Stock the Brands You Trust
Brands and products with integrity will better serve your customersDecember 11, 2013 By David Wardleworth, Vice President of OmniMount, branded products
You’ve already invested plenty to ensure you have a brand that your customers trust; one that delivers on the promise of quality and service. Are the brands that you’re placing on the shelves doing the same? The company behind the product may have a bigger impact on your bottom line than you think. Especially if they are failing on any of the brand integrity markers - product quality, service quality, and social and environmental responsibility - that promote ultimate brand satisfaction. People like brands that are like them.
In the social world we live in, we’ll gladly tell others about the product and the store it was bought from. So how do you stay out in front of the positive-brand parade in the accessories category?
One way is to choose brands that meet and exceed CE industry product standards. Take UL ratings for example. They are benchmarks from an unbiased third party in consumer safety, and attest to the quality of a product. Having products UL listed isn’t mandatory, and not all manufacturers pay for testing. Requiring mounts and other accessories to carry a UL marker ensures their quality and also protects your customers from potentially unsafe products. They also protect your brand byassociation.
(For years, the mount industry was tested to the UL 1678 standard, which made provisions for mounts but was actually outlined for furniture. The testing was sufficient, but didn’t necessarily take into account all the variables of wall mounts, like the lifetime cycle use of a product. UL has since developed a more appropriate standard specific to mounts: UL2442. In addition to the new standard, UL is launching a targeted marketing campaign to reach and educate consumers. As consumer awareness grows so will the demand for UL rated products.)
Another marker to consider when exploring brand integrity is a manufacturer’s commitment to service, not only to the retailer through the ordering process, but also for consumers after they buy the product. Do they offer multiple contact options for reaching the company, in multiple languages, to serve various parts of the world? Do they stand behind their products with warranties and service programs? From the website to the person answering the phones, every point of the customers experience is a brand experience. Brands with integrity will take the time to help ensure that process is smooth throughout the buying cycle. A company that invests in its products and employees is more likely to stand behind you and your customers with exceptional product standards as well. Investing in in-house industrial design and engineering, testing facilities, and global customer service gives a company the ability to quickly and efficiently address needs. It’s important to work with partners that stand behind their products and make things right if something goes wrong.