Putting a Brand on the Market

by WOHe

Do you know who you areand who you want to be? Does everyone in
your organization know? Do your clients and prospects and
competitors know? Are you fully aware of how effective branding can
increase your market share, grow sales, add value to your name, and
boost the price you can get for your work?

If you can’t answer these questions with absolute affirmation,
then your business may be suffering an identity crisis that could
prove nothing short of fatal.

Fact is, branding has become, more than ever, a major industry
watchword as 2003 begins to unfold and the business climate
continues to become more challenging and more competitive.

The message about the importance of effective
dealer/designer/showroom branding resonates throughout Kitchen
& Bath Design News this month, and is being echoed by some of
the most respected kitchen/bath professionals around.

DPHA president Jeff Burton, for example, notes’ that
branding is a process that embraces all aspects of an operation
products, services, showroom ambience, staff knowledge, sales
approach, advertising and more.

Well-known kitchen and bath designer Mick De Giulio talks about
starting with a specific goal charging premium prices, gaining
credibility, increasing the value of your company and then
carefully shaping your marketing strategy around that.

Kimball Derrick, CKD, points to the need to establish what you
stand for, meld that with your core values, and then get the word
out.
And, Joan DesCombes suggests being sure you qualify clients in a
way that assures there’ll be a “good marriage” between their needs
and what you’re capable of delivering.

What underlines each of these perspectives, of course, is the
notion that your branding message should contain instant
recognition and, even beyond that, an emotional attachment that’s
at the essence of who you are.

In other words, your branding initiatives should tie directly
into not just what products and services offer, but how those
offerings will make your clients feel about their home, their
family, their lifestyle, themselves.

Industry leaders point out, too, that an effective branding
strategy can vary dramatically from company to company. But, its
foundation, they note, is always built on a clear notion of who you
are your position in the market, your unique value and your ability
to communicate that message consistently and clearly in everything
you do.

The best way to develop a branding effort is to start with
questions. Among them:

Do you promise an experience that’s different, or better, than
the competition’s? What is it? How do you deliver it? Are you
targeting a market that’s right for you? Are you consistently
meeting, or exceeding, expectations? Have your salespeople been
trained so that they share your vision and your message? Are your
displays consistent with the image that you want your showroom to
project? Do you aggressively cater to the media as part of an
effort to effectively brand your name?

Building a distinct and unique brand for your company may be the
most important business initiative you implement in 2003. It should
be way up there on your list of priorities as the new year gets
underway in earnest.

Editor’s Note: Kitchen & Bath Design News launches two new
exclusive features this month both aimed at providing an overview
of the kitchen and bath industry that’s more comprehensive and
well-rounded than ever.

K&BDN’s newly-developed “Kitchen & Bath Industry
Performance Index” will provide readers with a monthly snapshot of
the vitality of the kitchen/bath and housing markets. Employing a
wide range of key economic factors and dealer surveys, the Index
will offer revealing insights into business conditions and the
overall climate of the industry.

The second new feature “DPH Perspectives” will reflect
K&BDN’s exclusive alliance with the Decorative Plumbing &
Hardware Association (DPHA), a recently formed trade association
serving the kitchen and bath industry. Under the terms of the
alliance, an officer of the Washington, DC-based DPHA will author
columns aimed at that important industry sector; the columns will
appear every other month throughout 2003 in K&BDN. The first
such column, written by DPHA president Jeff Burton, appears this
month on Page 36.

K&BDN welcomes this new industry voice, and anticipates our
readers will do the
same.

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