PORTLAND, Ore.Get to the Point.
That's the advertising/promotion message Tire Factory Inc. is rolling out to consumers throughout the group's 14-state business territory to herald the move to the Point S identity, a change the marketing cooperative opted for in May 2015.
While a few of the group's 200-plus members are still not 100-percent behind the change, the conversion process is in full swing. A core group of dealers already has converted 28 stores and the co-op expects 41 more to be flying the Point S flag and blue/green color scheme by mid-summer, with 80 to 100 so aligned before year-end, according to Walter Lybeck, acting CEO, Tire Factory Inc.
Addressing the group's annual membership meeting recently in Portland, Mr. Lybeck said, We've seen overwhelming support for and commitment to the direction we're heading as an organization.
Mr. Lybeck noted that the meeting's Quest for the Best message truly symbolized the journey that our shareholders are making. The Point S brand has provided the means for us to secure better buying power, to grow our relationships with vendors, and to demonstrate our continued support of our shareholders' success and expansion into new markets.
The group is offering members who convert up to $25,000 in funds through year-end to cover new signage, repainting and other rebranding measures. The funding will drop to $12,500 in 2017.
Tire Factory also is offering advice on rebranding/remodeling, including computer-generated mockups and assistance in translating the ideas to reality through local vendors.
In order to assuage those in the group who still feel strongly about the Tire Factory brand, the group offers a co-branding option through 2019, although it's not encouraged.
The advertising/promotion campaign will feature a number of What's the Point? messages, all pointing to what the S stands forservice, selection, safety, satisfaction, according to Devin Barr of MBT Marketing, the agency tasked with developing the What's the Point campaign.
This is your opportunity to make the case to consumers that Point S is the single destination for their auto service needs and tires, Mr. Barr told the assembled Tire Factory and Point S dealers. A further tagline will be: Expert Service Guaranteed.
Overall, Tire Factory/Point S ended 2015 with 205 points of sale, including 10 new members. The group is targeting growth of 50 new stores this year, then to 305 by 2017, Mr. Lybeck said, including dealers in states further east.
Seen from another perspective, Tire Factory/Point S members generated $92 million in revenue last year through the group's purchases, Mr. Lybeck said. That is expected to grow to $100 million this year and $115 million in 2017.
To achieve that growth, he said management is evaluating larger dealershipsgroups with five-plus storesas potential new members.
Among the early converts to Point S is Eric Gill, chairman of the Tire Factory board and owner of 14 Point S stores in Oregon. During the event, he called the concept an invitation to showcase that we're more than tires. We are the go-to for automotive service and repair for our customers.
Other key initiatives disclosed:
c There will be a Point S-branded winter tire available to Point S dealers in Canada, the U.S. and Scandinavia next winter. Produced in Europe by Continental A.G., the Winter Star will be a studdable tire available in 30 SKUs in a range of 13- to 17-inch rim diameters.
c A Point S-branded winter light truck radial is being readied for a mid-2017 launch; Point S Development is still discussing the project with a number of potential manufacturers;
c The group is rolling out Point S University, an online training tool that will offer a variety of training paks in 3- to 5-minute videos covering a wide range of skills;
c The group will be adding a Point S-dedicated websitePointstire.comlater this year, that will run parallel to the existing tirefactory.com site;
c Hankook Tire Co. Inc.'s Laufenn associate brand is replacing the Trazano brand in the Point S portfolio; and
c BKT USA Inc. is a new preferred farm and OTR tire vendor for the Point S group, providing for direct deliveries.
Tire Factory is part of an international group comprising 4,680 points of sale in 30 countries, including more than 150 in Canada.