Merit Auto Group

Branding Case Study


Reign Capital Holdings, an Oklahoma-based investment company, sought to rebrand its auto group comprised of five domestic dealerships in rural Oklahoma. After a competitive bid process, Reign selected Candor to create a new identity for the auto group and overhaul its marketing efforts.


Candor researched local and national competitors to gain insight into the auto group’s market position. We met with Reign Capital to discuss brand objectives, name options, messaging, positioning and creative preferences.
Candor created a visual identity for Merit Auto Group and a complimentary brand, Merit Gold, representing a premium service offering desired by the client. Graphic symbols, color palettes, typography and a tagline were developed, including visual identity guides for each brand.
Candor worked with the client to develop a full inventory of marketing assets based on the visual identity guides. Over 200 assets were identified, such as:
  • Digital (including websites and social media)
  • Signage
  • Marketing collateral
  • Branded attire
  • Business documents
Candor coordinated the creation, approval and administration of the brand assets, working in tandem with the client. In parallel, Candor developed a marketing strategy, complete with detailed budgets by dealership, where ad spend was redistributed with an optimal mix of traditional and digital marketing.
Because the dealership websites were immersed in dated, proprietary third-party technology, Reign could not readily overhaul them as desired. Candor worked closely with Reign and the site vendor to elevate the new brand on the sites, streamline messaging and improve the user experience.
Once the revamped websites were operational, Candor conducted a soft launch of the Merit brands via outdoor, radio and digital advertising. As new signage and facility improvements were completed, Candor organized and delivered a sequence of grand opening events for the dealerships. Tactics included:
  • Establishing messaging points relative to each dealership across radio, outdoor, direct mail, showroom video display, paid search, digital display, IP targeting, social media and YouTube pre-roll
  • Establishing messaging points for the auto group as a whole, including a broad audience campaign for certified preowned vehicles
  • Creating supporting video, as the new brand had no library of video footage
  • Generating earned media coverage leading up to the events
Candor implemented a set of integrated dashboards for the client to provide them with real-time access to ad performance across all digital channels on mobile and desktop.


When comparing website traffic for one dealership from March 2020 to March 2021:
  • Time on site increased by 258%
  • Conversion rate increased 245%
  • Pages per session increased by 69%
  • Bounce rate fell by 48%
Grand opening events also proved successful, with more than double the expected guests attending the celebration at the Fairview, Oklahoma, dealership.