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Tarkett redefines branding, marketing; expands dealer, wholesaler incentives

With 125 years of brand experience and 1 million square-meters of flooring sold per day around the world, Tarkett has the numbers to call itself a top player in the resilient flooring category. Consolidation and a restructuring of brands have resulted in a new image and approach to marketing aimed at driving business into a retailer’s store.

Tarkett is now positioned as the overall umbrella brand. “We used to be a house of brands rather than a brand house,” said Gary Finseth, vice president of marketing. “Going forward, we want to have Tarkett as a global brand and use other monikers as sub-brands.” In practice there will be two main North American names: Johnsonite on the commercial side and Tarkett for residential.

The manufacturer will also be bringing Nafco under the Tarkett umbrella. “We don’t plan on losing the Nafco name because it has equity,” Finseth said. Much like the well-known Fiberfloor, Nafco will be sub-branded as Tarkett Nafco Luxury Floors.

In another example of driving focus to Tarkett, the Domco brand was phased out in 2009, bringing the two product lines together into a new sheet collection. “This was painful due to some longtime relationships with retailers and distributors,” Finseth admitted. “We lost some business executing this decision but it was one we had to make.”

Branding to the new normal

Tarkett’s epithet, “The ultimate flooring experience,” is designed to attract the new consumer. “We have to own that brand signature,” Finseth said. “When we have a decision to make, we come back to our brand message.”

Between the ages of 43 and 63 years, the target buyer’s psychographic is for one living within her means because it fits with her values. Using strategic photography of everyday life, the goal is for the end user to feel Tarkett floors before any tactile sensation. Ultimately, executives at Tarkett hope to bring emotion to the category through catalogs and signage that emulate real life. “Showing something she can relate to has to go beyond logic,” Finseth said.

The new consumer also spends a great deal of time online, prompting Tarkett to re-vamp its website. Features like Roomvue make it easier for end users to picture the mill’s flooring in her home by uploading photos of her rooms and replacing her current flooring with Tarkett products in a virtual remodel. Tarkett partnered with Sherwin Williams for the wall paint component of the site.

Distribution and operations

With a clear, defined buyer, Tarkett has broadened its focus to include everyone along the chain. “We want to be more important to our customers so we have to build the brand with products, programs and services,” said Bill Cralley, president of Tarkett Residential, North America. New displays are one example.

For the company’s loyal dealers, the Elite program launched in January tiered the mill’s retailers and provides them with corresponding, cooperative advertising. “The idea is to give incentives and rebates based on purchase targets,” Cralley said.

Distributors also benefit from enhanced training and pooled trucks on deliveries. Buying opportunities and category support will also be enhanced through a Web portal to supply information 24/7.

Product

Tarkett products not only represent style and function; they are also becoming known for their value proposition. In illustration, FiberFloor Easy Living was awarded the Best Buy rating from Consumers Digest in its Best Buys in Flooring issue. Awarded to less than 3% of competing models, editors of the publication’s Economy Flooring section cited FiberFloor’s value, color choices and comfort underfoot.

-Emily Hooper