Branded

Craig Patchin
July 17, 2018
THE TALK... | Sales & Marketing

In the early stages of any industry, innovation is active. The winners are those who tightly integrate design, production, sales and marketing. Take the auto industry as an example: because the products (cars) were not quite good enough and needed constant improvement, proprietary integration allowed leaders to create better and more reliable vehicles. After some decades, owners could rely on buying great autos from many brands and the commoditization of the industry was in full swing, giving us the plethora of brands we have today, and pushing out the Oldsmobiles of the market.

Windows and doors have gone through a similar maturation. While many dealers would enter heated arguments about why “their” brand outshines others, the reality is there are multiple legitimate brands which are more than good enough for the task, in many cases offering a similar level of performance, options, aesthetics, and project outcomes to end users. What does this mean for window and door dealers? 

First, understand that your company brand is your business’s identity, not necessarily the brand of any product you sell. A specific product isn’t the single most important feature necessary for your brand to be elevated—it is the product with great systems support. A superior product that is hard to price, has an extended lead time compared to others, often ships incomplete, and is not supported by accurate and easy-to-use logistics and support is not a partner that is easy to build a great dealer brand with. Note these have nothing to do with the product itself.

Finally, move this out to the end user. What is the experience they have, based on the systems and features you provide? Is your brand solid and reliable? What have you invested to ensure better communication, more reliability, fewer dealer errors and lower costs of operation? Is it easy to do business with you? Is the experience memorable, in a positive way? Start to make investments in your brand and become selective in the partners you choose to sell before you become the Oldsmobile of your market. 

Craig Patchin is the owner of Window Design Center in Madison, Wisconsin. A 23-year veteran of the window and door industry, Patchin also serves as a principal of PATH|ERP, a software company devoted specifically to window and door dealers.