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Amway and Autos – Lessons in Branding, UnBranding and ReBranding for Manufactured Housing

October 13th, 2013 No comments

Perhaps the best time to write a column on branding, unbranding and rebranding is prior to the Fall Leadership forum of the National Community Council (NCC) at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Their workshop on that topic will be one of the items yours truly plans to take in with keen interest, as it is something we deal with routinely in our marketing, sales training, website building and consulting.

The Business Dictionary defines branding like this:

“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”

Let's begin with a fundamental principle to rapidly drive home the point for today's topic.

The value of branding a product or service is dependent in part on the perception and demand of the product or service in question.

For example, autos are in demand. Branding your car company or dealership makes sense, because Ask reports that in 2011, 12,778,885 cars, trucks, SUV and other automotive types were sold in the U.S. alone. Branding your product and/or service to grow your piece of the automotive pie in such a huge market makes perfect sense.

The Free Dictionary defines rebrand as follows:

rebrand [riːˈbrænd] – (Business / Marketing) (tr) to change or update the image of (an organization or product).

As an example, if your company's brand in automotive is suffering, you'd want to consider rebranding.

Let's imagine for a moment that an import auto company like Yugo wanted to change their image, rebranding combined with improved quality controls, marketing, service and sales training could have made the kind of sense that could have saved that automaker from 'crashing and burning' in the U.S. car market.

Almost no one in our industry (besides us and some of our select clients) grasp and use the powerful concept of parallel paths and unbranding, along with when it makes sense to use this principle.

Macmillan defines unbranding as:

Unbranded goods are not marked with a name of the company that makes them.

light-bult-with-trapped-man-credit-flickrcc-swarno-kamal-posted-cutting-edge-blog-manufactured-home-pro-news-mhpronews-.png

What if your dealership, community – or the industry at large – has an image issue? Does rebranding make the most sense? Or would a possible combination of unbranding and/or rebranding make more sense?

Before you answer, consider this fact. Manufactured housing has tumbled from having 21% of the new home starts in the last 20 years to some 8-12% in more recent years.

So rebranding in a shrinking market is like deciding to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Wouldn't you rather go after the large housing marketing place, by whatever strategies are necessary to get you there profitably?

Lessons from Amway and Unbranding

As an example to drive home the point, think about Amway. How many people do you know that have run out to sign up to sell or buy vitamins, home cleaning products etc. from a multi-level marketing (MLM) distributor or company?

The image of MLM in general isn't that hot and hasn't been for many years! So what does a savvy MLM distributor or company do? Answer: they teach their marketing minded distributors to avoid the company name and the marketing method in their initial contact.

In no small measure due to their dual campaign of unbranding and branding, Amway became a multi-billion dollar empire for its founders and made millions for key 'direct distributors.'

At MHC-MD.com and in part via our LATonyKovach.com – websites, marketing, training and coaching platforms – we have garnered dozens of recommendations and hundreds of endorsements by using a proper combination of branding, unbranding and rebranding, along with other proven strategies.

Which of these – branding, unbranding and re-branding – does your operation need? The answer to that question can be worth millions to you and billions to our industry. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for October and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Haircuts, Hamburgers, Modular and Manufactured Housing

October 16th, 2011 No comments

We can't all give each other haircuts.  We can't all just flip burgers in restaurants.  Check out lines are necessary, but we can't all be in retail stores.  Someone has to produce something!  Producing nations – be it production in agricultural, energy, raw materials as well as goods (i.e.: manufacturing and building) – are historically more powerful, more independent than non-producing nations.

Haircut_wikimedia_commonsSo while you can have "a service economy," in fact, the service economy over time compared to a production economy – all things being equal – will tend to see the producing nation gaining in wealth and power.

To be sure, this is an over-simplification, one designed to make a point.  There are other factors, such as the political system one works in.  Part of what made America great and so rapidly growing after the Revolution was our freedom, relatively lower taxation and less corruption than many other nations. 

The point is that production is necessary for 'the wealth of a nation' and its people!  Sure we need teachers, doctors, nurses and scientists.  We also need people who build homes, buildings, cars, computers, shoes, clothing and those who produce on a farm, ranch, etc., etc..  When we have more people making and producing – intellectual production can count too – then we can actually have more people giving haircuts and hamburgers (service jobs), who can make more money doing it. 

What does this have to do with marketing modular and manufactured housing?  Plenty! As you will see below.

While America has had a long love affair with the automobile, housing is a far more important part of the U.S. economy than cars.  The basics of life are food, clothing and shelter.  While transportation is important, you can transport people in many ways.  By contrast, housing is necessary for survival.

Potential Market Demand for Housing, Factory Built and other

A smart marketer (or business owner/executive) wants to know many things, including the need for the product or service he or she wants to promote.  The marketer also wants to know what the potential demand for the product or service can be.  With that in mind, let's take a look at some facts.

On October 9, 2011, we had 312,387,546 Americans according to the U.S. Census Bureau's population clock. More facts:

        OCTOBER 2011
   
    One birth every………………………………………………….   8 seconds
    One death every………………………………………………   12 seconds
    One international migrant (net) every……………… 45 seconds
    Net gain of one person every…………………………..  13 seconds

Look at the population patterns since 1980:

    Year.   Population.          %/+

    1980    226,545,805        11.5%
    1990    248,709,873         9.8%
    2000    281,421,906        13.2%
    2010    308,745,538         9.7%

What does all this mean?  By July 1, 2030, the United States Census Bureau says we will have a population of 363,584,435, less current population of 312,387,546 yields a net gain of an estimated 51,196,889

Side_walls_are_constructed_and_Placed_onto_Floor_System wikimdia commons posted on MHProNews.com Cutting Edge in Online Marketing Blog

 

Using the current 2.57 people per household, we will need 19,920,968 new housing units by 2030, PLUS the need for the number of homes that will be retired or lost due to fire, natural disaster, deterioration and similar factors.

If manufactured housing captured an average of 20% of this market need for housing, we would have to build 3,984,194 homes by 2030.  This is roughly what the Industry has averaged in as our housing market share in the past 20 years, so this is not an unrealistic number.

That is 209,694 homes a year.  That's roughly 4 times what we are currently producing! 

We would need to add about 150,000 jobs in factories alone to meet that need.

That would mean whatever your part of the Industry is, you would need to do about 4 times more business, or in the case of manufactured home land lease communities, you would likely be full and adding sites where possible.

Frankly, I believe we should be targeting a lot more than 20% market share.  But my point is even at 'historic' levels, those who survive have the opportunity to thrive.

Problems spell opportunity in disguise

Ladies and Gentlemen, we can't get bogged down in thinking about just the current housing downturn and the forclosure glut the media loves to focus on.  In fact we are awash in opportunity in the housing business in the U.S. alone.  But let's not forget the need for housing in other parts of North and South America. Think about the housing needs of Asia (where 60% of the world's population currently lives), or Africa, Europe,  Oceania and the rest of the world.  We could be shipping homes overseas, IF we get our 'act' together as rapidly as possible.

With incomes down and population rising, American home building – in factories! – offers a huge opportunity.  Energy and other sectors of the economy are important, but we are in some phase of the factory home building industry and we can uniquely able to serve every part of the population.

A smart business professional should think about a two parallel paths to present and future success.

Path 1: A Plan to grow your businesses' share of your location's housing market. 

Plan 2: A Plan to advance the image, acceptance and thus marketing potential of factory built homes.

To summarize, the facts support the reality that housing is heading for a boom.  With so many site builder's decimated and out of business, manufactured and modular construction may be uniquely well poised to take advantage of that coming boom.  300 factories now shuttered in the last 12 years could rapidly be tooled up and re-opened. 

But we have to deal with and implement a marketing and image program in order to achieve that potential!

Path 1 is the subject of our popular Dominate Your Local Market Seminar that was presented at the recent Texas Manufactured Housing Association and New York Housing Association annual meetings.   It is supported by the Attracting More Customers  with Good Credit Seminar that will be presented Wednesday, October 19th at the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association's annual meeting.  If you are planning to attend, please say hello after the presentation and share your feedback.

Path 2 are reason we should be pursing the MH Alliance/Phoenix project, so we can boost sales and improve results now, and continue to do so on into the future.  Read a news story about the project here.

To learn how we can help boost your marketing and business results now, click here.# #


blog post written by
L. A. 'Tony' Kovach

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach