[This blog post is adapted from the educational session that our VP of Marketing Heidi Barber presented at NPA’s 2023 Convention alongside Sarah Becherer (VP of Marketing, Ocra) and RJ Juliano (SVP, Chief Information & Marketing Officer, Parkway).]
The parking industry is more competitive than ever, and you should consider the following:
Increased gas prices and alternatives to driving have resulted in an average 5.9% per year decline between 2017 and 2022. However, the global parking management market size is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 12.1% from 2023 to 2030.
Because people are choosing other forms of transportation over driving, they need to park their car somewhere. With so many options, it’s hard to stick out to these customers. If they don’t know who you or your facility are, the likelihood that they will park there is slim.
These significant challenges and opportunities mean parking operators must build a strong identity.
What is a Brand?
Your brand is much more than its aesthetic identity. It communicates your company’s vision and purpose. It is the story that differentiates your parking operation from your competitors. A brand also explains its promise to its customers and how it fulfills it. A strong brand identity should earn the trust of your target audience so they choose your business.
How to Build a Strong Brand
1. Evaluate the Competition
Examine your competitors, including public facilities, commercial building developers and employer-provided parking. Determine their rates and what they offer so you can hone your offerings.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Gather as much information as possible about your target audience to reach new customers and better engage current ones.
- Who is currently parking at your facility?
- What is their income level?
- Do they park during work hours, for special events, or for shopping trips?
Identifying these customers will help you target your marketing initiatives.
3. Elaborate on the “Why”
What does your operation stand for? Honing your “why” is one of the best ways to make it stand out from your competitors. This message should appeal to your target audience as well as current customers. Explain how your parking facility helps solve their problems and makes life easier. Do you have the lowest prices? Does your facility provide 24/7 security? Creating this connection with consumers will help build brand loyalty and trust.
4. Create a Memorable Visual Identity
While a brand identity goes beyond aesthetics, your visual brand is important, too. A strong visual brand identity – including a logo, colors and typography – helps current and future customers recognize your parking operation. Create a style guide for your company so these visual elements stay consistent across all media, marketing materials, and signage. Lastly, ensure your signage is visible. It’s no use developing a catchy logo if no one sees it!
5. Communicate Your Message
Once you’ve established your message and how to communicate it, keep it consistent across all marketing channels and materials. Your marketing efforts should include B2B (marketing to other businesses), B2C (marketing to consumers), the community and your employees for buy-in. But don’t focus on consensus building within your company. Be bold and stand your ground on your beliefs and values.
Where and how you market depends on your marketing budget. Consider sending direct messages to nearby businesses, providing coupons in travel magazines or working with a venue to offer a special rate during events.
An Exceptional Customer Experience Leads to Retention
In today’s fast-moving parking industry, customer expectations are constantly evolving. Creating a solid brand identity enables parking operators to reach their target audience and engage current customers.
Parker Technology’s hallmark is our flexible software platform and attentive customer service representatives. Together, we can provide your parking guests with an exceptional experience, increasing the odds of returning customers.