Marketing

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.

Walpole_Pavilion

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.

Feeney_Rail_Lights

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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…

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…

“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…

Kleber & Associates Named New Agency of Record for Georgia Pacific Gypsum

Kleber & Associates has been named as an advertising agency of record for Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC and will support the brand’s global marketing initiatives through multiple product promotions. Kleber & Associates will manage creative Georgia-Pacific-Gypsum_2014_Kleber-and-Associates-Public-Relations-Advertisingadvertising, media planning, account strategy and digital execution for the award-winning Dens® family of premium fiberglass mat gypsum panels, including DensGlass® Sheathing and Shaftliner, DensArmor Plus® Interior Panels, DensDeck® Roof Boards and DensShield® Tile Backer, as well as the broad array of paper-faced interior drywall products in the ToughRock® Gypsum Board portfolio.

“With Kleber & Associates, we found an integrated marketing agency that has extensive category experience within the construction and building products industry and demonstrates the ability to provide fresh, breakthrough creative ideas designed to help drive our business,” said Mike McCoy, vice president of marketing and commercial roofing for Georgia-Pacific Gypsum.

According to Steve Kleber, the opportunity to partner with a division of an iconic Atlanta corporation like Georgia-Pacific is the culmination of hard work and perseverance. “Growing up in Atlanta, I was always aware of Georgia-Pacific’s role as an important business and community leader, while its headquarters has been an integral part of the Atlanta skyline,” he said. “It is a unique pleasure and responsibility to be in a marketing partnership with such an important part of the company.”

 


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.

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.