The Gates Auto Family is a network of 11 dealerships in Kentucky and Indiana. It started in 1915, when Bernard Gates bought a Dodge from the Dodge brothers in Detroit, and took back to his hometown in Indiana, where he sold it. By the mid-1940s, he was one of America’s largest Desoto dealers. The family moved into central Kentucky, where they started establishing dealerships with a homebase in Richmond, Kentucky. Now, the organization represent a range of manufacturers. Unification was critical with so many dealerships in order to promote customer loyalty. But each manufacturer has strict brand standards to follow in all marketing. So communicating the family’s relationship while maintaining manufacturer brand equity was the biggest challenge.
We created a flexible system for the Gates Auto Family branding anchored around a wordmark that uses a contemporary typeface with a throwback feel. This system can accommodate any manufacturer branding in a simple and easy way. The wordmark is friendly and trustworthy. It feels personal, and it’s completely unlike anything else in the competitive landscape. Bringing that family feel to the forefront of the Gates Auto Family experience was the most important thing we did. The project culminated in a brand video that is used in broad marketing materials.