Translate Brand Into a Message for Consumers, Dealers
Looking for a way to lift yourself above other kitchen/bath
retailers in your area? Perhaps you should think of your business
as a brand.
Currently, there’s no brand for a complete kitchen or bath,
although many individual products enjoy brand-name recognition. As
a result, it’s a wide-open field, and an excellent opportunity.
What’s the value of a brand? Think of breakfast cereals. Almost
every supermarket sells brand-name cereals, as well as generic
cereals that are virtually identical to them in large plastic bags
on the bottom shelf in a corner. Watch how sales for the two
products compare over the course of 20 minutes. Then ask yourself,
is there a legitimate reason why the product with the brand name is
better than the generic product? By doing this, you will see how a
brand contributes to business success.
A brand helps customers distinguish and narrow their options.
Customers look for, and are likely to purchase, products whose
brand identities mirror their lifestyles. In addition, a brand
enables you to shape your efforts around a common theme, and give
you a handle to shape the impressions you make with customers.
Furthermore, kitchen and bath design firms already have a brand
of sorts, in the way customers now think of your business. The goal
you should have is to translate this subconscious branding into
conscious action and a coherent message. To do this, you need to
know why your customers buy from you.
What is the impression your customers have of your business? How
does it compare to other stores selling similar products?
Gather information on your competitors in a systematic way. Of
course, you want to do it ethically and legally. But, you want to
ask yourself, where is the store located? How is it laid out? What
kind of signage is there? Where do they advertise? What do they
stress? What sales do they run? What kind of service do they
If you don’t like what you find out, you’re probably on the right
track. Chances are, the competition is doing better than you, in
some way, by doing what they do well. Take a hard look at where you
need to improve, and how you can answer what they do by going in a
different direction. For example, if the emphasis in your area is
only on price, you may want to stress quality and reliability.
You’ll probably find that price is less important than the
customer’s perception of price. There are some retailers, for
example, who call themselves something like “Discount Kitchens,”
but whose prices are no lower than others. What they do, however,
is stress “more value for your money” as their brand message. Once
they have demonstrated the value the customer will receive in terms
of service and product quality, price ceases to be uppermost in the
And one of the stranger parts of this phenomenon is that, often,
the “Discount Kitchen” dealer offers the same service and
comparable products as his local competitors. The difference is all
in the delivery of coordinated information to the consumer. The
other retailers are waiting for the consumer to ask questions that
never arise, or assume that the customer knows what terms like “5/4
doors” or “dovetail drawers” mean. They, too, supervise their jobs
personally and guarantee their work they just don’t mention it.
Think about who you are, and what your customers need to know
about you. Then develop a brand and let your customers know who you