Brand Management

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.

Scent Marketing: A Familiar Smell

While not a new marketing concept (in fact, we wrote about it in 2009), the practice of using aromas to illicit an emotional connection remains an intriguing premise. Most recently, airlines are discussing the use of scent in brand marketing to help differentiate their flight experience. Delta is among a number of airlines that already use fragrance as a branding tool. Its signature scent, ‘Calm’, has been used in both the airplane cabins and the hot towels provided to premium class fliers for a few years. The Wall Street Journal reports that not all fliers are excited about this trend, though. Those with asthma or other sensitivities to scents and chemicals are apprehensive about possible reactions. In light of these concerns, some airlines have decided against going through with plans to utilize a unique fragrance for branding purposes.

Although some airlines deemed this tactic too risky, there are still many other brands that are using these fragrant practices, particularly hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, the Bellagio, the Venetian, and many others on the Strip are using the sense of smell to help guests form unique bonds to their memories of these locations. Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando uses fragrance in a different way by distributing artificial sugar cookie and waffle cone aromas at the top of the stairs to lure visitors downstairs to the inconveniently located ice cream shop. This is a whole new take on scent marketing that proves it has more than just the potential to create new associations with a brand; it can also play to consumers’ already existing associations with a smell to advance a brand.  This tactic seems to be pretty simple for a company already heavily linked to a smell, but perhaps other brands would have a more challenging time executing it.  But think of this – the average consumer views tens of thousands of marketing messages daily. Doesn’t it make sense to connect with a potential customer through other means? We have four other senses waiting to be tapped.

For those companies that want to utilize all five senses in the branding process but have difficulty deciding how, companies like ScentAir can assist. ScentAir offers consulting on fragrance options and how to utilize them. The presence of companies like this demonstrates the increasing demand for scent as a marketing tool.  What are some creative ways you could envision scent playing a role in marketing programs?

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…

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…

Homeowners Choosing Popular Upgrades as the Economy Recovers

In this current recovery, homeowners are becoming more confident, demonstrating pent-up demand for home and building products. The remodeling industry is experiencing a steady uptick, as the nation’s recovering economy encourages renewed homeowner investment. Following one of the most significant plunges in the U.S. real estate channel’s history, homeowners are now opting to consider their existing space for their residential upgrades.

“During past recessions we experienced mortgage applications declining while interest rates rose resulting in a drop of new homes being constructed,” explains Steven Kleber, president of the National Remodeling Foundation. “Remodeling permits by contrast during those cycles traditionally increased, as homeowners sought to capture equity in the rising values of their homes. However, during the most recent housing crisis, remodeling permits simultaneously decreased in concert with new home construction as foreclosures and declining home values combined negatively to shake homeowner confidence. The good news is we’re finally seeing evidence of that long anticipated turn around.”

In fact, The Conference Board this week reported that their July Consumer Confidence Index soared to 90.9, the highest level since October 2007 while they forecast that the trend was likely to continue.

Stainless Steel and the “Pro-sumer”
A new type of consumer – the “pro-sumer” – has emerged during this current wave of remodeling. These homeowners desire commercially proven, professional grade products that are fabricated and re-purposed for specific residential applications.

Feeney, Inc. LED Rail Light Kits for DesignRail

Feeney, Inc. LED Rail Light Kits for DesignRail

For example, the Feeney, Inc. LED Rail Light Kits for DesignRail® provide unique illumination for outdoor living environments for consumers looking no further than their own backyards for home space to improve. Originally designed for use on sea-faring vessels to resist nature’s destructive forces upon sails, Feeney’s stainless steel CableRail railing products are finding a new market among homeowners who desire attractive deck railing that won’t impede views of their landscape.

Danver Outdoor Kitchens

Danver Outdoor Kitchens

 

 

Stainless Steel Cabinetry is Popular
Similar in attributes, stainless steel cabinetry is gaining popularity in weather-sensitive, outdoor living applications. Consistently specified by restaurant designers for commercial kitchen surfaces where durability and easy-to-clean performance has been critical for food preparation areas, stainless steel now is being fabricated into cabinetry by Danver – made in America in Wallingford Connecticut. For many consumers, not just any plain silver grey finish will suffice and responding to that demand, Danver has introduced coated stainless steel doors in designer color finishes including wood grain patterns that now provide homeowners with outdoor kitchens that feature every convenience of traditional interior environments.

 

Cellular PVC Pergola Outdoor Kitchen View 1 Canopy retracted

Walpole Outdoors Pergola

Social Cooking and Living Life Inside-Out
Recently the kitchen has become a room for communal activity, as food preparation and bartending bring people together in social gatherings and at parties. Today’s outdoor kitchen has followed suit, expanding far beyond the lone barbeque grill with appliances such as the Evo cooktop that connect multiple cooks and dining audiences to engage in social cooking experiences out-of-doors.

In an effort to enjoy outdoor living through all four seasons, homeowners are seeking greater year-round shelter from nature’s elements. Walpole Outdoors pergolas are an attractive choice among renovators and come in a variety of colors applied to easy-to-maintain cellular PVC available in convenient, ready to assemble kits and with retractable ceiling screens.

Sometimes Only Real Wood Will Do
When it comes to curb appeal, homeowners are making high impact home fashion trend statements with simple replacements of their front doors — increasing their homes’ energy efficiency, while setting architectural style highlights at their guests’ first point of contact when they visit.

Masonite Torrefied Door

Masonite Torrefied Door

While fiberglass and steel doors remain popular choices, some homeowners demand the authentic aesthetics that only real wood doors provide. Yet, wood doors traditionally have inherent maintenance costs that restrict greater audience acceptance. Not anymore. The collection of Masonite Torrefied doors are fabricated through a process that actually heats the door during manufacturing, increasing its resistance to natural rot, weather and termites. What’s more and as an added bonus, the doors take on an attractive toasty brown finish that accentuates natural graining patterns.

“Ultimately, consumers need to be aware of the industry’s leanings towards renovating and upgrading existing space,” states Kleber. “In coming years, smart homeowners will undoubtedly experience a significant return on investment for the improvements they’re making now.”

 

 


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.

Kleber & Associates Wins Platinum & Gold for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign

The Kleber and Associates PR and Advertising team is full of bright, creative and innovative individuals.  With our clients as our top priority, we strive to ensure that all of our integrated marketing campaigns are one-of-a-kind anHermes 2014 jpgd reflective of each client’s unique products and services. We don’t do it for awards; we do it because we have a commitment to give our clients the best public relations and marketing experience possible.  It also doesn’t hurt that we love what we do. Read more…

Residential Remodeling Renaissance Reveals New Trends for 2014

With the recovery of the economy, homeowners are now choosing to invest in upgrading or renewing their homes, with a particular emphasis on kitchen, bath and outdoor living spaces. According to a recentRonbow vanity Hanley Wood Survey, remodeling sales were up 10 percent, and about half of the surveyed remodelers agreed that 2014 will see continued, steady growth. This “renaissance” reveals a wide range of new home and building products trends, some aspirational, others practical and down to earth.

Green Construction, Aging-In-Place Design and Universal Design
Once considered the latest trends in residential remodeling and new construction — green construction, aging-in-place and universal design are no longer advanced thinking. Rather, these concepts are now firmly rooted in conventional wisdom. Advancement is due to increased consumer demand and better-educated, more conscientious home and building professionals, making green construction, aging-in-place and universal design now foundational architectural principles that few building projects ignore.

Craig Webb, editor-in-chief of Remodeling Magazine, said, “Manufacturers and builders are constantly getting greener and greener in the way they source materials and put up homes.”  As a result, “Energy efficiency is becoming an assumption, not an add-on.”  Recent estimates indicate that annual expenditures on green home building in the United States are approximately $36 billion, and that number is expected to double by 2016. New trends continue to develop within these disciplines at a rapid pace, let’s consider a few. Read more…

IKEA’s Klippbok, the Virtual Visualization App for Today’s Consumer

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on IKEA’s Klippbok, virtual visualization inspiration so you can “try before you buy.”


Have you heard about IKEA’s cool Klippbok? Swedish for “scrap book,” the new website and iPad app allows users to create mood boards by dragging and dropping items onto a blank page. Mix and match different items to create the perfect room or experiment with different color swatches for the perfect sofa, Klippbok is a fun way to explore IKEA’s offerings. Best of all, it enables customers to imagine what different pieces of furniture and accessories would look like in their own homes. Read more…

Don’t Be a Monkey – How To Identify Your Next Social Media Move

social-media-logos

Social media… the 300 pound gorilla in the room that generates questions such as “why aren’t we doing more with this?” and “shouldn’t we be on this platform?” Comments like “XYZ brand is on it – we’re falling behind!”

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Participating in social media has evolved from a novel curiosity to standard procedure at a dizzying pace. In the home improvement and building products space, it has completely transformed content delivery to consumers.  Homeowners — armed with a laundry list of articles and an Ideabook on Houzz, packed with inspiration — expect brands to keep pace and to anticipate their specialized content consumption habits. Those companies who desire a seat at the table must remain ahead of the curve and deliver relevant content, seemingly on demand.

Read more…

Product Placement is Key to a Successful Public Relations Plan

woodtrac-rev-run-renovationHave you ever noticed in film and on television, how branded products make their way into the shot? Whether it’s everyone drinking a certain brand of soda or the latest mobile device used by James Bond… this is no mere coincidence. In fact, some of the broadcast industry’s most iconic moments evolve around a product, such as E.T. and Reese’s Pieces or Superman being thrown through a Marlboro truck during a climactic fight scene. These products, as you may be aware, are not chosen out of the blue – there’s a very well-established publicity relationship behind them.

Product placement, or product integration, is the practice of supplying or embedding products within a TV program or film as a way to promote brands and products. The public relations practice of providing branded products in exchange for sponsorship and media exposure has been used successfully for years. Not only are the products viewed by millions of viewers, they are typically highlighted on websites and through social media before and after the show airs. What’s more, a well-integrated product placement can become part of pop culture providing years of brand exposure. Read more…