Consider this: The PR wheels are in motion this week as several award announcements in the home building and home products categories have been made. Shaw carpeting won two Addy awards for their graphic presentation of the companyâ€™s 20-year environmental journey. They were on the â€œgreenâ€ road before it was builtâ€”not a bad thing when you consider the growing popularity of the green building trend. You can bet that prospective buyers will be looking at Shawâ€™s products more closely.
BOWA Builders (from McLean, Va.) won the 2006 Remodeler of the Year award, which sponsored by Professional Remodeler. CEO Larry Weinberg pointed out that one of their goals as a company is â€œnever to peak as a business,â€ and to continue its focus on strategic planning and exciting growth. BOWA Builders Director of Marketing, Kathy Kelly noted that they would not have achieved 19 years of continued growth without â€œemployee buy-in.â€ It is safe to assume that BOWA Builders will get more phone calls because of this hard-earned recognition.
What do awards have to do with surviving a business downturn? Itâ€™s what they represent. Look at the adjectives and nouns that describe these and other award-winning companies. Some of these would include the usual, such as: exceptional product quality, innovation, professional service, and superior operations, but we also noted terms like â€œcommitment,â€ â€œvisionary,â€ â€œcontribution,â€ â€œpioneers,â€ and â€œleader.â€
Do these terms describe your company? What positive tags have your customers applied to your brand, considering that they always vote with their pocketbooks? Better yet, given your customer tagged brand attributes (hopefully positive!), how well are you leveraging this with your current marketing?
We have seen several companies weather the housing downturn, by concentrating on the consumer market within the large home products retail channel. Building products manufacturers that depend on new home building and remodeling activity may not be able to use the same strategy; therefore, they would be wise to concentrate on the business facets they can control until the new homes sales market picks up.
Here are a few questions that can help guide your company towards creating and maintaining a strong brand, even during tough times:
- Look at the above list of words, add to them and choose several to help strengthen or clarify your current company strategy â€“ with your current operations, will customers let you â€œownâ€ those terms?
- Do your employees have a flag to rally under and do they know what they are â€œfightingâ€ for?
- Have you tightened up your customer service operations so that your sellers find it a pleasure doing business with you? Will you be able to ramp up smoothly when the market returns?
- Do you know if your message is strong, clear and effective? Are you reaching your customers within the right medium and are your expectations real?
Award-winning companies that have their marketing machine well oiled share one thing in common â€“ increased chances of profitability. You may not be able to do much about the current market demand for your products, but if you have your employee bases covered, your operations streamlined, your manufacturing efficient, and lastly, a good, strong message (used consistently in the right targeted medium), you will be a standout in a market downturn and be even more profitable when the market returns. Thatâ€™s award-winning brand magnification!