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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.

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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Dads in Ads: What’s the Latest Trend?

The way men are portrayed in advertising  and on TV has changed a lot over the years.

On this year’s Super Bowl, it’s changing yet again.

Here at Kleber and Associates, we specialize in brands that are built around the home, so it makes sense that we pay attention to how homes and families are depicted in advertising, in pop culture, in the movies and on TV.

For example, back in the early days of television, families were almost always portrayed with a patriarchal father as the leader of the household. Dad characters respectable, hardworking, and solely responsible for making family decisions.

These guys didn’t lounge around the house in sweat pants; they wore suits and ties and often smoked a pipe—think Jim Anderson in “Father Knows Best,” or Ward Cleaver in “Leave It To Beaver.” Even Ricky Ricardo wore a suit and tie.

According to Mark Crispin Miller, author of “Dad Through the Decades: Thirty Years of TV Fathers,” the depiction of males on TV began changing around the mid 1960s, and continued its downward slide through the 80s and 90s. It began with buffoonish dad characters, like Darren Stevens on “Bewitched,” Jed Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and even Fred Flintstone.

As the dads shown in prime time began losing authority, the role of women began to gain prominence and influence (of course it’s no coincidence that the women’s rights movement was happening at the time).

This is when women began gaining clout as decision makers in the household, and when advertisers began making females the primary target of their marketing. Who can forget the Virginia Slims campaign aimed at female smokers—“You’ve Come a Long Way Baby”? By the 1970s, one of the top shows on TV was “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” featuring an independent, never-married career woman.

A few years later, women were regularly portrayed as the leader of the household. Consider Claire Huxtable in “The Cosby Show” or the mom in “Roseanne”—they were the ones paying the bills, keeping their kids in line, and regularly outsmarting their goofy husbands.

In the 90s, dads weren’t just goofy, they were nonexistent. The top shows of the decade rarely featured the traditional family anymore. Think “Seinfeld,” “Sex and the City” and “Friends.”

No dads in any of them. In fact, one of the only memorable father characters of the decade was Homer Simpson. Hardly a positive role model.

This trend didn’t go unnoticed. In 2008, Kleber and Associates wrote a white paper called “Missing Males,”  in which we discussed the shifting portrayal of fathers on TV and in advertising. In the paper, K&A cited research by Rose Cameron, author of a worldwide study on men in the media. She found that “74 percent feel images of their gender in advertising are out of touch with reality.”

In another study conducted by Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc., nearly 80 percent of American men said they  can “barely recognize themselves in advertisements.”

Here’s one example. Verizon Wireless did a commercial in which a father tries to help his daughter with her homework and fails. The daughter is annoyed with her father’s ignorance, and turns to her mother with a look that says, “Obviously males can’t do math—get him out of here.” The mother, in an act of female solidarity, instructs the father to go wash the dishes.

Glenn Sacks, columnist, commentator, talk radio host and highly outspoken critic of male stereotyped advertising, was so angered by this offensive depiction of men that he launched a campaign against Verizon’s “anti-father” advertisement. According to Sacks, Verizon’s ad message was clear—“Dad is dumb, dad is useless, mom is smarter than dad, hell, even an eight-year-old is smarter than dad.”

One of the many letters Verizon received about that ad stated, “When I look around I see men working 50 hours a week or more to support their families, and still managing to help their children with their homework, read them bedtime stories, and be fine role models. Why can’t I see any men like that when I turn on the TV?”

Well, maybe that time has finally come. In the Ad Age article “Move Over Mom, It’s Dad’s Turn In Ads,” it says that the depiction of fathers in advertising is beginning to change, with “fatherhood featured prominently, positively in…this year’s Super Bowl.”

“Kind and gentle dads,” they write, “are populating pitches this year for everything from General Mills’ Cheerios and Hyundai Sonata to Similac. Proud papas will also star in
at least three Super Bowl spots—for Unilever’s Dove Men+Care, Toyota and Nissan.”

So why the sudden emergence of positive dads in ads? Jennifer Bremner, marketing director of Dove Men+Care, explains it well in the Ad Age article. “Talking to dads is just smart from a business perspective,” she says. “Men are doing more shopping, dads in particular.”

Here at Kleber and Associates, we’ll definitely keep that in mind in our marketing of home-related products. Our research shows that men are more involved than ever in home design and making appliance choices.

According to a study by the NPD Group, a retail and marketing data company, not only is the number of men involved in cooking and cuisine at a historical high, but today’s “men covet mixers, toasters and gourmet appliances just as much as navigation systems, mobile phones and audio components.”

Men aren’t just decorating man caves and cooking on barbecue grills anymore. They’re increasingly involved in their home lives, and marketers should tap into this vast market. Forward thinking companies are already providing enhanced style features and amenities that reflect the growing presence of men in this new arena.

It’s similar to the way women were treated by car salesmen years ago. My wife once stopped by a local dealership to browse, and the salesman practically ignored her. “Hey where’s your husband?” they asked.
We ended up buying our car from a dealer across town.

Marketers of kitchen and bath fixtures, appliances and other home design products should learn from those mistakes and stop ignoring the male audience. Whether single, married or fathers, men today represent a significant source of disposable income throughout all areas of the home.

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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.

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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.

 

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

Using Twitter to Reach Specific Target Audiences

In a society of innovation and constant information, Twitter has become the go-to venue for fast, real-time updates and consumer-based input. In merely 140 characters, Twitter gives everyone a voice.Untitled

Since its launch in 2006, the micro-blogging website has grown to over 200 million active users. With such a large user base, Twitter has become one of the prime social media venues for advertising.

Twitter advertising has been available since December 2011. Since then, advertising on Twitter has evolved into a system that makes advertising, and evaluating its results, easier than ever. Read more…

Future of Instagram for Advertising and Marketing

Instagram began as an IOS-only photo sharing app in 2010. It has since evolved into a massive social network with a large Web and Android presence involving a total user base over 200 million. It’s therefore no surprise that Instagram has developed new advertising opportunities for businesses by introducing sponsored posts for brands to better reach their ever-expanding user base. Sponsored posts have been launched on a test basis a number of times, but the results are promising for the future of paid marketing on Instagram.ig-logo

The first brands to try paid marketing on Instagram saw great success in terms of engagement and awareness. One of the guinea pig brands, Ben & Jerry’s, reached 9.8 million people with its sponsored post in an eight day period. Another brand, Lexus, gained 3,862 new followers on the day of the ad campaign. Read more…

The WoodTrac Ceiling System

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on The WoodTrac Ceiling System.


The WoodTrac® Ceiling System offers the look and feel of a custom crafted wood ceiling at an affordable price. The panels install over 9/16” or 15/16” suspended ceiling grid, allowing them to fit into almost all new or woodtrac_ceilings_man_caveexisting systems. There are four stock finishes to choose from, as well as three different molding profiles.

Introduced in 2010, the revolutionary WoodTrac® Ceiling System offers the ultimate in decorative wooden ceilings for commercial and residential use.  With the appearance of a custom-crafted three-dimensional ceiling, the drop ceiling product adds character to a room at an affordable price.

Each ceiling can be individualized with the combination of different molding profiles and molding and panel finishes. Molding profiles include colonial, cove and tear drop shapes while molding and panel finishes consist of abbey oak, bank alder and paintable white ceiling options. For a more traditional ceiling appearance, WoodTrac offers an additional panel finish – a knock-down textured surface.

WoodTrac coffered ceilingMiller Diversified. Miller Diversified had previously worked with WoodTrac wood ceilings on new construction and retrofit projects.  They liked the sophisticated, coffered ceiling appearance that transforms a room at a fraction of the cost of an actual coffered ceiling.  From the three beautiful panel finishes – Bank Alder, Abbey Oak and White – as well as more than 20 special order finishes for larger projects, Miller Diversified chose to use Bank Alder, a lighter wood finish, to complement the natural wood and stone in the Board Room while contrasting the same ceiling panel finish with black acoustic panels to form accent areas in the main ball room/conference area. What do you think?

For more information about WoodTrac ceilings for home renovation projects, please visit the WoodTrac website at www.woodtrac.com.

 

 


Kleber & Associates is an 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.

Are We There Yet?

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog!


As markets have rallied sharply so far this year — demonstrating the best quarterly start since 1998 — the economic backdrop continues to be a steady stream of better-than-expected data. Unemployment is trending lower, factory orders are up, auto sales are sizzling and the housing market is showing clear signs of rebounding. It would appear that conditions may be finally getting back to normal.

Yet entering the second quarter, we all must be prepared for a “new normal” with high oil prices, the potential for re-flaring of the Eurozone and even a Chinese hard landing.

Weekly initial jobless claims have now fallen to their lowest level in four years which is contributing to a steady recovery in consumer confidence, now at a 13-month high. Residential remodeling this winter was as strong as it has been in more than five years. While warmer-than-expected weather is often cited, I’m much more impressed that bank credit – a key to underlaying economic momentum – was already accelerating before the winter season even began. This suggests that the economic recovery is likely both durable and sustainable. According to Burns Home Value Index, home prices have been rising for more than three months in 90 of the 97 markets analyzed… based on signed contracts. The National Association of Realtors (who reported median prices up in February) by contrast tracks closings, which can lag 2-4 months for data recording. What’s more, apartment rents have risen 2.7% while vacancy rates have fallen below 5%, building a foundation for home ownership that has not been this compelling since 2001.

So are we there yet? Our clients in the home and building products channel certainly are echoing confidence with renewed innovation in R&D and launches with increasing investments in new marketing initiatives. We’re looking forward to the Kitchen and Bath Show later this month, where I’d be pleased to focus attention on your unique opportunities.

Industry News: February 2012

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Industry News: February 2012


Private employers hired the most workers since last April and the nation’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in nearly three years, according to the Labor Department.

Whirlpool’s fourth-quarter net earnings increased to $205 million, compared with net earnings of $171 million during the same period last year. Their North America region reported operating profit of $202 million for the quarter, compared with $53 million in the previous year. And for the full-year 2011, sales reached $18.7 billion, up 2% from the prior year.  Have you been watching the stock? Shares are up a full 20 points since mid-January!

In more general channel news — according to the U.S. Commerce Department — construction spending across all sectors reached an estimated $816.4 billion in December 2011, a 1.5% increase above the revised November estimate and 4.3% above the December 2010 results of $782.9 billion. Spending on residential construction was reported at $241.2 billion in December, 0.8% above the November 2011 estimate of $239.4 billion.