Branding: The Integrated Shopper
At the time of this writing, the site promoted a sweepstakes for a Hawaiian Dream Vacation. Sure Hawaii is our 50th state, but it doesn’t evoke the same sense of America as the eastern coastal states, which is the unmistakable feel of the Pottery Barn catalog.
Click on the sweepstakes’ promotional video and you’re greeted with a blistering riff of surf guitar and an opening shot of a Tarzan-type guy swinging into a lagoon. Hello? If you must succumb to the dubious name-grab technique of giving away a vacation, send the winner to Nantucket, Mass.
It just goes to show that brand is more than consistent use of logos, fonts and colors. Pottery Barn was on a roll until the website. So we give it an A-.
You used to find Restoration Hardware stores tucked in funky urban neighborhoods. They literally offered products for people refurbishing homes and furniture. Founder Steve Gordon’s original idea was tightly focused and wildly successful. The company went public in 1998, however, and has been on a rocky road ever since. In June 2008, it returned to private ownership.
In recent years, the company has struggled with its merchandise concept. Flip from one cover of its catalog to another and you encounter a bewildering mix of retro record album frames, magic kits, a lone peacoat, votive chandeliers and $6,000 elegant dining room sets.
Everything is kind of cool, but in visiting the company’s website and Leawood, Kan., store, and in reviewing its Early Spring 2009 catalog, we were left wondering what’s going on. Two years ago, the company went after the toys and gadgets market, but it now appears to be backing off that a bit. We’re not privy to Restoration Hardware’s marketing data, but we suspect those items lowered its average order value.