Best PracticesDealership Marketing

Media Readiness at the Dealership

Subaru of Wichita has been in the news a lot lately, and each encounter has reinforced the importance of our state of media readiness as a dealership. So, now that we have a moment to breathe, I’d like to reflect on what I’ve learned.

But first, let’s take a step out of the dealership for a moment and talk about the best example of a “Media Ready” organization I can think of–The Kansas Humane Society. My visit to KHS last year made a lasting impression on me. Everyone I encountered at KHS was ready to speak on camera without hesitation, which really made walking around the campus with a camera and tripod fun. Adrian, the gentleman that spoke on camera was very practiced, and only required one take—Practice really does make perfect. The KHS goes on the 10 o’clock news every week to raise awareness about their adoption efforts. Also, they are a wonder to behold on social media, and much of their job is done for them. I mean, really—they get to post pictures of cute dogs, cats, and rodents—and in this case, it actually counts as relevant content. Lucky ducks! Also notice the lovely Sue K—wasn’t she great? She volunteered to be on camera—or rather, she told me the dog wanted to be on camera so she would speak for him. Clearly, the staff at KHS knows that media exposure helps the animals get adopted, so they all pitch in.

Just say yes. During our “Shame On Subaru of Wichita” ordeal, I drove to Oklahoma City—twice—to appear on Fox & Friends and Neil Cavuto’s show on FOXBusiness. Something about the local broadcast equipment being tied up for March Madness was keeping me from just using the local affiliate.

Aaron Wirtz on FOXNews

Of course, I could have said no, but the loss would have been mine. Remember—Media attention gravitates not to the best, brightest, or most talented, but to those who can be relied upon to consistently produce on camera. Grant Cardone describes this principle in great detail in his book The 10X Rule, which is well worth the read.

On a happier note, Kyle Taylor, a Subaru of Wichita service technician, recently appeared on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. The segment was actually filmed earlier this year, and while he could tell us the basic details of what happened, he had to mostly keep quiet about it until it aired.  Kyle was incredible, and got the opportunity to battle three of the show’s most popular alums. Our local media, however, had no knowledge of his performance, and so with his permission, we set out to help brighten his moment in the spotlight by giving a heads up to our contacts in the media.

Photo Courtesy of Travis Heying, the Wichita Eagle
Photo Courtesy of Travis Heying, the Wichita Eagle

I alerted our local newspaper, who agreed to cover the story, and a photographer visited the dealership, wanting to not only take stills but video as well. Kyle didn’t come to work that day expecting to dance in the service bay, but he did, and the video helped to propel his story to the #1 most read article on for the weekend. Ready for the spotlight? You bet.

TNT Amusements provides a nice outside perspective on how video content creation is an integral part of a retail arcade machine business. In this video, Todd Tuckey demonstrates a pinball machine he’s sending to a customer in Australia, and his expertise makes it immediately clear why someone would trust him enough to ship a machine that far. Their videos are far from perfect, but they provide a great example of how a lack of professional video polish can actually add to their charm.

While other arcade game vendors are going out of business, TNT seems to be doing just fine. If arcades have a special place in your memory like they do in mine, you’ll love looking inside the guts of the games that used to unburden your pockets of all those hard-earned quarters.

Media Readiness–Where to begin?

1. Start by identifying where the disconnects that might exist between the digital best practices and what your salespeople perceive throughout their respective days. I’d be surprised to find someone on DealerRefresh that argues the value of video, but on the sales floor, you might be amazed at how much perspectives vary.

2. Develop your list of traditional media contacts who you can trust to help you break a story quickly and accurately. Having their contact information at the ready when something big breaks will save you those crucial minutes when you need them most.

3. Expensive camera equipment is great, but you don’t have to wait until everything on your B&H Wish List has been ordered. Expensive equipment will not redeem uninteresting content.
On the other hand, if social media is the telephone of the future, then the camera is the handset through which you speak. Would your dealership settle for a tin can phone system instead of a telephone? If not, why not invest in a decent camera to help set your content apart?

4. Address the issue of Camera Shyness and its causes directly. I still maintain that camera shyness is largely driven by the fear of humiliation, so be constantly on the lookout for instances of people using cameras to humiliate one another and address that behavior immediately and consistently.

Being in a state of media readiness is an ongoing effort, but the effort is worth it. Whether the spotlight finds you by happy accident or through deliberate manufacture, make the most out of your shining moments by being fully prepared.


Aaron Wirtz is the Media & Marketing Manager for Subaru of Wichita (formerly Suzuki of Wichita) and Super Car Guys, where his innovative social me...