We recently chatted to Francesca Berta, CMO of tech startup, CarZar, which aims to streamline the often onerous task of buying or selling a second-hand car. Berta believes brand management is all about differentiation and building brand reputation.
Tell us a bit about the CarZar brand
CarZar is an online car buying company that purchases vehicles from private individuals and re-sells them exclusively to the trade. With the mission to empower consumers to buy and sell cars seamlessly, we are the disruptive tech brand in SA's auto-trade industry.
Funded in April 2016, CarZar was thought to provide a solution to all those challenges that typically occur while selling a second-hand vehicle. We streamline the process in a few quick and easy steps: by entering the vehicle's details on our website, users get an instant online quote; if happy with this quotation, they can book a 30-minute car inspection at their own location or at one of our Car Buying Centres. At the end of the inspection, a final cash offer is made and, if accepted, customers receive an instant payment while we take care of all the paperwork for them.
Every successful brand enters the market with a strong promise: at CarZar we guarantee convenience, transparency, competence and safety throughout the entire selling process. We strongly believe that parting from your car shouldn't be a hassle, and it should instead be a pleasant experience.
The brand is positive, enthusiastic and forward-thinking while staying informative and professional when it comes to any technical and legal aspects related to the evaluation and selling process. CarZar is simply a happy brand and our logo, a smiling car, depicts this.
How has the brand been received in the South African market?
The response has been great and we've been showing clear growth since our launch in April 2016. Our customers have been sharing very positive reviews about their experience with us, which confirms that South African consumers are ready to welcome brands that want to change the way services are rendered, whether it is about renting holiday accommodation (Airbnb), finding a ride (Uber), or selling your car (CarZar).
What does brand management mean to you?
I strongly believe that strong brands stand for a strong promise. For a new emerging startup like us, brand management is all about differentiation and building brand reputation. As a challenger and disruptive player, we need to develop our positioning in the industry a lot differently from our competitors, while making sure that the customer experience we deliver matches our brand promise.
What do you see currently as the main challenges and/or opportunities in your brand sector?
The South African market is one of the most diverse ones, and this can be very challenging especially for a young brand like CarZar. The auto-trade industry is among the most traditional ones and our biggest challenge has definitely been educating SA consumers to familiarise with a new way of selling pre-loved cars.
The biggest opportunity? We've seen our service being very successful with both South African and expat women - they typically don't feel safe to drive to a dealership or meet strangers while selling their car privately. By guaranteeing fair pricing and a secure selling process, CarZar has proven to be the perfect solution - especially for female car owners.
What’s on your wish list for brand objectives for 2017?
Being a young brand, our main goal will be to increase awareness and attract growing direct traffic to our website, as well as establishing CarZar as an authority in South Africa's auto-trade industry.
What are your own personal favourite brands?
I'm a very big fan of Apple, because of the way in which it introduced the concept of simplicity to an industry where complexity had always been the norm. This is simply exemplary for any modern marketer. The Apple brand stays true to what it stands for - matching one’s brand promise with what is delivered in the customer experience, is what makes a brand successful.
What do you love most about working for the CarZar brand?
Working for a startup requires flexibility and speed. These key factors ensure a consistent learning process - allowing one to be able to rapidly implement, change, or even revolutionise plans. In addition, we are disrupting an industry, and there's nothing more challenging than establishing a competitive brand in a fast-growing market such as South Africa.
Finally, we are an international team and this is definitely my best source of daily inspiration!
Ilse is a group editor at Bizcommunity.com, the first-choice B2B news site in Africa. She is the former editor of Marketing & Media Africa at Bizcommunity.com and is also a contributing lifestyle and travel writer. In her spare time, she also does some freelance writing & editing (when she's not surfing, hiking, or travelling). Email or find her on Twitter.
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