Building Bathrooms Online
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Building Bathrooms Online

In 2000 American Standard asked Carmichael Lynch Spong to keep the site’s content and design fresh and interesting to consumers and trade professionals and continue leading the plumbing products category.

Paul Holmes

American Standard is the world’s largest manufacturer of bath and kitchen fixtures, yet the company’s luxury sales growth lagged behind competitors’ sales.  Consumer research found that American Standard products were admired for quality and value, but designs were considered “standard.”  The company also faced being outspent by its competitors in marketing dollars.
 
In 1999 American Standard turned to Carmichael Lynch Spong to create a new Web site (www.americanstandard-us.com) to provide first-hand product information to consumers and trade professionals.  In 2000 American Standard asked Carmichael Lynch Spong to keep the site’s content and design fresh and interesting to consumers and trade professionals and continue leading the plumbing products category with this interactive marketing tool.
 
RESEARCH
 
  • One-on-one interviews with trade professionals identified their on-line content needs.
  • An on-line search reviewed the sites of industry competitors.
 
PLANNING
 
Objectives
  • Increase frequency of direct communication with target audiences.
  • Generate qualified consumer and trade sales leads.
 
Positioning
Positioning was developed to speak to the aspirational mindset of targeted consumers: American Standard understands that the bathroom is centered around me.
 
Strategy
Develop new Web site design and content to keep visitors returning to the site and reinforce American Standard’s luxury positioning.
 
Target Audiences
  • Trade professionals who influence purchase decisions (interior designers, architects, builders and plumbers)
  • Consumers who will remodel or build a bathroom in the next 12 months; ages 35 to 64; HHI $75K, primarily female.
 
EXECUTION
 
Enhance luxury positioning by:
  • Creating a separate area to showcase luxury products.
  • Developing interactive photos to give site visitors a first hand look at the luxury products in a design setting.
  • Adding new luxury product information and photography.
  • Adding buttons to the splash page highlighting luxury products.
 
Add value to returning site visitors by:
  • Introducing the ClearTap Water Filtering Faucet, one of American Standard’s priority products for 2000.
  • Making the “Design Your Dream Bathroom” CD-ROM available for purchase on the site.
  • Providing easy-access links to key American Standard showrooms.
  • Supplementing the “Tips of the Trade” section with more frequently asked questions.
  • Offering new product catalogs: “The Collection” and Porcher’s luxury products brochure.
 
Improve navigation and administration by:
  • Creating a site map.
  • Streamlining administrative utility tools.
  • Improving database systems.
 
EVALUATION
 
Objective 1) Enhance direct communication with target audiences.
Visitor response to the site has been overwhelmingly positive.  From January 1, 2000 to September 1, 2000 the site has logged:
  • 1,080,830 user sessions, compared with 450,438 for the same period in 1999.
  • More than 8.3 million page views, compared with 4.3 million for the same time period in 1999.
  • An average session length of more than 15 minutes.
 
Objective 2) Generate qualified consumer and trade sales leads.
Through the literature request area, 29,838 consumer and 3,734 trade leads have been forwarded to dealers from January 1, 2000 to September 1, 2000 compared to 13,271 consumer and 1,823 trade leads generated for the same time period in 1999.
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