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Going all-in on the home

How focusing on the home industry set us free

About a year ago, we launched a new brand position focused on the home industry. We claim, “Our proficiency in installed residential products is unmatched.” That’s not hyperbole.

This comes from an exhaustive and honest look in the mirror—asking ourselves to define and focus on what we do exceptionally well (and shed what we don’t).

Today, Power is offering a more client-centric approach to a specific vertical in an effort to bring unique insight, resources and capabilities to the table. It’s a decision to focus the agency on an industry where we can provide the most value to our current and potential clients.

‘I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.’ – Steve Jobs

The wretched decision to turn down business

I remember like it was yesterday. It was a crisp fall day and we gathered around a room to discuss the business. The anxiety was thick. Everyone seemed to have a bad case of nervous leg syndrome. We were a full service ad agency turning 40 and talking about…our value proposition.


Power was coming to grips with the reality that the marketing services playing field is leveling. Great creative, fast turnaround, and quality work are no longer the key points of differentiation. Technology and data are changing the entire paradigm. Content and delivery systems are converging. And if clients aren’t moving their marketing in-house, then they’re adopting a project-based mentality and exploring open sourcing across the talent and capability spectrum. Bye, bye Agency of Record.

Being a “generalist” agency with “everything under one roof” didn’t give us an advantage anymore. It was even a considered a liability in a growing number of eyes. And, from a business standpoint, it was becoming a Sisyphean task.

We couldn’t, in good conscience, be everything for everybody

“Most executives take great pride in showing off a long list of services and clients. Somehow they feel it is an indicator of their experience and competence. But most prospective clients have the opposite reaction. Just like the restaurant that insists on putting everything on their menu, the professional services firm that stands for everything ends up looking like they stand for nothing.” – Tim Williams, Ignition Consulting Group (1)

So, what did Power stand for?

What was our unique value proposition? And how did it fulfill a need for our current and potential customer in a better way than competitors’ offerings do?

We ask our clients to answer those very questions. Why shouldn’t we answer them about our own business?

Focusing Power’s position essentially forced us to decide what not to do and when to say no. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. It implies we would be turning down business (which we have).

But once we committed, it was liberating.

“The challenge for agencies amid this leveled playing field is bringing something new to the client. Agencies’ traditional differentiator, their creative output, is now something that can be sourced from anywhere. ” – Marc Pritchard, CMO, Procter & Gamble (2)

We know the home (and we knew it all along).

We’re a 40-year-old agency, so we’ve had the honor to serve countless B2B and B2C clients from industries across the spectrum of commerce.

But Power’s core competency always has been intimately linked to our residential product experience—especially with two of our largest accounts, GE Appliances and Lennox International, but also with our past experience with clients like Bentwood Cabinets, Thomas Lighting, Brown Jordan Outdoor Furniture and Lennox Hearth Products.

We weren’t blind to the fact that these accounts not only represented a huge segment of the agency’s billings (past and present), but also the vast majority of the agency’s intellectual capital.

88% of marketers feel it is important that the agency they hire specializes in their industry. (3)

Our depth of knowledge regarding the home product industry, and how products typically go to market, is extensive. We have entire departments completely devoted to home brands.

It is deeply rooted in our collective DNA with institutional knowledge about the unique marketing needs of businesses playing in the home industry sandbox. From the requirements of the contract channel selling inclusion packages to the complexities of managing and distributing product assets to retail channels, Power is designed to market home products.We decided to own it and go all-in.

“Because of the project-based mentality, marketers want to hire the very best—agencies that have expertise in a specific service, industry, audience, channel, etc. These brands aren’t hindered by location nor do they need the proximity to better manage a relationship. And due to the smaller project commitment, they don’t want to spend the time training and educating a partner on the specifics of their industry or audience. ” (4)

As a generalist agency, Power had to devote teams to numerous industry segments. Our resources inherently became fragmented, which lead to dilution of our value as a strategic partner. That wasn’t OK with us.

Our current (and future) clients deserve better.

Power’s brand position and value proposition give us a guiding light. We can leverage our history and build the future of the agency around a specific vertical market. And it empowers us to build a more sophisticated, client-centric infrastructure and service offering around the needs of home product brands.

From creative teams specializing in the kitchen & bath segment to the refinement of dealer lead-generation solutions (to name a few), Power’s structure is such that we are now evolving into a more valuable marketing partner with a singular focus.

We’re right at home.

(1) “Your Firm Is Defined By The Services You Don’t Offer”, The Ignition Consulting Group,
(2) The Ad Agency of the Future Is Coming. Are You Ready?
(3) “ Why Big Brands Hire Small Agencies,” Hubspot, February 11, 2016
(4) RSW/US Marketing & Agency Annual Survey Reports, 2015


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