Going From Selling Discount Auto Parts to Earning a Service Customer for Life is a Team Effort


Collaborating to Rebrand a Well-Known Auto Parts Company

When VIP Tires & Service came to Ethos with a vision for transforming its brand reputation from an auto parts provider to a trusted auto service provider, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. After all, VIP had long been known as VIP Discount Auto, a company lauded for providing inexpensive, do it yourself (DIY) parts, and tires for automotive needs. Under previous ownership,the service side of the business had always been an afterthought and needed direct attention. With new management, VIP Tires & Service committed ten-fold to moving the company forward and rebuilding their service reputation. Ethos saw what VIP wanted to communicate, recognized how committed they were to achieving that vision, and knew we were the right partner to help them make it happen.

Let’s Walk Before We Drive. 

Going into this process, VIP knew that many past customers had a specific, sometimes negative, view of the service operation–they also knew that direct action would speak louder than words. To allow the company to focus on earning a customer for life, prior to their work with Ethos, they’d started this evolution with the bold move of divesting the DIY parts business to instead focus solely on the “Do It For Me” service and tires business. Without the burden of carrying an enormous and ever-changing parts inventory, VIP was able to focus important financial and personnel resources on hiring and training the most competent and skilled auto technicians and in-store staff around. To boot, the company upped their training, pay, and commitment to transparent customer engagement processes.

Knowing the nitty gritty of VIP’s efforts allowed Ethos to come up with a complimentary and comprehensive communication platform and supporting campaign that helped share their voice with the masses.

Taking An Inside-Out Approach to Rebranding–Earn a Customer for Life!

From the get-go, Ethos knew this was going to take more than a run of the mill ad campaign–it was about mirroring VIP’s inside-out approach and making the commitment to VIP’s customers known. 

The charge? Earn an automotive customer for life. 

To support the recruitment and training efforts VIP had underway, Ethos helped the company reimagine their brand promise, brand platform, and messages to reflect this new truth. The VIP promise needed to be so much more than a low price–the new brand had to communicate that they’d be there when you need them to get the job done right and treat the customer with the respect they deserve every step of the way.

Ethos developed a new brand book and employee training materials so that everyone who joined VIP’s team understood and lived the brand they were responsible for representing. In tandem, the company launched an industry-lauded “Five for Five” engagement program that immediately focused on  VIP’s transparency. VIP store personnel greeted customers as soon as they walked in the door, showed them everything that needed to be done to the car, and, at the end of the visit, the technician explained what had been done to the customer’s vehicle. The process built trust and a shared relationship with the customer and their automobile.

With a new team, customer focused process, and aligning messages, the company was ready to start impressing customers one auto and one job at a time.  

Will You Share Your VIP Experience Online?

Let’s face it. Customer talk and satisfied customers are the best form of advertising in a service business. To truly reposition the brand, we knew it would be important to leverage positive word of mouth. Our collective efforts focused on an improved customer journey that encouraged satisfied customers to help spread the word on Google, social media, and other online platforms. In a matter of months–and after a lot of work–ratings across all VIP markets started to climb, one star at time, and old comments of a tired DIY model faded. Today, in a grudge industry where many consumers prefer to air bad experiences online, most stores average 4.5 stars, competing across all VIP stores to ensure their ratings remain high. 

Bringing the Rebrand to Life: Turn to VIP

After ratings started to climb, we popped open the hood and got to work on the campaign’s identity, social media storytelling strategy, and how to revamp the in-store experience to help support this reimagined brand promise. We ditched the outdated, male DIY auto look from days gone by and replaced it with a new, fresh identity focused less on VIP and more on its customers and the lives they lead. The new “Turn to VIP” campaign was optimistic, authentic, and caring. It built trust through highlighting technical precision, professionalism, and warmth of the entire VIP staff. Important details like the clean, pressed, blue shirts with ASE Certification patches confidently worn on the sleeves were featured throughout. The campaign included:

  1. Turn to VIP advertisements profiling service professionalism and tire replacement
  2. A revamped website and online scheduling option for both tires and service
  3. New lifestyle in-store signage that communicates “Your car…your life. We get it.”
  4. An expanded social media effort outlining VIP’s commitment to community and the neighborhood

Proud To Be Your Neighborhood VIP 

Today, VIP and Ethos are proud of the fact that when you walk into any neighborhood VIP store, you’ll be greeted with a whole new in-store experience that instantly leaves you with a sense of pride that your car’s service is coming from a trusted neighborhood technician committed to transparency. The company opened up the space, removed walls, and created windows allowing the customer to monitor their vehicle and watch the good work being done in real-time.  At the new VIP, there are no surprises–just high quality technicians, getting the job done right to get you back on the road safely and quickly.   

Looking back on this giant undertaking, the entire rebrand was so much more than creating a new ad campaign, updating a few materials, and launching an updated look and feel. It was about supporting bold leaders making real and necessary changes to their company. It was about communicating VIP’s purpose and desire is to be the place where local New Englanders turn to for a trusted auto care experience.

Have you thought about undertaking a rebranding project for your company? Make sure you look inside as well as outside.  The truth matters… and customers pay attention.  Remember, you’re not alone in this process – and Ethos has your back. The magic is aligning your truth to the right message. Get in touch to learn why we’re different and how we’ll work collaboratively with you to bring your vision and mission to life.

About Ethos

Ethos is a multiplatform branding agency that develops and executes integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels for companies inside and outside of Maine. At Ethos, we believe that the most effective way to set a company’s marketing course is by finding its core truth – its ethos. We know that once we discover and communicate that core truth, we can truly make a difference for each client’s unique marketing and business objectives. With Ethos, you get more than a marketing agency. You get a long-term partner whose goals are your goals. Learn more about the Ethos approach and the work we’ve done for our clients. Want to have a conversation about your brand’s core truth? Contact us!

Written By

The ETHOS Team