Translate Brand Into a Message for Consumers, Dealers Told

Translate Brand Into a Message for Consumers, Dealers Told

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 offer? 
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 customer's mind.

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 are.

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