Green products and services work in harmony
The market for environmentally friendly appliances is emerging as consumers meld the idea of creating a more harmonious indoor environment with taking action to support Mother Nature in the wider world. And it helps that the world’s largest retailer is supporting the trend.
John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s chief marketing officer, said at the company’s annual meeting last month, that it will continue to pursue the various sustainability efforts it has launched, encouraging vendors to develop more energy-efficient housewares as it pursues its green agenda. He said an opportunity exists to build on demand for greener appliances and, thus, to expand the market for sustainable products, which in turn lead to greater demand, more innovation to better suit consumer preferences and, as a result, heightened expectations in a snowball effect that can benefit the retailer, its customers and its vendors.
A recently released Hartman Group study indicated that, to be successful, companies should align green products and services with evolving consumer lifestyle preferences and concerns. It cites the steady growth in markets for water filtration and air purifiers as among those trends that demonstrate how perceptions of local environmental risk already have translated into household purchasing behavior.
Housewares vendors who act on consumer concerns may become early participants in a growth market. As sustainability issues hit closer to home, consumers will look to help from new and established suppliers. On the recycling front, for example, ecopod has developed a home recycling station that processes glass, aluminum and plastic containers to make recycling and redemption easier.
Yet it is in the appliance category where consumers are increasingly perceiving need. “There is no end of increases in the price of energy as natural resources are depleted,” said Danyel Tiefenbacher, a Bosch brand manager. “Consumers are starting to feel that in their wallets and it grabs their attention. They see that issue first then see beyond.”
Long a leader in developing environmentally friendly appliances, Bosch recently has made a conspicuous commitment to promoting how appliances can contribute to a better environment. Bosch recently won an award for promoting efficient Energy Star appliances and, last month, kicked off an online Green Resource Center at www.boschappliances.com that provides tools such as the Energy Savings Calculator, which helps consumers compute the annual energy savings for Bosch appliances. It also offers a localized Rebate Finder that links to the Energy Star site.
Just this month, Bosch launched a campaign for its major appliances using analogies to underscore how consumers can help the environment by using them. One ad declares: Using this dishwasher could be the equivalent to preserving a 3.4-million-acre forest.
Consumer-centric product innovations include a button Bosch has put on some washers that gives users the option of using an energy-saving lower temperature/longer time cycle setting when schedules allow.
By creating and promoting greener appliances that don’t skimp on quality, Bosch is among the suppliers helping to set Fleming’s snowball in motion.
Hooker names upholstery head
MARTINSVILLE, Va. Hooker Furniture has appointed Alan Cole to the new position of evp of upholstery, in which he will oversee the operations of Hooker Furniture subsidiaries Bradington-Young and Sam Moore Furniture.
In addition to overseeing the operations of Sam Moore and Bradington-Young, Cole will help develop further growth plans for Hooker’s imported accent chair product line. He also will be involved in strategic planning for HFC and will oversee any future acquisitions of upholstered furniture operations.
Cole, who has held senior executive positions at leading upholstered furniture companies including Broyhill, Berkline and Schnadig, “has the expertise in upholstery that uniquely qualifies him to help us realize one of our strategic objectives, which is to become a more important and complete upholstered furniture resource,” said Paul Toms Jr., chairman, ceo and president of Hooker Furniture.
Best Buy selects new ad agency
MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy announced Thursday that it has chosen BBDO New York as its advertising agency for the Best Buy brand. The selection of BBDO follows a multi-month-long review for the Best Buy brand account, which was previously handled internally.
“We believe this partnership with BBDO New York will enable us to support the company’s aggressive growth goals and to build and enhance our capabilities,” said Ruby Anik, Best Buy’s senior vp of marketing communications. “We are excited to leverage BBDO’s creative expertise, brand experience and spirit of collaboration in further differentiating Best Buy as the consumer’s trusted guide to technology solutions.”
BBDO New York’s scope of work will include account planning, ad strategy and execution, and media and consumer connection planning. Estimated billings, as measured by media spending, will be $170 to $200 million. The firm will begin work immediately on internally-focused projects supporting Best Buy’s brand position.
In addition, Best Buy will expand its relationship with Crispin, Porter + Bogusky beyond Geek Squad to partner on business development and in-store activation opportunities for the Best Buy brand.