What’s in a name?

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Brand recognition helps dealers sell more Scotchgard

October 26/November 2; Volume 30/Number 10

By Nadia Ramlakhan

The Scotchgard brand is still thriving more than 60 years after its introduction, now a household name synonymous with soil, stain and water resistance for flooring, furniture, clothes and more.

When it comes to the flooring industry, Scotchgard provides carpet treatments for major manufacturers including Beaulieu, Mohawk, Congoleum and Godfrey Hirst; the result is a superior product with a name and reputation that resonate with consumers.

“Their products are everywhere,” said Desaray Noel, director of purchasing and quality assurance at Avalon Flooring, with multiple locations throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. She added that all of the brand’s associated qualities tend to carry over into flooring when the consumer is in the market to buy.

“People know [Scotchgard] because they see it in other products, so when they see it [in floors] it’s something familiar they latch onto—something they know. Everyone knows they are a big company and they’ve been around for such a long time. People can buy Scotchgard cans at the store to spray their furniture; all of the merchandise, the POP kits and everything they have—it’s definitely a name recognition thing and that’s why customers are more likely to choose a Scotchgard product.”

Steve Lewis, president of Lewis Carpet and Home in Northbrook, Ill., said that Scotchgard’s promise of protection helps him close more sales. “We do a lot of business with Godfrey Hirst and their synthetics are treated with Scotchgard stain protection. They are at an extremely aggressive price point and the fact that they perform as well as they do allows me to sell them with confidence.”

The winning combination of a quality product backed by Scotchgard’s technology is what Lewis said differentiates his proprietary brand. “Because of the stain protection they have and the products being exceptionally valued and well-colored, they have been a huge success for me. The brand in our store is Lewis Floor and Home, but the sub-brands are really important—whether it be Karastan, Daltile, [etc.]—because they help support the brand that is Lewis Floor and Home. Anything that helps differentiate me from everyone else is a good thing. So if you couple 3M with a good carpet manufacturer and our brand, it is easy for me to sell, make money and do the things I need to do.”

From a shopping standpoint, customers don’t necessarily go into stores asking for Scotchgard; however they do automatically feel reassured after hearing a name they have come to trust over time. “Directly or indirectly, [customers] always ask, ‘Is this product protected from stains?’” Lewis said. “If we can say to them, ‘Yes it’s got Scotchgard on it,’ it eliminates that fear. And if you can eliminate that fear, that is one more buying objection that gets removed from finally making the sale. It’s not the most important part of the sale, but it certainly adds value because if [stain protection] wasn’t there we would have to dance around the issue.”

While a customer wants to make sure the flooring she is about to buy does indeed come with added stain protection, she isn’t often fooled by a generic name or brand. “3M is associated with quality products and consumer goods and therefore adds value to the finished product,” Lewis continued. “When the customer understands it has 3M protection, she believes she is getting a product that is safe; that is almost always the case, especially with our more affluent or particular customers. If she hears ‘Joe’s Stain Protection,’ she thinks, ‘What does that mean?’”

Advertising plays a key role in relaying the brand’s message to consumers in addition to letting them know which products contain Scotchgard protection. According to Randy Thornton, president and co-founder of Randy’s Carpet Plus in Conyers, Ga., dealers should display this particular feature of a floor because “it’s a name brand and people want to see those.”

He attributes years of experience to his success with Scotchgard. “Over the years, it’s been driven into everyone’s heads—it’s got to be on there, it’s the biggest name out there. And it still is the biggest name out there. When customers see the label on the back of the carpet they are confident they are getting something valuable. With 3M Scotchgard on there, it means something to them; they know they’ve got stain protection and they believe in it. If it’s not on the carpet, people don’t want it. Basically they need selling and when they see that label, it’s sold.”

Building on its successful history, 3M continues to explore new ways to evolve based on feedback from customers. “There’s a couple of ways we do this,” said Dave Cheatham, Scotchgard laboratory manager. “Because we’re in the consumer business, one of our big focuses is consumer insights so we do a lot of marketing around the consumer as well as our direct customers. We get feedback from both groups as far as trends and what they are looking for. We also understand that there are changing generations, so there are different communication channels that we are reaching out through as well. On top of that, all of that feeds into our product development cycle to develop superior products in comparison with the competition we have on a global basis.”

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