Driving first impressions

By Dan Monheit, originally shared by Carsales.com.au 04.02.21

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

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This is true. Unless you happen to be living through a once-in-a-century global pandemic that forces the entire world to cocoon for the better part of a year. At this point, most people will have forgotten what their friends, neighbours and colleagues look like in three dimensions, presenting us all with a rare opportunity to take a second crack at the all-important first impression. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 2021!

Now when it comes to first impressions, cars play a critical role in telling the world exactly who we are.

‘Why?’ I hear you ask.

Cue the Halo Effect, our tendency to take a single positive characteristic of a person, product or brand and extend that to our impression of their entire being. We see this weaved into our lives constantly. For example, when meeting a new person who’s joining our team at work, we may conclude that them being well dressed also means they’re likely to be good at their job. While we know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, inherently, that is exactly what we do.

This has always been one of the underlying reasons why we feel our cars say so much about who we are. What we drive as we pull up to an important meeting, a first date or a high-school reunion is an immediate indicator to others of our lifestyles, our priorities and our status.

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It comes as no shock then that car brands with clear personality indicators are in high demand. From the rise in demand for electric cars that let others know we care for the environment (up 16.2% in 2020 excluding Tesla) to the huge lift in interest for Toyota Landcruisers that show everyone just how rugged and adventurous we really are (Australia’s second most searched used car) — our cars say a lot about us.

For dealers, the Halo Effect can present a golden opportunity.

Here are three key ways to maximise this effect:

1) Listen out for customers who are looking to show the world how much they’ve changed and help them find the perfect vehicle to let their halos shine.

2) Ensure that your photography on carsales encapsulates the inherent personality of the vehicle. Social media such as Instagram can provide clues and inspiration on how existing owners use their vehicles to express their halos.

3) Check that your comments on carsales go beyond the basics to convey extra detail and styling. Help the audience visualise exactly what that new car will say about them.

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