The Crossroad of Confidence and Clarity


Our industry is often overrun by buzzwords. One of my favorites a few years ago was branding, a classic because everybody wanted it but nobody knew what it really was.

The newest buzzword I am hearing almost every day is transparency. The definition of transparency is the 21st Century benchmark for “no smoke or mirrors; no games or gimmicks”. At the heart of creating a market where transparency thrives is the internet, for which the buzzword once was “information highway” – which is now unlimited lanes, no speed limit.

One fact well-founded in all shopper surveys is the growing number of hours spent on automotive sites. The amount of knowledge about a vehicle, pricing and all variables such as trade, lease rates and financing is available and utilized by every buyer segment.

The sense of confidence they feel must be respected for the time they have invested. Your processes must enforce their assurance by giving clarity each step of the way – all questions answered, all doubt erased: this is how we do things, this is why. The green light at the crossroad of confidence and clarity is transparency. If shoppers do not sense transparency, you will never see them.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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