Smart Home Trends from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show

If there is one thing we know from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show it’s that the smart home is no longer something from a sci-fi flick; it’s existing in neighborhoods today. Imagine waking up and your lights have already turned on and the coffee has already begun brewing. You wash your face and then check your LinkedIn from your bathroom mirror. These are all concepts explored in Las Vegas this week.

Kwikset Kevo and LG are both showcasing their capabilities to work with Nest at this year’s Consumer Electronics show. Nest is a learning thermostat that studies your preferred temperatures for every time and scenario of your day. It detects when you are home and when you are away, all the while paying attention to your temperature preferences and creating a schedule based on your daily habits.

Nest

Kwikset Kevo is the industry’s first smart lock that allows keyless entry with the touch of a finger. Upon locking the door the user is prompted to set Nest to the away mode where less energy is used. When the user returns and unlocks the door, Kevo will prompt Nest to adjust back to Home mode where temperature is returned to the user’s preferred temperature.

kevo

LG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LG also has big plans to integrate its dryers with Nest. When the user is away, Nest will communicate with the LG dryer that it can lower the heat to save energy.These partnerships with Nest bring the importance of interconnectivity to the forefront of the conversation. In order for a home to truly be smart, its devices have to be in sync. Devices and appliances that communicate make for a home that flows intelligently and efficiently throughout each day.

Wearables are a big topic at CES this year for this exact reason. They provide a channel for us to communicate with our smart homes. For instance, a wearable that senses when you get up for a bathroom trip in the middle of the night and alerts a nightlight to turn on or even a coffee maker that brews when the wearable detects that you are awake.

Whirlpool

The smart home is here to stay and companies are predicting where an interconnected home can take us in the future. Whirlpool imagines a kitchen that syncs devices and kitchen appliances with access to internet, social media and live video chat. The Interactive Kitchen of the Future 2.0 is on display at CES this year that demonstrates what this digital media hub will look like. The interactive backsplash and cook top allow the user to access favorite recipes, websites, or social media without added devices or having to leave the kitchen. This display demonstrates live video chat capabilities- so you can get step by step directions from grandma for her secret pound cake recipe. This kitchen also features an oven that turns on at the perfect time to ensure dinner is ready and a refrigerator that notifies you when your food is freshest. The display allows CES attendees to imagine a kitchen that anticipates the user’s needs and provides solutions on its own. These products and predictions make for an exciting trend in home devices and appliances.

 

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The Barn: Four News Reader Options to Help Get Your Team Organized, Educated in 2015

Here in the barn, we’re always testing out the latest and greatest apps and websites that help put technology to work for our clients and associates.  One subject that comes up this time of year is managing the seemingly endless flow of content we receive through emails, newsletters and websites. According to the popular website Quora.com, more than 94,000 news articles are posted to the web on a given day.   Throw in the free templates, ebooks, white papers and other content vehicles available, the process of categorizing and consuming worthy information is a major challenge. If you’re not on top of this stream, it can quickly become an out of control fire hose.

As you start out the New Year, we’ve listed below a few apps and websites we frequent to help corral the content monster here at Kleber & Associates.  Each offers their own advantages and approach – take a quick spin and see if one is right for you.  While the tried and true RSS feed remains a popular option, we enjoy the slick interface and “magazine” feel these programs offer. Using the same RSS technology, we find them easier to read, share and view on your mobile device.  As a marketing professional, think about using these readers across your entire team and with sales as well – if everyone is eating from the same tree, you’ll be amazed at the alignment.

What are some of your favorite readers? We love hearing from our readers.  Email jpeters@kleberandassociates.com

Happy Reading!

NewsBlur
NewsBlur may look familiar to old Google Reader users – the interface is a near carbon copy to the popular service Google shuttered in July of 2013. NewsBlur can categorize blogs, websites and other feeds with a simple filing system that doubles as your navigation menu. When Google Reader first closed, NewsBlur was inundated with new users and had to cap new users.  Free accounts are capped at a set number of follows but the paid service is more than reasonable for unlimited sites.  www.newsblur.com

Feedly
The demise of Google Reader sent a shockwave across the internet.  In its place, Feedly quickly rose to the top thanks to a simple navigation menu and powerful search function.  We are big fans of the Feedly browser extensions which make sharing and archiving articles a cinch.  www.feedly.com

FlipBoard
In terms of presentation, FlipBoard is our top pick with smooth animations and true magazine look/feel. Much like the other readers, FlipBoard offers a massive cross-section of topics where you can store personal and professional articles in one program. FlipBoard really shines on a tablet device.  www.flipboard.com

Pulse
Pulse is a little unique in that it uses a proprietary content engine to find and elevate news articles based on your given interests. Windows 8 users will find comfort in the program’s tile organization versus a running list – it’s a cool effect that looks amazing on a mobile device.   www.pulse.com

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Marketing Home Products: Febreze’s Road to the Billion Dollar Club

Morning coffee

How did Febreze join the “$1 Billion Club,” noting the company’s recent success according to the Wall Street Journal? While the declension in the housing market brought a lot of home products down with it, certain small aspects of daily home life are, in fact, flourishing. Febreze has managed to prosper during a stark decline in the industry, which has some people in the field scratching their heads. What caused the trend? Some experts suggest that more people are spending more time in their homes as a way to save money; as part of the aftermath of the recession. As a result, it has become increasingly important for families to eat out less, drive less and spend less time shopping. Still, data suggests that people will splurge from time to time, just not in the same ways they used to.

Many families have started to spend their money on accessories for the home, giving reason as to why Febreze defied market trends with its profit gains. It is perfectly reasonable that a family which spends most evenings indoors will want a home to look, feel and (as we’re seeing now) smell nice. The recent movement to all things green may have played a role, as well, as Febreze has been effectively labeled as a green product; simple and clean. Regardless of what the future holds for Febreze, businesses and consumers should take note that new consumer trends are reshaping industries in unexpected ways. In light of that, we have assembled a comprehensive guide for appealing to different consumers. Read more…

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Let the 4 P’s of Integrated Marketing Work for You

In a world of thousands of brand messages, it’s important that every brand message is consistent and relevant.  That’s where integrated marketing communication (IMC) becomes important.  With IMC, all aspects of marketing communications such as Bussiness Discussionadvertising, public relations, direct mail, promotions and social media work together, instead of each working in isolation.  IMC starts with a core brand strategy based on goals and objectives, and goes beyond communication tools to include the coordination of messaging, channels, creative and technology.

When IMC broke onto the scene in the 1980’s, the mantra was “one voice”.  A company relied heavily on advertising to develop its brand, because in advertising the company controlled the content.  Depending upon its budget, the company supplemented its ad messaging with unified messaging in collateral, promotions and trade shows.  Through press releases, case studies, interviews, photography and other elements, the company’s public relations agency provided information to the media for their content.  It was a different time.

While today’s IMC continues to be a customer-centric approach, technology has changed the playing field.  Regardless of their consumer or B2B-focus, companies are increasingly developing their own content and using social media, contests, user-generated content, video clips and other Web-based applications to engage with consumers.  While technological advances enable companies to create and communicate their own brand content more quickly, effectively and at a reduced financial risk, there is still the matter of orchestrating the various messaging with a tonality to which customers respond.  Tweets need to conform in ‘voice’ with other social media, collateral, press releases, ads and sales promotions as well as the Website and other digital media.  It’s an orchestra of messaging with everyone playing on key, and in time. Read more…

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Black Friday: Extravaganza or a Holiday Compromise?

Many know the day after Thanksgiving to be an occasion of long lines, big shopping bags and incredibly large discounts. It’s “Black Friday”! “Black Friday” is a day many consumers wait for all year long to get a jump on their Christmas shopping and to Sale labels with red gift bowstake advantage of marked-down items. However, more retail stores have started a new marketing trend this year.  Instead of waiting until the Friday after Thanksgiving to roll out the deals, many stores have begun their “Black Friday” discounts as early as October.  Giving stores access to the increased revenue that comes with Christmas shopping, this also appeals to those shoppers hoping to derail “last-minute shopping” headaches. A new survey from Accenture reveals that 45 percent of consumers have plans to go shopping in some capacity on Thanksgiving Day or evening. Nearly half of these people will likely go to stores between 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

The Lowes Approach
Lowe’s is one of the stores capitalizing on an early Black Friday concept.  Many Lowe’s consumers purchase home improvement products as gifts, but many others take on mini-projects and quick fix-ups for their homes in anticipation of guests and holiday parties. Lowe’s used social media to roll out its Black Friday Sneak Peek.  The company’s website uploads new deals consumers can expect to see during the Black Friday sales, with the caveat while supplies lasts”.

There is a new development, however, this year — Forbes, ThinkProgress and Mental Floss have gained support from over twenty companies who say they refuse to open on Thanksgiving. This may seem like a poor business model given the enormity of Black Friday, but, for these companies its about not ruining Thanksgiving. By refusing to open for Thanksgiving, companies like Lowes, Home Depot and Costco subtly rebuke the “Black Thursday night” tycoons like Walmart. They probably lose out on revenue; but enhancing their brand with certain consumers while preserving the sanctity of Thanksgiving as a time for family to relax inside the warmth of their homes, rather than camping out for the best deals, is far more important, and beneficial to them. Read more…

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Is Your Pitch Perfect? Take Steps to Elevate Your Brand and Pitch

You know the story. When two or more entrepreneurial businesspeople source a new concept and decide they want to launch it together, they start a company. When it comes to naming it, there can be some back and forth, but eventually a name is Businesspeople Communicating In Elevatordecided upon. Next a logo and a tagline are developed, followed by a unique value proposition. As the business grows it becomes more than a name, it evolves into a brand. In the home and building PR channel, our brand is our promise. It’s our personality and reputation. It’s how we do business, how we come across on the phone, online or in a conference room. It’s even how our employees behave in their “free” time.

Your logo, employees, activities, press releases, web site copy, tagline and tweets are all parts of your company’s personality that conveys a consistent message. Your brand/persona become words to live by in order for their messages to receive merit. Are you working on a pitch that communicates exactly who you are as a brand, and who you aspire to be? You can create a brand promise, illustrated with a pitch that uniquely and succinctly portrays your brand in the marketplace. Few companies can say they are the newest, oldest, or best in class… however, with a heavy dose of ingenuity and some of that entrepreneurial spirit — it is possible to create a brand that resonates and competes. Read more…

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Brands Put Best Foot Forward at Remodeling Show, DeckExpo, and JLC LIVE 2014

Bare Feet Wanted - Schluter SystemsShow-goers enjoyed a wide array of demonstrations, seminars, and interactive exhibits at this year’s Remodeling Show, DeckExpo, and JLC LIVE, including the multifaceted displays and events going on at JLC’s Tool Alley. Individual exhibitors on the exhibit hall floor featured many interactive displays, as well, as demonstrated by scores of show attendees who were willing to remove shoes to comply with the “Bare Feet Wanted” sign at the Schluter booth. Participating at the show for Kleber & Associates was president Steve Kleber, who enjoyed watching sock footed individuals line up to experience the warmth generated by Schluter’s new DITRA-HEAT electric floor warming system.  Schluter represents one of three companies we’d like to highlight in our show review, today, for their innovative and trend-setting products that remedy accessibility challenges while solving the age old problem of keeping the water in and the mold out. Read more…

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JLC LIVES’s Tool Alley Steals the Show at R|D|J 2014

Featuring many of the industry’s leading manufacturers, hands-on training and a wide-ranging conference program, the Remodeling Show/DeckExpo / JLC LIVE 2014 succeeded in bringing representatives from scores of remodeling, deck-building and residentialRemodeling Show, DeckExpo, and JLC LIVE 2014 construction companies face-to-face again this year.

 

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“The Trillion Dollar Opportunity – Marketing to Hispanic Americans”

imgresDue to the increased prominence and impact of Hispanic Americans across the country, Kleber and Associates has published a white paper discussing Hispanic Americans’ influence on, not only our culture, but, also on consumerism. As the largest minority group in the country – a group of now more than 50 million – Hispanics represent a rapidly increasing level of purchasing power, currently more than $1 trillion. For those of us in the home and building products channel, Hispanic Americans are a highly targeted group, as they have both increasing population and purchasing power on their side, more so than any other minority group in the U.S. All consumer product marketing for that matter should pay special attention to what their audiences think and how they buy. Given the new sphere of influence minority groups have created, marketers must ensure the appropriate messages are reaching them. Read more…

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Keep Your House Warm and Your Wallet Happy this Winter

In anticipation of another harsh winter season, homeowners and apartment dwellers alike are pondering ways to “winterize” their homes while also saving winter housemoney. With the exception of warmer climates, most will likely see at least some snow this winter with temperatures lower than they’ve ever been. There are, however, plenty of ways to keep your home warm and energy efficient this season. One of the easiest ways to save money during winter is to use an energy efficient space heater. Today’s heaters are smart with thermostatic remote controls, meaning that they sense the ambient temperature and can heat the room accordingly. Most electrical space heaters convert close to 100% of the electricity they consume into heat, which is good for your wallet. By using a space heater to heat only the rooms where you or your family are located you can save big bucks on your heating bill. Read more…

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