Flooring America - Staying Ahead of the Curve
Businesses across the world have been feeling the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis over the past few months. No industry has seen anything quite like this in a very long time, if ever. Still, there are opportunities for brands to provide value amidst the chaos. And the brands that react more nimbly will fare better in the long term.
We have been working very closely with our longtime client, Flooring America, to do just that.
Flooring America is a national flooring co-operative with more than 300 locally owned locations. Wanting to stay ahead of the curve, so to speak, our teams made some quick decisions to help keep the Flooring America brand relevant amidst this period of social (and often brand) distancing. We put these decisions into some overarching actions we believe will inspire you—whether you are in the retail business or not.
Through Brand Action
5 ways flooring america stayed ahead of the curve
Search Your Soul
As we all observed, after the COVID-19 “lockdown,” many brands responded with very similar messages. And in many cases, this did more harm than good. Especially in times of crisis, it’s critically important to do some brand soul searching. So that the message you send (or action you take) comes from an authentic, believable place. For Flooring America, our core brand truth is that we believe in the power and value of friendship. We reminded people of this with a :30 video spot that did not promote anything or offer any pricing—just simply reminded everyone that we’re here for them, like any good friend would be, if and when they need us. Again, the line between staying relevant and overstepping in a time like this is very delicate. But it’s about getting to the core of what your brand represents, and how it can authentically provide value.
Take Decisive Action
Even without a crisis, acting quickly can be the difference between leading a category and coming off like you’re copying a leader. But for Flooring America, this lesson became even more important given how quickly the landscape was changing. Focus groups? Decision committees? Not an option. In fact, we established a nimble team that reevaluated some former initiatives that had not been fully realized, such as fast-tracking a “shop at home” initiative—allowing businesses to continue to operate and serve customers even when no one was allowed to leave their homes or come into retail establishments.
Being promotional at a time like this can come off as tone-deaf. But if you’re transparent about why you’re promoting an offer, it can be a powerful thing. For Flooring America, this meant offering a deal that truly signaled change to customers, yet still enabled flooring store members to see enough of a profit. Even if customers aren’t financially or emotionally ready to make a purchase now, they know Flooring America is doing everything possible to make things easier for them.
The User Experience
One thing a brand should never do during an economic crisis is take a wait-and-see approach. As the country, and the world, prepared to stay huddled inside, conducting a lot more business online—Flooring America knew their online shopping experience needed to become a priority. So for any brand, reevaluating the UX strategy during a crisis can help ensure your customers experience the path of least resistance to making a purchase. In Flooring America’s case, they fast-tracked a redesign of their online product catalog to ensure potential customers could quickly and easily find the flooring they would need, since browsing in a retail environment could not happen.
Check Your Pockets
Your brand may have offerings that haven’t been brought out or highlighted recently. The economic landscape has obviously changed, and suddenly aspects of your brand might shift in priority. For Flooring America, one example of this was “room visualizer” technology—something we always included in promotions but could now place more emphasis on, given the fact that people weren’t strolling into showrooms.
Make no mistake, we’re not saying these steps are right for every brand. But sitting on the sidelines is the last thing you want to do. Be sure to follow our weekly series for more business and marketing strategies that can help you take action and move your brand forward. And if you’re looking for a little more insight, check out the video spots mentioned above.
As always, a big thank you to Flooring America and Frank Chiera, CCA Global Partners SVP of Marketing and Advertising, for sharing these insights with us in hopes of helping other brands in the future.