October 3rd, 2019

Branding Focus: The Flooring Markets

by Katelynn Watkins

Where do flooring retailers, manufacturers, distributors, interior designers, and builders go for the best products in the industry – and a good time to top it all off? The Flooring Markets, of course!

Except, you wouldn’t know that unless you knew where to look. And you wouldn’t know where to look, or even what you were looking at, if there weren’t trade show events like these with solid brands that are so well-crafted and thought through that they basically market themselves.

Which is why Sage Island put in so much time and effort to help the Flooring Markets really zero in on its brand identity, as well as those of the regional events that fall under that brand’s umbrella. Follow our process through some of the components that go into building a brand, and see how we can do the same for your business.

Know your roots

Managed by MME Partners, the Flooring Markets offer a wide variety of the latest products and trends in the industry, not to mention demonstrations of those forward-thinking items, and the chance for professionals to do a little networking in Atlanta, Dallas and Biloxi. Since each location is so unique, but so central to the larger brand, Sage Island’s team worked with the client to form a more solid brand story that coincided with its existing one. That way, long-time followers wouldn’t feel alienated, but potential new ones would have a clear idea of what the brand was about from the very beginning.

To achieve brand cohesiveness, consistency is key. And all of that starts with the story behind the brand. So before you start marketing yourself anywhere, sit down and sketch out the whole thing, soup to nuts. You might be surprised what anecdotes you suddenly recall, or seemingly little details that have a huge impact on who your company is and what it hopes to accomplish.

Visualize your story

When it came down to the Flooring Markets’ logos and color schemes, the idea really was to enhance what the brand already had, not facilitate any major alterations. Loyal attendees and vendors already recognized the logo, so that part of the process was fairly simple for this particular project. Normally, our team would brainstorm internally and with the client to come up with the best marks to represent the business, then tweak the design until it resembled what the client was happiest to display on all of the branded materials.

Which brings us to graphics: every good campaign has fantastic graphics to bolster the messaging. For the Flooring Markets, a lot of ours had to do with referencing old print or web materials and capitalizing on what was applicable now versus what was part of the old branding. There’s nothing wrong with reusing something that works; you just have to know when it actually helps your brand and when you’re better off putting in the time and effort to make something new.

Find your tribe

Finding your target audience and knowing how to reach its individual members are one in the same step. For the Flooring Markets, it was all about isolating who would be most interested in coming to the shows and why. Each vendor, designer, builder, or sales rep would need an individualized message that reiterated what exactly was valuable about attending the Flooring Markets. And every category of attendee required a different tone of voice, separate talking points to hold interest in the conversation, and customized marketing materials.

When you have a lot of audiences, it can sometimes get overwhelming. That’s why the Sage Island team prefers to focus on one at a time and fully develop the plan. That way, you’re ready to dive into messaging without confusing one audience for the other, and the risk of repeating yourself over and over.

Use your words

Have you ever played the game telephone? Everyone ends up hearing what he or she wants to hear out of the original message. Think of content marketing in much the same way, except it’s you making those adjustments to steer others into hearing what it is you want to say. Everything from marketing slogans, ad copy, blog post topics, and social media posts will follow a certain style that you set for your brand. You’ll even find it useful to just have a bank of key words and phrases to pull from when you’re having difficulty with direction – that way, your messaging is always on point. For the Flooring Markets’s 2020 campaign, everything needed to come back to selling more flooring. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Are you ready to brand – or maybe rebrand – your business? Contact Sage Island and get started!

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