Marketing and advertising insights for automotive suppliers

Step One in An Automotive OEM Supplier Rebrand: Serious Soul Searching

Step One in An Automotive OEM Supplier Rebrand: Serious Soul Searching

Brand discovery: Invaluable to every great automotive OEM supplier.

Branding firms/agencies have their own names for it.

(I particularly like the name “Adverthinkingbecause “it’s what most advertising is advermissing.” Poetry.)

Whatever it’s called, it’s invaluable.

“It” is the discovery phase of the rebrand process. In it, a branding firm gets really smart about a client’s business really quickly. They do research, interviews, focus groups, soup-to-lug nuts audit of the client’s brand, all while scrutinizing the competitive landscape.

I love this part of the rebranding process.

Many clients love it, too.

Here’s why:

1. It’s all about the client.

And who doesn’t love talking about themselves?

2. It creates a far greater understanding.

 Understanding of the company, the company culture, the competition, the competitive landscape, the customer, the customer’s challenges, and the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s brand.

3. It’s inclusive.

Plenty of people get involved, plenty of people contribute to the process, so plenty of people can take ownership.


I like to see it done through a series of one-on-one interviews, during which representatives of the branding firm pick the brains of the most important people at the automotive OEM supplier company.

One-on-ones are way better than group discussions, which can get bogged down by one outspoken, overpowering participant. Furthermore, rank-and-filers can easily be swayed by the opinions of higher-ranking executives.

Then, when the interview transcripts (yes, by all means, pay to have the interviews transcribed; it saves time and doesn’t cost a lot) are reviewed, you find out a lot of great stuff.

You’ll find out what people agree on, which is interesting and valuable.

You also find out what people differ on, which I find just as interesting and just as valuable.

4. It builds consensus.

This is so important to the overall branding process. When the time comes to evaluate creative, all of the concepts should be right on strategy, a strategy everyone’s already bought into.

5. It poses good questions and elicits good answers.

Here are the questions I like to use. They’re open-ended, and get progressively more specific. By the end of the process, the brand strategy can be boiled down to a paragraph, with a ton of information supporting and substantiating that paragraph.

Whose perceptions matter the most to you and your brand?
What’s going on in your industry?
What do the key people you want to reach currently think?
What are you, really?
What should the key people you want to reach think?
What will you tell those people?
What’s your company tagline? Your “Just do it”?
What methods will you use to communicate with those key people?
Once you reach them, how will you measure how effective it was?

And in conclusion: the brand discovery leads to ironclad creative.

Brand Positioning

Ernie Perich

As the owner and creative director of Perich Advertising + Design for more than 30 years, Ernie knows a thing or two about automotive marketing. He combines brand strategy with smart creative to help automotive suppliers strike a nerve. Contact

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