Case Study: How One Business Used Positioning and Branding to Succeed
Paul Provost, President
In a recent interview with a business leader that markets high-end custom woodwork/millwork products to consumers, we came across a great story to share about how companies with high-end brands can achieve differentiation by investigating niche positioning and great branding.
As is the case for many companies starting out, the approach to business and branding can shift over time. When this company started out, they entered the market in direct competition with U.S. manufacturers who sold “custom design packages,” ready-made kits manufactured overseas at minimal cost, with free “design services” to sweeten the deal. Originally, this company tried to compete in this market category but ended up rethinking their strategy. As a company truly invested in quality, and with a deep concern for their customers’ needs, they saw an opportunity to differentiate through brand positioning.
The team started by agreeing on what made them excellent: an unapologetic commitment to quality. Next, they enhanced their brand and website to appeal to discerning clients and implemented a fee for design quotes and estimates, as well as scheduling appointments with prospective clients. These actions not only qualify invested prospects but also establish respect for services, and can give brand a sense of true value.
In a display of true commitment to the brand, they even engaged a British voice actor to record their voicemail system, creating the sense of a truly world class establishment with modern sensibilities but with old world elegance. They stopped chasing smaller contracts with the understanding that their true goal was higher end work. This can be a difficult change in attitude at first, but the impact of this new position allowed them to carve out a specific niche in the marketplace and create differentiation where before there had been none.
As designers, builders and installers of luxury products, they sourced and obtained the North American rights to a unique product system that they built and installed on site. This helped draw crowds of admirers, and ultimately cultivate leads. They also invested in high quality print marketing, and even a handcrafted gift featuring each client’s name. A classic, clean website with a vast gallery of images told their brand story and promise, while search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click campaigns (i.e., Google AdWords) helped raise awareness among prospective customers. Throughout every tactic, the message was consistent: an investment in their product is an investment in distinguished craftsmanship of the highest caliber.
Committing to a luxury position can be intimidating at first, but can be ultimately beneficial. Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells people what to expect from your products and services. If you aim to attract high-end customers, you need to create a brand experience the quality of which is commensurate with your promise.
By investing in your brand in a big way, a major edge can be gained in increasingly competitive markets.