Nov. 25/Dec. 2, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 11
By Ken Ryan
The flooring industry’s largest manufacturer is seeking to make the biggest splash at the industry’s preeminent trade show this January. Indeed, Mohawk’s newly imagined 30,000-square-foot floor space at The International Surface Event (TISE) is designed to be a showstopper, featuring innovative products, persuasive storytelling and marketing programs aimed at helping retailers thrive in today’s increasingly competitive specialty retail arena.
Visitors to the booth will experience product stories designed to capture a consumer’s interest and drive her into retail stores in search of Master brands—Mohawk, Pergo and Karastan. “There is no better place to be than Surfaces; it’s the industry’s premier show where we can connect with our retail partners and the flooring industry as a whole,” said Paul De Cock, president of Mohawk Flooring North America. “Mohawk’s front-and-center presence communicates to our retailers that we are here to be the best business partner we can be with product solutions that the consumer needs and, more importantly, feels compelled to buy.” Mohawk’s reimagining of its show space has been ongoing since the 2019 show ended. Brennan Swing, vice president of creative media at Mohawk, has been working with the design team to create something perhaps not seen at a trade show. He explained his thought process this way: “Walking the floor and seeing how crowded it was [in 2019], we wanted our booth to be a respite, a place where you come and see products, experience our brand but feel comfortable at the same time—and stay for a long period of time.”
Swing said the Mohawk booth is all about experiential design—the art of combining interactive storytelling with environmental design to engage an audience. “Experiential is when all things come together in concert with one another. It’s the culmination of everything we do.”
Mohawk’s booth size is the same as last year, but will be reconfigured to focus attention on the Master brands (Mohawk, Pergo and Karastan) by conveying their uniquely different stories and go-to-market strategies. “Everything we do at a Master brand level is to drive consumers to the store,” said Laura Bartley, senior director of marketing communication and events. “The booth is set up to reinforce that. Each of the Master brands will have a journey with an entry point for each. Each brand has its own identity, look, feel and experience. Our customers are going to leave the space with a better understanding of who Mohawk is and what kind of business partner we are going to be.”What to expect
As flooring dealers and other visitors enter the space, they will hear stories and witness the innovation behind each of the brands, all supported by winning marketing programs. Each space will lead to an area of product displays mirroring a retail showroom. “Everything here has a purpose,” Swing explained. “We’re hitting all the senses—we have sound, world-class video and, in some cases, smell will reinforce the brand.”
The inspiration to reimagine came from De Cock. “He breathed new life into this company and how we want to go to market,” Swing added. “The experience all comes together at Surfaces.”
Mohawk’s Edge retailers will receive certain perks, including a VIP check-in area—a “Fast Pass” of sorts for access to the booth.
Mohawk’s reimagined space is just one element of its full- court press to wow show attendees. The company is kicking off TISE 2020 with a VIP Karastan Better Than Nature Intended event on Monday night before the show opening. The company’s leadership team will host Karastan retailers to celebrate the integration of hard surface into the 90-year-old Karastan brand.
“The Karastan brand is broadening its horizon with two unique collections of premium hardwood and luxury vinyl tile—taking Karastan from a category brand to a flooring brand,” said Karen Mendelsohn, senior vice president of marketing. “We challenged our craftsmen to search the globe for the best materials and designs. Not only did they seek out the rare and beautiful, they also found inspiration at every turn—allowing us to develop differentiated products for our retail partners, targeting more discerning homeowners. These floors are truly better than nature intended.”