Benjamin Moore recently kicked off the most robust advertising campaign in its company history, entitled “Paint Like No Other.” The roughly $50 million dollar campaign is focused on Benjamin Moore’s belief in independent retailers and directly attacks the level of service that consumers receive at big box stores.
“We’re pursuing a more aggressive approach to communicating the differentiating factors that set Benjamin Moore apart from our competitors,” said Ron Schuller, Chief Marketing Officer of Benjamin Moore. “There’s a consumer perception that ‘paint is paint,’ and our campaign sets the record straight by focusing on our unparalleled product quality and personalized retail experience.” [Press Release]
On the Benjamin Moore website, the manufacturer states it is the “only paint maker that sells exclusively through independent retailers while purposefully avoiding distribution to big box stores” after having moved away over the years from selling through big box chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s and even Benjamin Moore’s wholly owned stores. Benjamin Moore is very clearly making a statement about its belief in independent retailers.
I recently experienced this disparity in service first hand. I remodeled my kitchen and wanted to paint the kitchen cabinets. With photos of my kitchen loaded up on my iPhone, I headed to the local Lowe’s, where I was directed to a massive wall of paint color with a dismissive “I guess you could check those out” from the paint department manager. After feeling overwhelmed, I headed the next morning to an independent Benjamin Moore retailer. Two smiling employees greeted me at 6:30am with a warm cup of coffee and asked me a number of questions about my color palette preferences, the type of lighting in my kitchen, and the colors of the adjacent rooms. Within 20 minutes, I left the retailer feeling stress-free and confident in the beautiful cobalt blue color that they helped me select.
When Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased Benjamin Moore in 2000, he appeared in a video release to the company’s employees and retailers, referring to Benjamin Moore’s independent dealers as “the lifeblood” of the company. Buffet wanted to ensure that his dealers would remain the company’s priority. The focus on independent dealers continued until 2007, when a new CEO, Denis Abrams, took the helm and began developing relationships with larger, regional dealers. Then, in 2012, Abrams came very close to signing an agreement with Lowe’s to sell Benjamin Moore paints in the big box chain. Buffet found out and axed the CEO, at a time that some say was too late — many of Benjamin Moore’s dealers felt alienated at this point.
Warren Buffet and Benjamin Moore’s new management have worked ruthlessly to support its dealer network ever since. The company’s ‘Paint Like No Other’ campaign does just this, with Phase 2 of the campaign directly attacking Home Depot and Lowe’s lack of personal, invested service in its customers.
Check out two of the campaign ads below, which poke fun at the service received from a big box store versus a local Benjamin Moore retailer.
Independent retailers are constantly threatened by larger chains who can command more competitive pricing and who can invest in massive advertising campaigns that overshadow the much smaller marketing efforts of independent retailers. If you are a manufacturer who sells through a mix of larger retailers and independents, it might make sense for you to start comparing how you support your various types of retailers. Are you dedicating entire teams to support your big box chains and regional retailers with customized marketing content? Are you neglecting your smaller retailers, who in reality need more support than your larger retailers due to limited resources and lack of sophistication? It might be time to stop ignoring your smaller retail partners, especially if your smaller accounts in aggregate make up a meaningful portion of your company’s revenue.
Independent retailers need to be supported. It’s your place, as a brand they sell in-store, to support them with marketing and help give them a fair shot at competing with larger chains in their neighborhood. Enter Promoboxx.
With Promoboxx, invite all your retailers to be able to easily promote your brand online, in a way that highlights their local store. Independents are often the pillars of their local community and have very strong local where to buy awareness. Promoboxx helps your independents highlight their store branding by co-branding all manufacturer content to each local account, then making it very easy for them to promote this content across important digital channels.