Consider This Your CTA to CCA (Create Consumer Awareness)…

By Erin Reyes, IDA Communications Coordinator

The professional detailing industry has experienced tremendous growth within the last few years and is expected to continue to grow and expand, the result of a number of factors, including increased disposable income, improved technology, and new business models.

One of the greatest contributors to the industry’s growth, though, has been the number of consumers who are beginning to understand what detailing really is. More and more people in the general public are starting to see that professional detailing is more than just a car wash and that there is actually much more to detailing.

Increased consumer awareness is in part thanks to the focused efforts of the International Detailing Association (IDA) and its leadership.

“Consumer awareness is a big part of what we are doing this year,” explained 2019 IDA President Jonathan Munsell. “It’s a part of the mission moving forward. We want to establish [detailers’] credibility.”

With wider understanding of what detailing encompasses, the next step is to build consumer knowledge of what sets professional detailers and Certified Detailers apart from their average “fly-by-night” counterparts.

One of IDA’s biggest initiatives to bring about consumer awareness on a large scale thus far has been the establishment of Love Your Detailer Day in 2018, an idea brought to fruition by the IDA Membership Committee, led by Joe DiFiore, CD-SV. The purpose of the holiday, celebrated annually on February 15, is to spread awareness of the thriving detailing industry by showing off the accomplishments of IDA members and Certified Detailers on social media and beyond. Through the concentrated sharing of awards, certifications, the IDA Code of Ethics, and more, the goal is to bring professional detailing to the attention of a wider audience and raise awareness for the standards, expertise and professionalism of IDA members and Certified Detailers.

While many might think only of the general public as consumers, in reality, one of the biggest potential markets for skilled detailers is auto dealerships. This is why the IDA has recently directed efforts to making inroads with dealerships as well. Typically, dealerships tend to hire employees with minimal experience, who are then rushed through training for basic detailing services.

However, the IDA is working to change this practice through increased communication and education about the level of service that a professional or Certified Detailer can offer. High-volume shops like dealerships are finding that hiring more skilled detailers with advanced training upfront is a better long-term investment for their business.

The IDA has also recently ramped up activity on a global scale, focusing on establishing new international chapters and increasing involvement at tradeshows abroad, to create awareness beyond U.S. borders. With 1,200-plus members now spread across 56 countries (and growing every day), it is evident that there is an interest in creating standards for the industry worldwide.

Not only has the IDA increased its physical presence, but it is also working to grow its digital presence. A revamped website, targeted advertisements, additional social media activity, and new video content have all been built into the IDA’s marketing plan to better reach consumers. These marketing tools are meant to establish a previously unseen level of professionalism and visibility and to show consumers why they should choose an IDA detailer or Certified Detailer for their services.

The IDA website received a total refresh in 2018 to better serve not only members and Certified Detailers, but also consumers who are searching for professional detailing services. President Munsell recently did an interview with member Justin Day, CD- SV, about how he was found through the IDA’s online directory for a lucrative job.

At the end of his meeting with the new client, Justin asked the golden question: “How did you hear about me?” The customer explained that he did a Google search, which led him to the IDA website, and he used the directory to search for professionals in the area. Success stories such as this show that consumers are beginning to understand the importance of using professional detailing services over the hundreds of other available options.

The IDA is also working to highlight more members online through Member Spotlights, videos, and news stories in the hopes that featuring these individuals will help build trust, highlight the efforts of professionals and continue to spread awareness of the industry as a whole.

The IDA, its leaders, and volunteers are working hard to create consumer awareness for members, Certified Detailers, and even detailers who are not yet affiliated with the association. “What the IDA means to you as an independent detailer is that you’ve got a bigger voice than just yourself,” said Renny Doyle, CD-SV, RT. “You’re not going at it alone. Wolf packs are successful because of the numbers. Detailing is no different.”

However, there are some things that individual detailers can do to create consumer awareness on a local level as well. Here are just a few suggestions:

Adhere to the IDA Code of Ethics

The code was written with operator members in mind, but it can broadly apply to any type of IDA member or Certified Detailer. When customers see this displayed in your shop, they will know that you are part of a larger entity and that you are dedicated to a higher level of service, thus instilling a sense of trust and consumer confidence.

Display Your IDA Member Decal and Certificates

Display your IDA-member decal in your shop window or on your mobile unit. Anyone who enters your shop or sees you out on the road will be aware of your dedication to a higher level of standards. Create a “wall of fame” area, where you proudly frame and display your membership, Certified Detailer, Skills Validated, Recognized Trainer, and Recognized Training Center certificates. You worked hard to earn those achievements, now show them off to any and all who enter your shop. If someone doesn’t know what these certificates signify, here is your chance to tell them about the association and the industry of which you are a proud part.

Proudly Don Your Patches and Logo Wear

Don’t forget to add your IDA logo, member and Certified Detailer patches to your work uniform. As former IDA President Bob Phillips, CD-SV, RT explained, “The patch is a symbol of a detailer who has invested their time to elevating the detailing game. When I walk into a shop or call on a customer and I’ve got my Certified Detailer patch on, my Skills Validation, my Recognized Trainer patch, it gathers attention and creates consumer awareness, both from a professional detailer perspective, but also the customers that I’m talking to. They stare at that patch, and they know that I’ve invested time in improving myself in the industry. That certification is about elevating your game and creating an ability to impact the customer so there’s consumer awareness down the road.”

Supplement Your Marketing

With an increased amount of traffic to the IDA website, you want to be sure your profile presents the best reflection of you and your business. Log in to your IDA website profile and make sure it is up to date and contains all your latest achievements. Then, feel free to share your profile link to your own website and social media, and proudly show that you are a dedicated member of the IDA.

Don’t forget to add the IDA logo to your own website and other marketing channels, including social media and your email signature. Repeated exposure to the IDA logo through all forms of communication will continue to imprint into consumers’ minds. You can also regularly post your certificates to social media to remind old followers and announce to new followers your dedication to higher standards of service.

IDA videos can also be used for your benefit. Joe DiFiore, CD-SV, suggested that if your shop’s waiting room has a TV screen, you could play the video on a loop, so that any customers who come in to your shop can learn more about the IDA and what it is doing for the industry. If you don’t have a TV in your shop, having the video available on a laptop will work just as well. You can show customers the video and have a one-on-one conversation with them—most will be interested to hear about the IDA and your role within improving the industry. You can also share these videos on social media or create your own videos sharing why you are a professional detailer and a member of the IDA. Post these on your own channels and tag the IDA to share to its channel, which can help bring awareness to not only your business, but also your dedication to the industry.

Get Involved with Your Community

One of the most interactive ways to generate consumer awareness is to host meet and greets in your community. These events are an opportunity to meet with fellow detailers and potential clients in a relaxed, friendly environment and talk about the IDA and what it is doing for the industry.

Other ideas include volunteering with local organizations, sponsoring a local youth sports team, co-marketing with other local businesses, or joining a local business networking group. This isn’t just about marketing your business. It’s also good for creating consumer awareness with those in your area who will either use your business themselves or can offer referrals. By getting your name and face out there through these different avenues, the next time someone in your area needs detailing services, they will know just who to turn to.

You can also present at local schools’ career days or job fairs. Institutional member Clear View Products recently hosted an informational booth at the Youth Opportunities Fair in Indianapolis.

“We feel it is important to show not only what detailing is, but the business side of it as well,” explained Eric Golubic, CD-SV, of Clear View Products. Through participation at events such as this, detailers are not only creating consumer awareness for adolescents and their parents who may not have known what detailers do, but they are also inspiring the next generation to become a part of the industry themselves.

While there are things that individual detailers can do on their own to increase consumer awareness, it will take continued concerted efforts to bring detailing to a wider audience. One of the purposes of the IDA is to bring the once fractured industry together in a way that creates a unified front and helps all professional detailers—no matter their membership status, country, or business type—to gain legitimacy and recognition.

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