When you count among your clientele the President of United Airlines… or the CEO of Allstate Insurance… or the Chairman of Quaker Oats Company — just to name a few, including the upwardly mobile staffs and families of such industry luminaries, you are constantly aware to aim high in your messaging, never insulting the IQ of anyone walking through your doors, never underestimating the influence —good or bad— of every guest you invite to your place of business.
Paul initially expected his showroom
staff to be attired in shirt and tie.
Predicably he always preferred those
shirts be crisp white shirts. On his
way to eventually exceeding $500-million in annual revenues at five locations, Tamraz' customer-centric tenets delivered their rewards. Safe to say he has since lifted his white-shirt-only mandate. And where do you suppose
he acquired the patience and stamina
to appreciate the long term rewards
of hard work? How about from
literally every member of his family
toiling on the GM assembly lines when he was a kid growing up in Flint, Michigan.
"We're all in the personal service business first,
then the business of providing luxury vehicles."
And so his stores' 600+ eventual employees have been
chronically reminded of the virtues of adhering to
Motor Werks original culture as clearly defined by
owner, Paul Tamraz.
"Each day is our opportunity to make every customer experience at Motor Werks a positive customer experience.”
When I began my extended journey with Paul, he already was planning to expand his humble in-town storefront facility to a
17-acre parcel of prime turf at the edge of town. He proceeded to
engage the services of the firm that built the iconic shopping mecca, Water Tower Place on Chicago's Miracle Mile. Tamraz' dream would become one of the first indoor multi-showroom
automotive sales and service facilities in the country: Six 2,000 s/f showrooms, plenty of visitor parking and acres of on-the-ground vehicle inventory. Motor Werks' immaculate service facilities alone would house 24 bays exceeding 20,000 s/f, employing 77 certified technicians.
Motor Werks backstory: Whether a
price-point local newspaper classified ad or a showcase
display ad in the regional edition of the Wall Street Journal, since the mid 1980's Motor Werks was intent on branding itself as a truly remarkable breath of fresh air in the often thoughtless and crass retail automobile advertising category in suburban Chicagoland.
The simultaneous benefit of an intelligent approach to Motor Werks public messaging was that we were able to bolster employee pride and mitigate employee turnover (a chronic problem in most retail automotive sales departments) as well as attract the attention of new recruits who responded to the respect we showed to our customers and our loyal staff.
Remarkably, all this was ignited long before there was an internet, email or social media to help get the job done.
For several years I helped chronicle Motor Werks' journey with media messaging that went far beyond the price/item approach that most competitors relied on. These were storytelling opportunities that resonated during every stage of the company's exceptional growth.
Today the business is an inventory driven proposition — accelerated with ideal web content (2,000+ vehicles in stock at any given time; nearly 100,000 annual service appointment visits booked online for all five facilities). Courtesies included complimentary service loaners or rides to home, to work or to the train station — and year round free car washes.
No surprise that Motor Werks has remained among the top 100 privately held companies in Chicagoland, with over 10,000 vehicle registrations in the state of Illinois. But there's more…
From day one, that was the principle tenet of a remarkable retailer and to-die-for advertising client, Paul Tamraz — radical thinker, industry visionary and change agent of Motor Werks of Barrington, Illinois. Here was a guy who pioneered entrepreneurial spirit decades before it became today's popular buzzword. He had intractable beliefs. He stuck to those beliefs. He risked his own capital to support those beliefs. He's been handsomely rewarded for that tenacity.
Motor Werks' often editorial-style messaging was no coincidence. In a print medium plagued with look-alike "pub set" ads, Motor Werks advertisements were written and designed to elevate credibility in a retail industry category desperately in need of it, and especially appropriate for buyers of luxury priced vehicles who expected and deserved every ounce of exceptional treatment you could provide. The more you tell, the more you sell. You are the experts customers are seeking…