailor-made message—that’s what they anticipate and that’s what they should get.

To your level, AI and know-how take away the drudgery, the blocking and tackling, and the basics we’re addressing. But you’ll be able to’t exchange an individual’s or human being’s capability to resonate with another. I feel the extra we will do this on a more personalised basis, the better.

Paul: What you’re saying about empathy, the power to connect and being targeted on that—I’m positive in your corporation, identical to in mine, it’s the same precept. Having a clear message truly helps you recruit and align an incredible staff. As a result of, just like the communication facet of it, it goes both ways. It’s exhausting sufficient to communicate with clients, attempt aligning a group behind it. In case your messaging isn’t sharp and your vision isn’t sharp, it makes that activity twice as onerous.

Tony: We have a tendency to take loads of delight in hiring the best individuals. You’re a culture-first man. We are the identical approach, it is all concerning the individuals and the culture. It speaks volumes. Once we write our brand tips, we speak concerning the culture and who are we.

The model is every thing we do. It’s who we are, it’s how we behave, it’s what we are saying out there. It’s how we deal with our clients, it’s every part.

It’s type of cool to assume that basically the longer term success of any business is to give you the option to treat every customer like they’re your only customer, even if in case you have hundreds of them.

Paul: That can solely ever happen when you have a brand understanding inside your personal walls. You possibly can by no means do this until you do the onerous work of what you’re doing.

Individuals will say, “Hey, your brand is not your logo, your brand is not fonts, your brand is not a sign. It is not a mission statement. Your brand is a feeling. It’s how people feel when they hear your name, when they interact with one of your people, when they log onto the app and they see the Insightly logo. It makes people feel a certain way.”

One in every of my favorite brand definitions is from Shep Gordon: [A brand] is a set of expectations, and reminiscences, and relationships that, whenever you add all of them together, principally, account to a customer’s choice whether or not to do enterprise with you or another person.

So, I really like that Insightly is working on that. You realize, it’s funny, it exhibits in my expertise with Insightly and my interactions, I do know that there’s a spotlight there. I might simply tell that once I’m doing business with an organization that has a degree of unified beliefs. So, it’s cool to hear a few of the backstory.

How does Congruent staff use and profit from Insightly?

Paul: I have a workforce, it’s several individuals who use Insightly at the similar time. I’m extra of a beneficiary of the remainder of my group utilizing it as a result of I don’t personally interface with it that much anymore. However the part meaning probably the most to me, which I exploit typically, is the pipeline function and the best way we will monitor our gross sales pipeline. I make enterprise selections based mostly on that on a regular basis.

For instance, my enterprise director and I’m going via leads and how far alongside they are. We’re in a position to arrange a circulate that works for us and close chances that work for us. We’ve gotten it dialed in rather well now. So it’s a part of my weekly evaluate with my enterprise director.

However when it comes to hiring more individuals, or probably contemplating new area or gear purchases, that pipeline has develop into a software that I exploit to inform those selections on a weekly basis. So, to that word, that’s what means probably the most to me and is the simplest element in my decision-making process at this point in our business.

Tony: It’s nice to have all knowledge round your clients and your potential clients in a single place. There’s hundreds of thousands of knowledge factors that you would be able to take a look at and start to construct an image that’s far more larger definition than anything you’ve ever finished earlier than. So, having all of that knowledge in a single place is essential.

[At Insightly] we really consider that it’s all about buyer info and to find a way to service the client precisely the best way they anticipate at every touchpoint within the buyer cycle. So the extra info you’ll be able to floor to individuals, who’re servicing the client over time, the higher. So the more knowledgeable your salespeople are, your service individuals are, or your delivery individuals are concerning the buyer and their preferences, the better that delivery quality will probably be or the higher that gross sales experience shall be.

Having the ability to floor that in a approach that’s simply consumable is tantamount for us as we transfer ahead as an organization. But in addition, for our clients for his or her success sooner or later. So, it’s really cool stuff that we’re engaged on right here in the background. You’ll see a whole lot of new stuff coming out over the subsequent coming quarters and years.

Paul: Wow, that sounds actually fascinating. I don’t know what you’re cooking, however it sounds prefer it’s gonna be actually fascinating.

Tony: Paul, it’s been an actual pleasure. Thank you for taking the time at the moment. But in addition, thanks for being a fantastic buyer of ours. We’re delighted to aid you in your method.

Paul: It’s been a pleasure being an Insightly customer and to speak to you right now.

Want to study different Insightly clients who’re changing the sport in their industries and making a difference in individuals’s lives? Take a look at Insightly Gamechangers Podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

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