FAIRFAX, Va.—Virginia Tire & Auto is doing some sprucing up.
The Fairfax-based dealership has rebranded itself with a new look and a website with enhanced customer experience for its 11 locations.
"We wanted to take this opportunity to get really consistent—everything from our online presence to our in-store presence, your in-store experience, and then any sort of marketing materials," said Julie Holmes, vice president. "From the beginning, it was definitely crafted as a full rebrand of the operation."
Virginia Tire said its Centreville, Va., shop is the first location to adopt the new look. Ms. Holmes said the rest of the locations—eight additional Virginia Tire & Autos and two Shell-branded gas stations—will all be up to date with the new look by October or November.
Ms. Holmes said there were a variety of reasons why Virginia Tire decided to do the redesign, but one major reason was that the company wanted to be consistent through all its stores.
"Our old branding was dominated by our suppliers and there was some confusion among our customers," Ms. Holmes said. "It's challenging to grow when you're doing things 11 different ways," she said, "including our marketing."
The rebranding process took about two years, during which the company worked with "a sophisticated agency who helped us go back and identify our brand pillars and not who we want to be—but who we are." Ms. Holmes said the pillars identified represent the cornerstone of Virginia Tire's brand: professional, genuine, attentive and forward thinking.
Ms. Holmes broke down those four pillars when speaking with Tire Business, stating the company already has a professional image but now the brand represents that. Examples include front desk associates' wearing a shirt and tie and promoting Tire Industry Association and/or ASA-certified technicians.
"We are who we say we are" when it comes to being genuine, she said, such as having members of the Virginia Tire staff respond to customers on Facebook.
The company posts pricing as part of the new tire search function, which allows customers to purchase or reserve tires directly through the site.
Ms. Holmes said that the northern Virginia area is a fast-paced environment with people who have busy schedules, and Virginia Tire is "attentive to their needs. "We have very flexible hours. We offer loaner cars...and dedicated shuttle drivers."
She said Virginia Tire has also added a Live Chat to the company's website with dedicated tire experts. "We have two dedicated folks who are able to respond to tire inquiries on the website, on the phone or via Live Chat," Ms. Holes said. "We definitely realize that's how a lot of people like to do business and schedule and have someone they can communicate (with) right away.
"It's just another way to show that we are being attentive to our customers' needs."
She said the rebranding "simplifies our efforts in terms of being forward-thinking" and that the company is "embracing the best technology." Virginia Tire said its new logo features a handshake and the tagline: All Your Car Needs.
Ms. Holmes stated that the tagline is a "double entendre" and wanted customers to know that Virginia Tire "can accommodate, literally, all your car needs—all your auto repairs, your tire needs.... That was very important to the new brand."
She said the company has had "wonderful customer feedback" on the new look at the Centreville location. "It's been amazing how receptive and excited our customers have been about the new look."
Ms. Holmes explained that one customer wrote in a testimonial that "he thought the store environment was so cool that he decided to wait there while having the repair done instead of taking advantage of our loaner cars or shuttle." She said, "If that's not a resounding endorsement, I don't know what else is."