As the hype surrounding floorwise aware underlay builds, we spoke to Richard Bailey of floorwise, about the reasoning behind the launch and his hopes for the future of the initiative.
When consumers enter a store it is generally to purchase flooring, rarely is it to look at available underlay options and so it is difficult to really open a dialogue about an important part of any new carpet purchase. Most consumers are aware that some kind of underlay is required, but the question is how can we make underlay interesting and engaging for consumers, how can we get them to consider it as a really important part of their floorcovering purchase, rather than as just a necessary add-on?
We’ve tried to offer something engaging with the introduction of Floorwise Aware, the very first underlay to give to charity and to have a profile worthy of focus in-store. Floorwise Aware can be given profile in-store and it can be a topic of conversation that presents the retailer in a favourable and warm light. In a wider perspective the underlay also represent an opportunity for retailers to engage with their local community and to make a positive and supported step in raising their profile in the eyes of present and potential customers. The key to this is that the story behind the underlay is probably bigger than the product itself.
This ‘back story’ is the igniting factor in opening a dialogue with the local community. It offers flooring retailers something away from flooring. Fundamentally, in terms of appeal, the product is almost secondary. Consumers will be attracted to floorwise aware not just because it’s a great all-round underlay choice, but because it supports the work of one of the UK’s most high profile charities and one that is particularly relevant to flooring’s main buying audience, women.
We all know someone that has been affected by breast cancer, either directly or through a friend or relative, and this is what makes the support of the Breast Cancer Care charity so natural, as it is widespread and has true relevance, helping us to provide retailers with a valuable opportunity regardless of location. A fact we had to consider when choosing the best charities to align the floorwise name with as we needed to ensure that any such association would be as relevant in a small market town as it would be in a major city.
The work of Breast Cancer Care reaches out to a very large audience, crucially doing so in a positive fashion. It is not viewed as a commercial operation with all the negativity that this can bring; instead it is regarded as doing great work on a local, regional and national level. By donating to this charity, we are spreading just a little of this positive light upon flooring retailers, giving them a real opportunity to open dialogue with potential and existing customers without it having to be focused on the hard sell. Instead a conversation can be started focused around the work of the charity and how the retailer is doing their part, whether in fundraising or holding events, to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care with the wholehearted backing and support of both floorwise and the charity.
Yet the Floorwise Aware initiative is not just about giving retailers an opportunity to talk with customers and show a more socially aware side to their business, but it is also designed to drive footfall to store, pulling customers to stockists through a website with a dedicated retailer search by postcode. Using the reach and recognition of Breast Cancer Care, the floorwise aware campaign will run across consumer press and social media channels, targeting opportunities and promoting the positive work of retailers in fundraising and events. For those undertaking these, it also has the potential to generate coverage in local press. The power of the Breast Cancer Care name and appeal of the charity should not be underestimated; it really is a powerful thing and retailers will benefit purely through association with its positive image.
Perhaps one of the most powerful visual tools of the charity is the attention grabbing colour pink, particularly with the profile of Breast Cancer Care, and pink themed goods from other consumer product sectors, so it was only natural that floorwise aware became pink too. The underlay, packaging, website and in-store marketing material all feature pink in dominance, helping to reinforce the association with the charity and creating instant recognition. Each retailer will receive a pack of marketing materials to make the most of this association with posters, leaflets and dispenser, a window sticker, balloons and sample presenter all geared towards spreading the message of Floorwise Aware and Breast Cancer Care.
With the in-store marketing materials, a website, support in holding events and fundraising initiatives, a consumer PR and social media campaign, floorwise aware is giving retailers the tools to raise the profile of their store in a fresh, exciting and interesting way. But it is important to understand that they are just tools, it is up to the retailer to embrace the opportunity that Floorwise Aware presents. A cynical and negative approach circled solely around sales is really not an option here, and a positive one that sees this as a profile raising opportunity with valuable additional sales potential will undoubtedly reap rewards.
For the future, immediately we are hoping to see a good nationwide network of floorwise aware stockists so that interested consumers have easy access no matter where they are and that they embrace fundraising and organising events, really spreading the message of floorwise aware and their support of Breast Cancer Care. We really do feel that floorwise aware is a great opportunity to improve the status quo of marketing and profile for independent high street flooring retailers and we look forward to welcoming stores on board and helping to make them a success.