kitchen magic

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I work with a kitchen remodeling company, Kitchen Magic, that has built a huge business offering something called cabinet refacing. Refacing is half the price of new cabinets because the old cabinet box is kept and a new “face” of wood and doors are attached to the outside.  In an unrelated example, Architectural Record, a venerable consumer and trade magazine, recently underwent a facelift of its own — new design, new cover, new masthead and logo. A rebrand or facelift, as it were.

Rebrands are all about taking something old and updating it. Sometimes it’s cosmetic. Sometimes it’s structural.

In the business of brand strategy, cosmetics and structure are secondary. At least they are at What’s the Idea? The process starts without an endgame in sight.  No architects plans, no site maps. Brand strategy is about as organic and alive as words and idea can be.

Working with a brand, I certainly understand business objectives and sales goals. But what the brand strategy will look like is a complete unknown at the beginning of the project.  The direction and science are not sealed until the paper strategy is complete.

Maybe, that’s why some companies are nervous about brand strategy. And why they prefer facelifts. They want to see what the finished product will look like before they begin.



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I help companies build brands by combing their business for evidence. Evidence is also proof but doesn’t turn into proof until later in the engagement — when we know what it’s proof of. (The “proof of what” is called the claim.) So at What’s The Idea? the brand exploratory is all about evidence.

If Kitchen Magic has remodeled 50,000 kitchens, that’s evidence. If Newsday provides more news coverage of Long Island than any other news source, that’s evidence. If Northwell Health delvers 42,000 babies that’s evidence.  And, if Trail Of Bits, creates a product that makes digital passwords obsolete, that’s evidence.

Marketing and advertising is tainted and ruined by too much claim and not enough evidence. 

When doing brand discovery I’m often inundated with generalizations. “Our kitchens are of the highest quality. We offer the best obstetric care. Our newspaper covers Long Island better than any other. We’re the leader in cyber security innovation.”  

These soft claims don’t help. If we can drill down so the claims are supported by evidence, then we have a place to start.



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“Sell more, to more, more times at higher prices” is a Sergio Zyman construct about the role of marketing. In an ideal world you’d like to do all 4. If you do all four, at the same time, you’re a marketing savant.  I work with a company Kitchen Magic that remodels kitchen cabinets for half the price of new. We replace the doors and drawers with new ones and wrap the outside of the old cabinets with a ¼ inch of new wood to match. Ingenious really. It transforms a kitchen quickly and inexpensively. Kitchen Magic has done thousands upon thousands.

If we look at Mr. Zyman’s marketing construct, refacing is an opportunity to sell “more times.”  A typical Kitchen is redone every 25 years. With refacing we should be able to reeducate the market so that people are willing to update their kitchens every 12 years. Most home owners have a price in mind when they think about redoing their kitchen. (And often that price was based on an experience from 20+ years ago.) If they knew what it really cost today, they’d be much more open to the idea.  

Kitchen Magic is on a mission to re-educate home owners as to the cost of kitchen remodeling today.  Consumers can now afford to remodel their kitchen every 10-12 years, rather than once or twice in a lifetime.  More times Mr. Zyman.

Every business needs to watch all the “mores.”







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Sell More.

There are many ways to make money in marketing. Sergio Zyman, ex-Coke CMO recites a few “Sell more, more times, to more people, at higher prices.” Elegant, no? I work with a kitchen remodeling company Kitchen Magic, owner of a smart business model. Without going into the secret sauce, let me just say they manufacture a good product, offer smart advice, install it well and quickly, and offer a warranty that outlasts the tastes of its customers.

One of Mr. Zyman’s ways to increase sales is to sell “more times.”  In the kitchen remodeling business, data exists that says how long a typical kitchen goes before it’s redone; let’s say that number is 16 years. A way for a remodeling company to increase sales would be to accelerate that timeframe. If they can cut it in half that would certainly have a positive impact.  So how do you accelerate the remodeling timeframe? Or how do you get people to buy a new car every 4 years rather than 6 years? How do you sell more times, or more often? You change your marketing arc. This is not done through a loyalty program, it’s done with deep dish marketing thinking. “Sell more” is one of the many marketing questions we all need to think about…more.



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