Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Changing Times…Looking Ahead at 2013

How nostalgic is the time. Five years ago this week, I was at Countrywide Financial presenting our integrated marketing campaign. What a surprise that Bank of America would announce in mere days that they would acquire the infamous brand for $4.1 billion. Following a FBI investigation for fraud three months later… I suppose there’s no need to bring us all through the housing crisis again. Let’s instead fast forward to a Happy New Year.

Based on the best opening day in history, the famed “January Indicator” predicted a continuing upward trajectory for our markets in 2013. Shares of PulteGroup have nearly tripled since last year – making it the best performing stock on the S&P500, which itself now stands at a 5-year high.

We’ve all invested a year on an election and its fiscal cliff, that both achieved very little if anything. Yet we stand on the edge of what promises to be a much welcome sea of change. After all, we’re tired of the European meltdown, leadership change in China and civil war in Syria. We’re no longer worried about the fragility of the dollar or even our need for imported oil. Heck we’re awash in shale gas, oil sands and deep water drilling to the point of reaching the lowest levels of imported fuel since 1987. Treasury Secretary Geithner can now securely resign with our appreciation… those banks that were too big to fail, are even bigger now. Our mortgages which remain at historic low rates carry new rules that require lenders to actually consider whether a borrower can repay their loan. Nevermind that this may potentially hurt the rising tide of first-time homebuyers as rental rates continue to rise. There are mergers and acquisitions to consider – from Kleer Lumber by Tapco, to Viking Range by Middleby and Pergo by Mohawk. Home and building products are ready to get serious. After all, we’ve got the International Builder Show for which to look forward.
At the show this year, amid the myriad of brands vying for your attention, please consider those which have adopted a new paradigm for the new year. They have invested in research & development, advanced technology and innovation… when their competitors have played defense.

Consider the brands that have embraced the concept of “selective consumption”.  Brands that are structured to deliver the types of services that allow customers to find and drive buying decisions 24/7. Those that understand that customers now control when and where they will choose to interact. Yes, these brands may have lost control — yet they have gained a greater opportunity to maintain loyalty.

And seek out those brands that are executing within new success factors. In the past, marketing got by on meaningless metrics that didn’t necessarily affect the bottom line. Now home and building product brands have the ability — through the advances in technology — to better monitor the results of marketing efforts and connect to the end goal of driving sales: value and success which is measured in outcomes, not outputs. After all, “doing” is now the key to differentiation. And no doubt the victory lane will be reserved for those who refused to hesitate and faced in a direction that others feared.

Our industry is being redefined by brands that are more nimble, tech savvy, open and collaborative. Its leading brands will be strong and sustainable, based on their willingness to be in a perpetual state of change and their ability to execute and adapt faster than their competitors.

We hope to see all of our friends and partners in Las Vegas later this month. In preparation, I’ve listed a few recommended brands that are delivering better on this new paradigm for you all to place on your “must see” lists. Read our IBS 2013 Preview here.