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Marketing Wins and Misses for Home Product Brands at Homearama 2017

At Power, we are all-in on home products, so we love to see how brands and dealers are marketing theirs to consumers. We spent an evening strolling around Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville’s Homearama event, held annually in July. The event featured nine fully furnished, custom-built homes, displaying the latest trends in home building and interior design.

Marketing at consumer-targeted home shows can be a challenge for installed home products that are naked to the consumer eye, behind the walls or simply taken for granted. These products often play second fiddle to the design and décor trends that are a high point of the show. A few home product brands and dealers did take advantage of this consumer marketing opportunity.

Here are some quick marketing wins and missed opportunities for the behind-the-scenes brands at Homearama 2017.

For the Win

Let’s start with the good news: Brands that made me raise my eyebrows and think, “I wouldn’t have remembered or even thought about [insert brand here], but now I will.”

Insulation

Graber Insealators of Louisville takes the prize for most innovative display. By replacing an attic entry door with a window, Graber gave visitors a clear view into the space to see foam insulation, which had been sprayed tightly into nooks and crannies and over attic beams. Just inside the window, right next to a chocolate bunny, stood a thermostat displaying the attic temperature. The point: Foam insulation will keep your attic cool on the hottest of days, so even a chocolate bunny won’t melt. A company representative was also on-site to speak to the benefits of the spray foam insulation, including energy efficiency. With a simple business card hand-off, I knew who to call for my insulation needs.

Honorable Mentions

Paint

It didn’t take an expert to recognize that neutral tones are the obvious paint trend, especially in main living areas. This year we saw more pops of paint color (reds, blues, pinks, oranges) in bathrooms, offices and bedrooms, however, which added a unique twist to these areas of the home.

While paint trends are readily noticed throughout the houses, the brand behind those paint colors is not. Sherwin Williams overcame this by placing a paint-swatch board at the home’s exit, recapping the paint colors featured throughout. With a quick snapshot of the board, any consumer could create a color scheme for their home, as seen in a custom-built Homearama home.

Patio Screens

Custom-built homes aren’t all about the inside. With outdoor kitchens, fire pits, pools and sprawling patios, the outside is a feature in itself. Screens of Kentucky took advantage of these spectacles through a live demonstration of remote-controlled patio screens, Phantom Screens.

A representative on the patio throughout the evening ensured each passing eye could see the fully-automated, wide-opening screens moving up and down—transforming the patio from outdoor to screened-in within seconds. An installed home product that certainly could have been missed became an eye-catching demonstration—and it certainly caught some eyes.

A few other unexpected installed home products included Invisible Fence®, whose large display reminded me that the pets of the houses have security needs, too, and ClosetsByDesign, who showed that innovative storage can bring organization to typically cluttered spaces.

Coulda, Shoulda

Overall, Homearama felt more “look and see” than “try and learn.” Earlier this year, at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and the International Builders’ Show, we noticed more emphasis on construction and durability of products. While trends on display at KBIS/IBS, including manufactured hardwood and copper showers, made their way into some Homearama 2017 homes, messaging about the customer benefits of these innovations didn’t seem to make its way back to the consumer this year. We saw a missed opportunity to use marketing tactics—from demonstrations to interactive displays to product samples—to communicate quality and durability benefits in addition to design.

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