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We haven’t stopped posting, just moved locations.  The Marketing Home Products Blog for Kleber and associates can now be found here on our brand new website.  Please follow our continued posts there.

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Several K&A clients are already profiting from the rise in outdoor living spaces

The rising popularity of luxury outdoor living spaces is a trend that many K&A clients are already leveraging. For example, Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens and Walpole Outdoors are currently working together to create outdoor kitchen coverings designed to promote backyard living year-round. Feeney, Inc. continues to offer cutting-edge deck railing products and outdoor lighting accents.

Walpole Outdoors, manufacturer of distinctive architectural landscape products and structures, recently introduced new pavilions and shade pergolas featuring classically proportioned beams, joists and laths.

Danver’s outdoor cabinets are manufactured from high-quality, durable stainless steel and are available with custom door styles in exclusive designer colors. The powder coat colors and realistic wood grain-style finishes allow builders, remodelers, architects and design professionals to create unique backyard havens.

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Working together, Danver and Walpole are creating luxurious outdoor spaces that are both beautiful and functional. The end result includes Danver kitchen cabinets that are virtually maintenance free in all climates, American-made stainless steel appliances that maximize outdoor entertainment, and Walpole pavilions and pergolas that add architectural interest as well as much-needed shade.

Feeney_DesignRailDesignRail® aluminum railing systems from Feeney, Inc. are a popular option for outdoor porches and deck areas. When combined with Feeney’s new LED Rail Light Kits, they provide homeowners with the sleek look of aluminum together with the enhanced ambience of recessed lighting.

Are you marketing a product for outdoor living spaces? Would you like to know more about what K&A can do for your brand? We’d love to discuss our ideas. Contact us today at info@kleberandassociates.com.

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Trend Watch: The Rise of Outdoor Living Spaces

Popularized during the financial crisis of 2008, the term “staycation” was added to our lifestyle vocabulary when people began enjoying vacation time in their own places of residence, in order to save money.

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Pavilions like this one from Walpole Outdoors
are just one example of luxury outdoor living spaces.

Today, that trend continues to grow for reasons beyond mere economics, including lifestyle choices, avoiding the hassles of travel, and finding innovative ways to increase existing home value.

A key indicator of this trend is  the burgeoning popularity of outdoor living spaces and the upscale features that dress them up.

Need proof? The American Institute of Architects (AIA) noted in a 2014 survey that outdoor living spaces have emerged as the most popular special function room among homeowners. The AIA survey also noted that 69-percent of homeowners increased outdoor living options along with landscaping—an increase of six-percent since 2013. A Better Homes and Gardens study found homeowners view outdoor living spaces as an expansion of the home and a vital family-time venue.

Pinterest—the fastest-growing social media site—ranks “Home” as its top category and “For the Home” as its most popular Pinterest board name. Within these, outdoor kitchens, landscaping ideas, and porch and deck projects receive plenty of pins and repins from the Pinterest audience (87/17-percent women/men in the U.S.; 56/44-percent men/women in the U.K.).

Outdoor Spaces Enhance Home Value

While spending time in personalized outdoor living areas is a source of great enjoyment for many, homeowners are often motivated to focus resources on outdoor living in order to enhance overall atmosphere of the home and increase resale value, as Kleber & Associates found in a recent survey. Other motivations are spending more time at home with friends and family, enjoying outdoor spaces even in inclement weather and connecting with nature.

This outdoor space features built-in appliances from Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens.

This outdoor space features built-in appliances
from Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens

Outfitting these outdoor spaces can be as simple as placing a portable charcoal grill on the patio or as elaborate as equipping the space with an extensive outdoor living room, complete with a kitchen, fireplace, high-definition television and surround sound audio system. This phenomenon is fueling multiple industries that manufacture products for the outdoors: appliances, furniture, lighting, landscaping, insect repellent systems, water features, electronics, garden products, fire pits, sunrooms, screened porches, hot tubs, heat lamps, pools, decks, ponds, gazebos, pizza ovens and more.

 

Demographics Driving the Trend

Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) and Baby Boomers heading into their retirement years, are fueling the popularity of outdoor living spaces. Studies show that Millennials are optimistic about the future and place a high value on owning their own homes. According to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 90-percent of Millennials prefer to live in rural or suburban areas rather than in an urban atmosphere. As a result, most Millennials have either purchased a house in the last three years, or plan to buy a house within the next three years.

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Feeney DesignRail® systems and
LED Rail Light Kits add sleek design
and ambience

What This Means to Marketers

At Kleber and Associates, we’re always looking for trends that affect the marketing of home and building products. With the advent of spring and rising outside temperatures, we expect homeowner interest in outdoor living spaces to continue to increase—potentially driving sales across multiple product categories.

All indicators point to the fact that outdoor living upgrades and renovations are not just a limited-time trend or movement, but a well-loved staple of the American home, and here to stay. And, personalized outdoor living spaces make a “staycation” more competitive with expensive, exotic resorts.

Want to know more? Click here to download our latest Outdoor Living white paper. Or better yet, let’s discuss how we might leverage these trends in your current marketing efforts. Contact us today at info@kleberandassociates.com.

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Two Roads Merge in Design and Your Company Should, Too!

It has long been thought that residential and commercial design were two separate entities not meant to overlap. Over the last decade, however, we have seen a shift in that mindset. Designers are incorporating more luxurious, and sometimes industrial, elements into residences, while also creating more relaxed leisure spaces in commercial offices, healthcare facilities and the like.

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Homeowners want to rest in the comfort of hotel-like bedrooms with crystal chandeliers, plush bedding, additional sitting rooms and French doors as the entryway. They desire spa-inspired bathrooms that include deep, multi-jetted whirlpool tubs where they can soak and oversized showers with multiple showerheads or the ability to be transformed into a steam room. They are seeking restaurant-style kitchens equipped with eight-burner gas ranges, double ovens, wine refrigerators and dispensers, plus industrial refrigerators with front paneling that blends seamlessly with the custom cabinetry. And they want their home offices to mirror those in the corporate world, replete with the necessary built-in shelving and storage, windows that allot for plenty of natural light for the daytime and appropriate lighting options for late night work. On top of all of this, homes are being made to be as energy-efficient and technologically integrated as the latest, cutting-edge commercial buildings.

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On the other side, health care buildings, corporate offices and educational facilities are adding “homey” amenities such as community-style lounge areas and additional, informal seating beyond the desk in offices and large cubicles. In addition, companies with a robust amount of space are even bringing fitness facilities to their buildings. Outdoor spaces are even being designed for employees and visitors to meet or work in these spaces. This is all happening in an effort to create welcoming spaces where the occupants can relax, stay longer and be more productive.

So what does all of this mean for the home and building products industries? It means your consumer base could be expanding exponentially (or already has), and you could be missing out on new business opportunities. Expanding your company’s client base and marketing to include both residential and commercial audiences can increase the awareness of your company within your new and existing markets. New clientele can lead to a surge in your company’s profitability overall growth, which is precisely what we all work diligently to achieve.

To learn more about branding and brand expansion, feel free to contact us at http://kleberandassociates.com/contact/. This blog was inspired by the article “At the Intersection of Commercial and Residential Design” in the February 2015 issue of Interiors & Sources.

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2015 Home Remodeling Trends: Coffered-look Ceilings Set the Style

Many home remodeling trends change from season to season, however, there are a few classic looks that never seem to go out of style. One of those is the coffered-look ceiling.

The ceiling is an often overlooked space where personal style and overall home décor meet to create a dramatic effect in residential remodeling projects. Are you a homeowner, builder or remodeler planning to remodel a family room or basement woodtrac_ceilings_man_cavearea? If you are, give serious consideration to the ceiling as the oft neglected fifth wall.

As you think through options for ceiling design and material, evaluate the overall atmosphere and character of the room. The project designer can often solve other interior design issues with the right selection of ceiling height, material, or style. If the space is large with a high ceiling, select a dark colored ceiling to add depth and make the space more inviting. Make a small space feel larger by adding a light colored ceiling, raising the ceiling height, or by installing ceiling panels, planks or beams in a small and repetitive pattern.

Read more…

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Cracking the Blogger Code: How K&A launched our Home & Building Products Blogger Network

 

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Much has been written recently about the rising influence of third-party bloggers. When consumers are researching brands and products, bloggers are among their most sought after resources.  This growing trend hasn’t been lost on marketers, either—37 per

cent of marketers say blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing. That’s why, in the spring of 2014, Kleber & Associates set out to research bloggers. We made it our mission to identify the top bloggers for home and building products, and develop a definitive method for estimating their value. The result: after 10 months of work, we believe we have the most complete H&BP blogger list in the industry, as well as a unique compensation scale we call the “K&A Fair Market Value.”

Analyzing the Blogosphere
With more than 172 million Tumblr pages and 75.8 million WordPress blogs on the web, our first step was narrowing our focus to the best blogs within our niche—home and building products. We compiled a comprehensive list based on Alexa rankings, Klout scores, networking, word of mouth and other sources, then carefully analyzed and scrutinized every blogger on our list, using 10 separate criteria. Then, using good ole’ fashioned detective work, we whittled the list down from over 5,000 bloggers to our current list of the top 500 home improvement and building product experts. Every blogger has been fully vetted and assigned a fair market value score.

Assessing Blog Value
We prefer keeping our fair market value formula confidential. However, we can tell you it factors in web traffic, independent SEO/Search rankings and social media stats with a focus on engagement rates.  Our Blogger Network is already being used with tremendous success by several K&A client brands. For example, WoodTrac ceiling systems have been featured on three highly influential blogs in the past 90 days. Before our research, it would have been a guessing game on what a client should pay or how to approach a blogger. Using K&A Fair Market Value, we had the leverage we needed to help ensure the best rates.

To learn more about the K&A Blogger Network, shoot us an email: info@kleberandassociates.co
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Please click here to join our eNewsletter list for the latest home and building marketing news, trends and updates.

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Why You Should Add Blogger Outreach to your Marketing

Be honest—who would you trust more to tell you the unbiased truth about a product or service: the product’s manufacturer, or some anonymous blogger writing a review online?

If you answered the “anonymous blogger,” you aren’t alone. Today’s savvy consumers trust third-party opinion writers much more than paid advertising or brand-sponsored websites.  According to Technorati’s Digital Influence Report, blogs are among the top five sources of trustworthy information, and when it comes to actually influencing purchase decisions, blogs rank #3—even higher than Facebook. In a study conducted by BlogHer, 81 percent of online consumers said they trust the advice they read in blogs, and 61 percent have made purchases based on a blogger’s recommendation.

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Using Bloggers Effectively

So how can you get bloggers to write about your product? How much does it cost, and how do you know you’ll get a good return on your investment? The truth is, there are no easy answers. With 172 million Tumblr pages and nearly 79 million WordPress blogs on the web, the trick isn’t just finding a blog, it’s finding the right ones. Most blogs are very narrow in focus, which means their audiences are highly targeted (and valuable). The better a blog aligns with your brand and your product, the more likely you’ll reach the audience you’re looking for.  As for the cost, there are no easy answers there either.

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Bloggers have no pre-defined rate cards; there are no set standards, so the terms can vary, to say the least. Some bloggers request free product samples, while others charge thousands of dollars to sponsor a post, based on site traffic and influence. With so much consumer trust placed in third-party bloggers, however, the potential ROI should be obvious; one endorsement from a powerful blogger can wield tremendous influence with your target audience. That influence can also reach across multiple digital channels (typically, bloggers don’t just write on their own blogs, they also post opinions on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest). In the realm of public relations, blogs definitely have the potential to be highly rewarding. It’s a tantalizing prospect—millions of websites with devoted followers looking for the next great product, ready to engage.

So what are you waiting for? We’d love to discuss how you can incorporate bloggers in your marketing, both effectively and affordably. Contact us today at info@kleberandassociates.com.

Please click here to join our eNewsletter list for the latest home and building marketing news, trends and updates.

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How Girl Day Spotlights the Issue with Engineering

Yesterday, we celebrated Girl Day. The mission is to attract more females to the engineering and automation world. It is also important to note that Girl Day is not just a one-off event… it is meant to spark momentum and awareness about the importance of a continued effort to support this mission. So, while yesterday focused on the immediate need (introducing girls in your community to engineering careers), it also provided the knowledge and tools to continue to educate women of all ages about the profession in the future.

NPR reported that close to 40% of women with engineering degrees either never use their degree or leave the profession for reasons like the glass ceiling, a lack of self-confidence or a lack of mentors. The same report points to getting more women interested in engineering as the biggest problem the profession faces.

Girl Day represents the push happening in society to interest more women in engineering. This push is meant to balance out the playing field among men and women so that there will not only be more women actually using their engineering degree, but there will be more young women saying that they want to be an engineer when they grow up.

That is why Girl Day is so important; it gets us talking about this issue.

Social media is a key player expertly used to spread the word of this movement by creating awareness for both the issue that makes Girl Day necessary and the event itself. A whole campaign launched for this special day uses the hash tag #BringItOut to highlight the idea that there is a little engineer in every girl to be discovered. A series of YouTube videos made for this campaign feature females discussing qualities of the profession that might interest girls such as curiosity, problem solving, innovation and design.

In addition to YouTube videos, the sponsor for this campaign, DiscoverE, is using Twitter to get some bigger companies involved.

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By getting companies like GoldieBlox involved through social media, the #BringItOut campaign is able to gain more clout and extend the reach of the message.

 

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We think Girl Day nailed it with this one. What do you think?

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Showcase Custom Closet System Photos in the 2015 Top Shelf Design Awards Contest

WoodTrac closet system by WoodTrac, in cherry finish.

WoodTrac Closet System in cherry finish.

Are you a designer, custom home builder or remodeler who has completed a custom designed closet or home organization system in the past year? Enter your closet system and home organization photos in the Top Shelf Design Awards Contest honoring designers for their creative closet and home organizational designs.

Each entry must feature a single custom home organization project completed on or after January 1, 2014. Entries are due on March 13, 2015, and the required entry fee is $45.00.

wood_logo_mainThe awards presentation will take place on the show floor Wednesday, April 15 at the end of the opening day of the Expo, enabling more show attendees to see the great work of top designers from across the country. Award winners will be featured in Woodworking Network magazine and celebrated during the 2015 Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo, running April 14-16, in Chicago.

Attractive master bedroom Closet System by WoodTrac by Sauder

Master Bedroom Closet System by WoodTrac

The Project must have been built for an outside customer (someone other than the entrant his/her/itself or one of the entrant’s employees); and may not have been previously submitted for the Closets Top Shelf Design Awards.

Each Entry must be accompanied by at least three professional quality, color images (equivalent to 266 DPI or higher). Photos will be submitted under the following categories:

  • Garage: under 600 sq ft
  • Garage: over 600 sq ft
  • Home Office: under 150 sq ft
  • Home Office: over 150 sq ft
  • Closet: Laminate under 18 l.f.
  • Laminate over 18 l.f
  • Closet: Wood under 18 l.f.
  • Closet: Wood more than 18 l.f.
  • Closet: Reach in closets
  • Specialty: Craft, pantry, wine, laundry and mudroom

The submission deadline for the contest is March 13, 2015. Full contest rules are available at the Contest Rule link. Contact Michaelle Bradford at mbradford@vancepublishing.com with any questions.

 


Kleber & Associates is an Atlanta-based integrated marketing communications agency serving the home and building products industry for 25 years. Visit the Kleber & Associates website for the latest news and information about marketing for home and building products for consumers, architects, builders, remodelers, designers and manufacturers. Through our marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing expertise — we build better brands that build a better home.

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Optimism was all the buzz at IBS 2015

DCW 2015: Smarter, Leaner Organizations a Cause for Optimism in US Building Market

We’re a couple weeks removed from the biggest trade event of the year –  Design and Construction Week 2015.  In year’s past, we took this time to digest what we saw, follow-up on press opportunities and take a collective sigh of relief.  As we discussed in our recent newsletter, our team walked the equivalent of a 1/2 marathon in three days. It’s an exhausting grind physically but even more so mentally. It takes time to truly process what we saw and offer insight to the big trends our team noted during the show. Individual products are only a piece of a larger pattern – what was the overall macro trend?

“From Despair Comes Improvement”

The overall consensus of both our clients and other attendees was renewed optimism about the marketplace as a whole. Few believe we’ll ever return to the levels saw before the market collapse and to be frank – that’s a good thing. Companies are emerging from the recession smarter and more efficient on all facets of their business. When production and demand slowed, organizations had to re-think their operations and approach. What we’re seeing now are organizations better structured for sales optimization and better controlled supply chain. Several sales professionals at the show said their company had invested, or were making plans to invest, in CRM systems to better track their output and offer better alignment with marketing to close leads. In one particular booth, I was given a demo of their leads gathering process. The tried and true card scan remained the first step. From there though, the data was exported directly into the company’s CRM system and an automated email, based on the person’s geographic location, was sent from the sales professional covering the territory’s own email.  No sifting through hundreds of Excel files after the show. The company was able to strike while the iron was hot. Marketing and Sales working in-step? Now there’s a trend this agency can get behind.

It’s hard to find a positive from the economic downturn. This said, companies appear to have taken this time to look in the mirror and improve from within. The result?  A smarter organization.

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