Better Communicating Who We Are

Posted by Kathleen Schmatz on April 30, 2014

With this special issue of Auto Care Insider magazine we debut the new Auto Care Association.

A little over a year ago we began working with a top Washington, D.C. public relations/advertising agency – GMMB – to rebrand our association and to redefine the industry we represent. Today we are the Auto Care Association and we represent the $318 billion auto care industry.

We spent months of research which ultimately validated our contention that the term aftermarket had to be replaced when communicating with stakeholders and audiences outside of the “family” – the industry. Why?

Because people outside of our industry do not understand what the automotive aftermarket is and what it does and consequently do not appreciate the role and value and significance of this great industry nor appreciate the huge contributions we make to the economy, to the environment, to vehicle and highway safety, to jobs and overall guaranteeing the freedom of mobility to motorists.

Many interviews, meetings and focus groups with industry leaders, educators, consumers and others reinforced that the term aftermarket is unclear, confusing and often negative thanks to other industry aftermarkets that have reputations for producing and selling secondary and inferior products and services.

You’ve all been there. You’ve found yourselves struggling to explain what the aftermarket is at social events, with neighbors, the person seated next to you on the plane or even family members. At the association the obstacle presented by the term aftermarket has been painfully clear every time our government affairs staff has to devote valuable time at the beginning of every meeting with a legislator or regulator explaining what the aftermarket is and what our association is.

Well, those days are over folks.

We don’t expect the term aftermarket to go away inside our industry. Our goal is to use the term auto care industry when communicating with external audiences. We hope that others in the industry will use the new auto care industry term and adopt the new language we have developed to clearly and accurately describe and define our industry.

And I implore you to please resist referring to your association as ACA. This acronym is used by many associations and programs, but not us.  We are the Auto Care Association proudly representing the auto care industry.