Brand is everything according to InHouse directors

Directors from UK kitchen distributor, InHouse Inspired Room Design, have urged retailers to embrace the power of the brand at this year’s kbbreview Kitchen Conference.

As reported in kbbreview, InHouse, which is the exclusive distributor for Schüller kitchens in the UK, has launched an advertising and marketing concept for the company, aiming to make the German kitchen specialist the “most recognised kitchen brand in the UK”. InHouse also represents Aster Cucine, Pelipal bathroom furniture and Nolte Delbrück bedroom and living room furniture.

Director Malo Tasle said: “We need to raise the professionalism of our industry, we need to stop thinking just about products but about brands. The brand is the most crucial element in the business environment. It denotes loyalty and brand image is critical to the success of a company. Looking at the world today, it’s easy to see why brands are more important today than in the past 100 years.

“Products have life-cycles and brands outlive products. We have developed a branding concept for Schüller, which suits the consumer profile we are aiming at and have put this branding in the major consumer magazines in the UK, but most of all its about generating leads for our network.

“It’s essential that any brand is recognised locally and nationally and has a consistent message throughout the network, from the advertising on the ground, which is a must, through to marketing in the showrooms.

“We have developed a marketing concept for our network that reflects our national advertising. All of this is helping our network become one of the most successful in the kitchen industry.”

Co-director Stuart Dance warned that it was more critical than ever that independents improve, as sheds continue to raise their standards. “The sheds have raised the bar and, because of their market share and advertising power, are becoming more of a threat to the independent.

“Although a lot of new showrooms have opened up, a lot of long-established showrooms have gone bust in the past six years. The sheds have taken advantage of this by employing knowledgeable business and sales people who once themselves were kitchen specialists, who have now had to find a job. The days of someone being called in from the paint department to sell kitchens have gone. You are now fighting against people who know what they’re doing, with knowledge of working in professional environments.

“Twenty years ago the average order value from one of these sheds was around £500, but a recent AMA research study now shows that a kitchen from B&Q or Wickes amounts to around £8,000, which is no longer a cheap kitchen. It simply can’t be ignored, no matter where the independent dealer thinks he is positioned in the market.”

As well as its branding exercise, Dance stressed the importance of designing showrooms “so you don’t look like a box seller.”

“What I’ve done in the past 10 years,” he said, “is encourage some of the smaller showrooms that look more downmarket, to elevate the level of their showrooms to set them apart. Where we may have had showrooms with eight to 10 small displays, we’ve chopped it back to four or five, creating larger display spaces, with a more ‘wow’ impact, so that as soon as the customer walks in the door they can see that they’ve come to a specialist rather than a box seller. This has worked great for us and improved the calibre of our network.”