A brand is rather like a beautiful garden which can awe you, but only if foster it all the time. A brand needs to be fostered, observed and stimulated to grow. Only then will it bring desirable fruit. How can we be such a “gardener–marketeer”, an interview with Katarzyna Świderska, Director of the Marketing Department at WIŚNIOWSKI.

Please tell us more about the phenomenon of the WIŚNIOWSKI brand? Can you capture the gist in just a few words?

Despite the fact that a phenomenon is a philosophical term it fits perfectly to describe the phenomenon of brand. A brand is a collection of many real factors, such as: graphic sign, name, colours, but also totally abstract ones like: emotions, associations and the impressions which it evokes. All that needs to be planned and consistently maintained in the branding process we use to build a brand. It is a very complex and multi-dimensional process and, in effect, it is designed to place the brand in a certain position in the customer’s mind. The mind is the battlefield to win the customer. Not their wallets. Therefore, the phenomenon of the WIŚNIOWSKI brand involves a well-planned and efficiently implemented branding process. And this is what we do in the Marketing Department.

There are many factors behind the success of the brand. High quality of products, reasonable pricing policy, efficient distribution and much more. How important are, then, marketing activities in this context?

Marketing is at the very beginning and the very end of the process which we call the purchase of the brand. It all starts and ends with a need. The customer’s need determines our work because our products must meet that need. You may say: “well, that’s obvious”. The thing is that one has to really recognize the need and offer the customer not what they think they want but what they actually need. To comprehend this, just think how often we go to a shop, a retail outlet, wanting to buy one thing and we end up buying something totally different. During the purchase process we realize what we actually need, what we lack, what is actually missing in the item we went there to buy and we seek a solution, often together with a shop assistant. This is not the case when we are victims of sales. During a correct purchase process, one in which the customer is accompanied by a shop assistant, we leave the shop with our need satisfied and this is the source of satisfaction and the reason why we recommend the shop to others or return there to buy another product. This is why we penetrate and research the market, change our products, introduce innovations, communicate with the market, train our distribution network, and educate our customers so they will know that the WIŚNIOWSKI brand will fully meet their needs connected with conveniently reaching home, having a safe space around the house and will not just offer them gates, doors and fences.

Mostly we listen to the market: we gather knowledge on the needs, we trace the habits of the users of our products to surprise them with the new, useful qualities of our products.

The biggest marketing success of the WIŚNIOWSKI brand is…

Repositioning in the market. Thanks to the work on corporate identity, communication tools and the well-conducted change, we have achieved the projected and desirable market position of the brand we need for the development of the company. What is more, we have encompassed the category of gates, doors and fences in one design! We have managed to effectively promote the unique quality of our products, that of combining gates, doors and fences, where not just the colour but also the design gave us a new insight into the possibility of creating architecture and providing our business partners with wider possibilities of sales of related products. For coherence of the stylistic line of our Home Inclusive collection we have been awarded with the Good Design award 2014 from the Institute of Industrial Design.

No position of a brand is fixed once and for all. It requires continuous work. What are the biggest challenges before the WIŚNIOWSKI brand in the nearest future?

Continuous work on brand awareness. It’s a never-ending story because every year we work with new end customers, and the reason for this is the fact that our products are bought once or twice in a lifetime. Due to their durability we’ll change them only when we are enticed by a technological solution or design and not after wear and tear of the product. This is why we need to retell our marketing story over and over for new customers. Of course, defending the position we’ve achieved in the selected category still constitutes a challenge, but we also need to search for new, undeveloped areas; and what are they exactly – that is a different story.

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What are the target groups for your marketing message? What are the specifics of that message for particular groups?

A target group is quite a vague marketing notion and it simply means a group of people with set social and demographic parameters to whom the advertising message is addressed. Each of these groups has different needs concerning knowledge, channels and tools of communication and intensity of the message because each of them has different needs. The architect requires CAD-drawings or 3D models because he/she uses them for projects or visualisations in the process of designing houses and other constructions. Our business partner, acting as our distributor, needs very intense training of sales skills and product knowledge, as well as constant “heating up” of the relationship. Our end customer, that is the users of our products, needs a reason for the purchase. Nowadays, those are not substantial or quality aspects of the product; each respectable manufacturer provides the best solutions possible; now it often concerns the emotions connected with the brand, the manner of its perception, the position which the brand holds in the customer’s mind.

Firstly, we foster brand awareness so that our customers can come to the seller not to buy a gate, door or fence but to buy the WIŚNIOWSKI brand gate, door or fence.

WIŚNIOWSKI, with its message, is visible among others on the Internet.What online activities are, according to you, the most effective for your brand?

I don’t want here to give away our company secrets; the manner of communication is our unique know-how which we achieve via training, constant learning, following the newest trends, research on the efficiency of media, actions in that area, especially on the Internet. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a very unique knowledge based on sectoral focus. Not all the rules that we are familiar with, such as those for the fast-moving consumer goods market, are applicable in the construction market. Obviously, the Internet is now the fastest developing medium and it will surely remain so. It’s a repository of knowledge, opinions and offers. It communicates messages almost instantly. Thus, it’s perfect for educational purposes or to encourage and promote sales. However, for our products, which are highly specialised, nothing can replace traditional consulting at the purchase venue and professional assembly which, if correctly performed, is always a guarantee of customer satisfaction.

An important segment of your activity is supporting the companies that sell your products. This support also encompasses marketing. What kind of actions do you offer your dealership?

Firstly, we foster brand awareness so that our customers can come to the seller not to buy a gate, door or fence but to buy the WIŚNIOWSKI brand gate, door or fence. This is why we build our expert position in trade media, we advertise the brand on TV and we strengthen it in the minds of our customers in many areas, such as by sponsoring the Polish national football team. We are everywhere where our potential customers are, presenting our message so that our brand can be recognized and its values appreciated. Then it’s easier for the seller because they can sell what is already known to the customers, that is the products of a recognizable and advertised manufacturer. Of course, we also conduct merchandising in retail outlets, we design displays, equipment and interior design so that the customer will be certain that they are in the right place. At the WIŚNIOWSKI Training Centre we educate fitters, traders from the domestic, as well as our export distribution network. We provide expert knowledge by participating in many organizations and business associations. We also take part in panel discussions during conferences and symposia, sharing our knowledge and experience. But mostly we listen to the market: we gather knowledge on the needs, we trace the habits of the users of our products to surprise them with new, useful qualities.

Interviewer: Michał Durbas