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A new primer on paint marketing

BY Ken Clark

The other day, an HCN editor received an email from Cambridge — the one in England. A senior analyst and Ph.D. was asking for an example of an adhesive, paint or sealant product that has “transformed the market.”

Two thoughts came to mind.

1.) A feeling of pride. Our readers will be glad to know that PhDs in Cambridge — hailing from a place called “Cambridge Science Park” located on none-other than “Milton Road” — have turned to Home Channel News. What is one to do but accept the compliment and the reputation as a go-to source for knowledge and analysis and ready examples of case studies.

2.) A blank. Couldn’t think of any examples.

But after some reflection, an example dawned on me. A couple years ago, when Masco’s Behr division introduced its Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint with its promise of “paint and primer in one,” a transformation occurred. Here was a product that was soon to be studied, imitated, criticized in some quarters, envied in others, and — to a certain extant — demanded at paint counters everywhere.

Footnote here: It was actually our friends at Ames Research Laboratories that were first to market with a paint-and-primer-in-one product, according to Ames’ Peter Carey. The product, Ames Paint & Prime, came out about 20 years ago. But it took Behr and its Home Depot partners to make the phrase “paint and primer in one “ a household name.

Now here’s the news flash. Sherwin-Williams this week introduced a new high-end paint in the mid-$60-per-gallon price point. The company’s VP marketing research and design Karl Schmitt used the following terms to describe the new paint: “revolutionary,” “best in class,” “game changer” and “breakthrough.”

I was ready to bet $5 that Schmitt was about to drop “paint and primer in one” to his marketing pitch. 

I would have lost. 

I brought up the omission to Sherwin-Williams’ VP product development Steve Revnew — a man whose very name conjures the image of sales growth. He said quality, sustainability, color, consistency and performance were the goals and the buzzwords. “Paint and primer in one?” Not so much. 

“In most cases, a good primer combined with good paint works best,” he said. 

Few will disagree. But will Americans spend $60 per gallon for a new line of paint that doesn’t offer the one-coat-fits-all mold in an ultra-competitive paint market? That’s a question for those with Ph.D.s in reading the future.

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Lowe’s installer thrives in Dayton

BY HBSDealer Staff

Highfield Door Sales, a Kettering, Ohio, business that installs garage door openers for nine local Lowe’s stores, has purchased and is renovating a 20,000-sq.-ft. former wine and beer warehouse store to expand its operations, according to an article in the Dayton Daily News

The family-owned business, which started in 2009 with just one employee, currently operates out of a leased 1,700-sq.-ft. building in this Dayton-area town.

Owner Rodney Highfield told the newspaper he built his independent company from a personal sideline into a thriving operation that did $890,000 in sales last year, up from $600,000 in 2010 and $400,000 in 2009. The business employs seven workers. 

Highfield began installing garage doors for Lowe’s in 1995, shortly after being hired at General Motors. In 2006, he used his buyout check from GM to start the firm, which sells and installs garage, entry and storm doors and systems. 

In addition to the $225,000 purchase price, Highfield expects to spend $75,000 on renovations for his new facility.

 

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LoopRopes secure a spot on Wal-Mart shelves

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A tie-down tool called LoopRopes, designed to help safely transport cargo in the back of a truck or car, will find its way into Wal-Mart Stores, according to the Medford, Ore. Based supplier.

Wal-Mart Stores ordered more than 11,000 "LoopRopes" for 1,100 Wal-Marts from the company, making it Jeff Dahl’s largest wholesale order since inventing the product just over two years ago.  

LoopRope is a tie-down system that eliminates the daily use of dangerous and limiting bungee cords, overkill cargo nets, and most other light to medium duty tie downs. It was invented through trial and error after Dahl became frustrated with tightly knotted ropes and flimsy bungee cords during a trip to a dump.  

The utility of the product is on display in this video.

Initial permutations included lengths of rope with hitch knots using plastic zip-ties to create the tensions he needed, which worked but not the way he wanted.  "The zip-ties failed and sewing shock cord together proved to damage the cord,” said.  Trial and error led Dahl to forming permanent loops in shock cord by crimping aluminum ferrules and covering those with a plastic heat shrink.  His invention went patent-pending the latter part of 2009.

 

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