After 42 years of business, TimberTown is getting a brand-new look. The reason? “To get us in the best possible shape for the next generation,” says founder, Matt Stayner.
With so many changes in the world, and especially the world of marketing, Stayner says, “We realized that like a solid wood floor, we were due for good refinish. ” So with some help from Tenato Strategy, a marketing research and strategy firm, they dove on in.
Starting with Market Research
The beginning of the process involved talking to many of TimberTown’s customers and non-customers to understand the Company’s strengths and levels of awareness. This included homeowners and contractors in Calgary, Edmonton and Canmore.
“TimberTown’s staff knowledge and helpfulness was the big reason people came back,” says Jacqueline Drew, Principal Consultant of Tenato. “Clearly, TimberTown prioritized keeping staff long-term, and customers noticed a big difference from big box stores.”
The haziness was with those who didn’t shop at TimberTown, says Audrey Davidson, Director of TimberTown’s marketing. “If they’d never been to a TimberTown, they didn’t know what they’d find in there, versus a big box store. We didn’t have a clear message for those who had never been here.”
What Does TimberTown Sell?
After deep discussion with TimberTown’s team, Tenato’s team realized that although TimberTown didn’t carry everything under the sun, they did three things extremely well: flooring, interior doors/mouldings, and decking/fencing, and they had a vast selection of each.
“Within these three areas, we’ve got the competition beat,” says Stayner, “We can plan out the customers’ project, build the materials list, supply everything, and guide them through the finish line. We even have preferred contractors we can refer if the customer can’t do it all themselves.”
This led to the realization that instead of TimberTown being “less complete” than a big box store, TimberTown was more like three complete specialty stores all under one roof along with regular Building Materials.
Going Right to Town
This resulted in branding the three divisions within TimberTown, and matching it with a new look for TimberTown as well. The following are the new logos and division brands:
Tenato’s first suggestion was to call the divisions TimberDeck, TimberDoor and TimberFloor but Stayner had a better twist, putting the emphasis on the “Town” within the TimberTown name, as DeckTown, DoorTown, and FloorTown. The TimberTown steering team loved it.
The Town idea also spun into a theme around getting small-town guidance and service, with maps guiding customers through their home-improvement projects.
Tenato’s team brought the branding through with signage and interior store designs as well. “The three division signs make it very clear what TimberTown sells from the outside and inside – so people know exactly what they’ll find in store,” says Davidson.
A Promising Tagline
Added to this was a tagline: Pro guidance on every project. “We decided that the tagline shouldn’t feel like fluff,” explains Drew, “From doing the research, we knew their staff really followed through with customers, so the tagline has the feel of a serious promise.”
E-Commerce or not?
The team had great discussions about e-commerce, and whether to sell products online. The problem kept coming back to this: there are so many types of doors, floors, trims, hardware and supplies that customers really do need guidance from a Pro. “We don’t want people to accidentally purchase the wrong sizes, hardware, or trim that doesn’t fit. It just messes up their projects and gets them frustrated, ” explains Dick Karperien, COO.
Instead, TimberTown’s new website helps customers find products, prices, and build budgets, but instead of finishing the transaction online, “You can save or submit the order to our Pros, who go through and check it, and make sure it’s right first. Then they’ll guide you through if you have any problems.” says Karperien.
“TimberTown has always been about local, small-town service. But I think the new branding makes it clear what we do, and do well,” maintains Stayner. “Even online, we wanted to keep it personal.”