G3: Industry insiders talk glass

How do you keep your brand fresh?


Steve Fronek, vice president, Wausau Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, Wis.

Keeping a brand fresh goes beyond issues of style. Branding and [research and development] go hand-in-hand. Active involvement in trends in the industry such as [Building Information Modeling], green, dynamic glazing and blast hazard mitigation will project an image of leadership.

Managing a brand involves a balance of consistency and creativity. Identity and communications standards are essential in maintaining a consistent, professional and recognizable style in print and online.

With online communications--from Web sites to e-newsletters to social media--expectations are high for frequent visual and informational updates to the user interface and on-demand interaction.



Mark Pritikin, president, Creative Mirror & Shower, Addison, Ill.

For Creative Mirror, we first decide what key marketing messages we want to deliver to our target audience and then we update our marketing materials periodically to communicate those messages. For example, our Web site became static over the last few years, so we recently gave it a complete overhaul. That project created a snowball effect as we then wanted to update everything else, from our company brochure to our "on hold" recording for the phone system.

We realized that over the last year and half, we have introduced new products and opened a new showroom in downtown Chicago. To keep our brand fresh, we need to get the word out on what's new at Creative Mirror. While we prominently display our logo on everything we from letterhead to company trucks, it is the messages that surround the logo that that keep the brand fresh. If you think about it, McDonald's and Coke have been keeping their brands fresh for years with new marketing messages while empasizing their logos (Golden Arches, Coca Cola) for brand recognition.



Rich Walker, president and CEO, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Ill.

The big talk this year has been the uptick in sales from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how soon these sales will translate into a firm recovery. Given the pending business turnaround, it¹s important to keep your brand fresh to differentiate your products in a highly competitive market. Consider the following recommendations:

  1. If your products meet the stimulus tax credit criteria, let your customers know.
  2. Consider renaming your product lines to emphasize their energy efficiency benefits.
  3. Ensure that your Web site is customer friendly and information is easily accessible.

There are many other ways to set your products apart. Everyone in your company can contribute to the success of the brand. Ask your marketing staff to sit down with the engineers, sales people and others to better understand the products and what customers are seeking. Innovation during these difficult times is a key to differentiating your company from your competition.