Here's how this 380+ store retailer created a new branding campaign just right for reaching out to customers, non-customers and lapsed customers.
Furniture World recently spoke with Barb Scherer, Vice President of Marketing at W.S. Badcock Corp and its retail store brand Badcock Home Furniture &more. Before joining Badcock almost three years ago, she was on the ad agency side for over 25 years and served as Sr. Vice President of Regional Marketing at Fifth Third Bank, a Fortune 500 company.
380 Stores & Growing
“W.S. Badcock Corp is in its 117th year,” she said. The company was founded in Mulberry, Florida by Henry Stanhope Badcock. We have 380 stores in eight southeastern states and are continuing to grow. Badcock is a dealer network company, so we have both corporate-owned stores as well as dealer-owned stores. Beyond furniture and mattresses, Badcock sells appliances, electronics, computers, lawn and garden, and several other categories of merchandise, including generators.”
Carrying “essential” products in the early days of the pandemic allowed many Badcock Home Furniture &more stores to stay open when other furniture stores were shuttered. “At the height of shut down orders,” Scherer explained, “at most, only 20 to 30 percent of our stores were closed at a given time and they weren’t closed for long.”
Like many furniture retailers, Badcock experienced robust sales in categories associated with customers working and studying from home. “We definitely saw an increase in website traffic during that time as well as online ordering.”
Consumer Insight Research
Over these months of uncertainty, Badcock was also undergoing an ambitious rebranding initiative. By the time Scherer joined the company it had been a number of years since they had done substantial consumer insight research.
“The management team including senior executives and Badcock’s owners,” she said, “decided it was a good time to speak to customers and non-customers to better understand their perceptions about our stores and get a deeper understanding of the level of brand awareness versus our competitors throughout our footprint.
“In December 2019 we hired &Barr, a full-service advertising agency based in Orlando as Badcock’s agency of record.”
&Barr provides ongoing support for the brand's marketing initiatives. Badcock partnered with them to do research, creative, testing, production, media planning and buying promotional ads and digital banners.
“To prepare,” noted Barb Scherer, “the agency spoke with a number of our store managers, associates and dealer-owned stores. These initial conversations helped them discover what Badcock’s people were interested in and eager to see in terms of a new advertising direction.”
We started with
qualitative consumer insight research, doing multiple in-person focus groups.
“We started with qualitative consumer insight research, doing multiple in-person focus groups in three areas representative of the markets in which Badcock operates. Customers, non-customers and lapsed customers were included. Our goal was to understand their feelings and perceptions about Badcock. For those who still shopped with us, we wanted to know why they were loyal. For those who had never shopped with us or hadn't shopped us for four to five years, we wanted to understand how to better engage or reengage with them.
“We wrapped up our in-person focus groups a week or two before stay-at-home mandates went into effect. We are thankful that we were able to meet with people and speak with them one-on-one before all of that happened.”
Brand Tracking Study
“In late March and early April, when a lot of people were at home, we started doing quantitative research. A brand-tracking study was emailed out to measure brand awareness, perceptions, preferences and establish benchmarks to set the stage to track improvements over time. The response to this survey was great. What normally would have taken us a few weeks to complete, was wrapped up in about 10 days. Participation rates were high.”
Pictured above are a screen shot and still photos from the 30 second “Just Right” production shoot. The voice over audio for the “Peace” TV spot found at https://bit.ly/3dR4W7W says: “We all know when something feels just right. Like when you found the one. Or maybe ‘the one.’ It's the smallest victory, or simply a moment of peace. It's what feels good and what feels like home. It's different for everyone. But when you find it, you'll know. Because when something's just right, it's more than just a good fit. It's what fits our lives. Badcock Home Furniture &more. Just Right.”
Information Treasure Trove
“Once the research stage was completed, we worked with &Barr to collect insights and formulate a new brand strategy. The research yielded a treasure trove of information.”
Scherer explained that customers told stories about how Badcock fit into their lives. They shared anecdotes about shopping with their parents when they needed furniture for first apartments, for newborns, school-age children, teens and grown children. These were multi-generational stories.
“We heard stories about how Badcock’s financing options helped them to be able to make a furniture purchase. And why, when they would sometimes go to smaller, local furniture stores or larger big-box ones first, they would end up at Badcock.
Magazine ad reads: “Good moments always feel just right. If any place deserves to feel that way - it's home. We're honored to be your go-to place for making your house feel like home.”
“Our customers literally wrote the brand positioning and ad campaign for us. They told us how we fit into their lives and why we are just right for them.
“They said that when they walked into a Badcock Home Furniture &more store, the feeling was friendly. Also, that they felt at home, were served by neighborhood people who knew them by name and, that the prices, styles and financing options fit them just right.”
“Badcock finances in-house with our revolving credit, equal payment/no interest and no credit refused programs. We offer Snap as an additional option for our credit-challenged customers. This allows us to provide a financing solution that fits ‘just right’ for any individual’s or family’s needs.”
‘Just Right’ Tagline
‘Just Right’ became the tagline for the campaign. “We called it the Goldilocks effect,” Scherer recalled. “People shop here, they shop there, but they end up buying at Badcock because it is just right for them.”
Before switching over to the new branding, Badcock had a more price-item-financing approach to advertising.
“We’ve done a great job over the past several years using strong, monthly promotional campaigns, rotating several discount offers and specific-themed sales,” Scherer explained. “We don’t plan to abandon that. The purpose of the 'Just Right' campaign is to update our communications to do a better job of connecting emotionally with current customers, lapsed customers and those who shop elsewhere.
“During COVID many people realized just the importance of their homes and family. Badcock’s new advertising plays into this and reflects what the research told us. We will tell this story on video and TV spots going forward.”
Pictured are partial screenshots of the roughly 3.5 minute animated brand essence video which can be found on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2NOt4NP. The narrator begins by
saying “This is a story about a family. And, the feeling of ‘just right.’ And how Badcock Home Furniture &more fit perfectly into my life.”
“Throughout the process, the Badcock team worked closely with the agency. It was a partnership that resulted in the agency developing several creative concepts based on the consumer research analysis we did together. Late in the summer of 2020, these concepts were tested with consumers. 'Just Right' was the concept direction they most responded to.”
Brand Essence Video
“Before creating specific ad materials, we decided to produce an illustrated brand essence video. It was shared throughout the organization with employees, owner-dealers and store associates so that they would understand the brand positioning that we were aiming to accomplish. We didn’t plan to go public with the video, but it turned out to be such a good story that we posted it online and to our social media channels, so it is out there for consumers to see and understand our brand, as well.”
The messaging from the brand essence video was then encapsulated in a shorter-form video, basically 30-second TV spots. But instead of using the animation format, actors were used to relate the message.
“We did a four-day production shoot in Tampa to create the first two TV spots for our winter 2021 campaign. There were mask and social distancing requirements. Our production company had a chief COVID officer to oversee the process. We didn't hire normal craft services for the crew or talent. Instead, we catered individual boxed meals that were served outdoors.
“We cast real families, couples and families with children, keeping safety in mind. Then Hurricane Eta came through and we had to close down production early the first day so that we could make sure all the crew and talent were safe. We made up for lost time over the next three days.”
“Now that creative materials have been developed, Scherer said that Badcock Home Furniture &more’s media placements are evolving.
“Before COVID hit, we already started moving further into the digital advertising realm. During COVID we’ve continued to ramp up the use of digital channels in our media planning and buying.
“A few years ago, our primary media buys were broadcast and cable TV, plus print media. We've added streaming OTT and CTV to our traditional broadcast and cable. We're also out there using digital programmatic advertising across all devices, advertising on social media channels, and search engine marketing. Now we are exposed across the whole spectrum of available digital.”
We decided to produce an animated brand essence video. It was shared throughout
the organization with employees, owner-dealers and store associates
so that they would
understand the brand positioning that we were aiming to accomplish.
Badcock Home Furniture &more is also doing some digital radio, employing the same kind of targeting as used with streaming television services like Hulu. “We are in 38 DMAs,” Scherer noted. “So, we're doing some streaming radio in all of these DMAs, geotargeted around our store's trade areas.”
Barb Scherer concluded by telling Furniture World that “Here at Badcock Home Furniture &more we try to live our purpose, which is that everything we do is about helping our customers live better lives.
“This whole campaign—how it looks and feels was developed to connect with them using their input and insights. We believe that the messaging will connect positively with current customers, lapsed customers and consumers who haven’t found us yet to help the Badcock Home Furniture &more brand, now 117-years old, to continue to flourish.”
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