May Newsletter – The New Dealership Brag Book

The New Dealershuip Brag Book

It would be very difficult to walk through a dealership today and find a hard copy of the dealership’s “brag book” lying around on a table.  Don’t get me wrong, it would be a tremendous feat to see a dealership that still believed in something as tried and true as a “brag book.” But truth be told, very few still do it.

For those who don’t know, “brag books” were the information gathered by dealerships both on their products and dealerships to highlight awards, accolades and good things being done in the community.  They usually were homegrown and homemade booklets that housed information that a sales associate used to help close a customer and build confidence in why to do business with them instead of the other guys.  Out of all the dealerships I work with today, I can count the number that actively use a hard copy “brag book” on one hand.

Social media has been the demise of the old form of a “brag book” and provides a much better platform to “brag” from if you are a dealership.  Better because, in a matter of seconds, your message can be exposed to thousands of people, whereas in the old days, they had to physically be in front of you to see your “brag book” message.  Also better because you can post articles and pictures as well as live content and video.  You are able to build both bragging rights and the imagery behind the message you are trying to convey.

If you want to be perceived as the biggest volume dealership in your town, then your posting strategy should have pictures of all sales and as many service customers as possible.  If you want to be perceived as a great place to work, then you will show pictures of your people being happy and praise their efforts.  If you want to be known as a great member of the community, then you will show the charities and civic organizations you are involved in and the good deeds done by these groups.  If you want to be “all of the above,” then you will have an effort that allows a mixture of these elements and always be “bragging” about something new.

Too many dealerships get in the mindset of setting up a process that automates so they don’t have to pay the time and attention to manage social media on a daily basis.  Building your “brag book” cannot be done that way.  There is no way to auto-post images of vehicles and manufacturer awards that will lead you to the promised land of dominating social media.  It has to be done one brag post at a time.

Your social media voice is your new “brag book.”  You need to use it with the same mindset that you used to make that hard copy “brag book” so many years ago.  You want a tool that differentiates you between your competitor and talks about the reasons why someone should do business with you.


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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