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Reaching builders with complete brand overhaul

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A little more than two years ago, American Woodmark Corp. hired Gary Rosenfield to help relaunch its Timberlake Cabinet Co. division and brand, which markets kitchen and bath cabinets to the new construction and professional remodeling sectors.

"While American Woodwork stood as an industry leader in the retail cabinetry market, Timberlake flew under the radar with most home builders and designers," said Rosenfield, VP-professional markets for the Winchester, Va., company. "Our market position was inconsistent, we had no organized national or regional communication strategies and our product lines were confusing."

Presented with such a challenge, Rosenfield worked with company executives to develop a clear vision for the brand. "First, we decided we wanted to be No. 1 in service and product reliability," he said.

Then, the company overhauled its product lines, building different price tiers. Additionally, the cabinets were positioned "In the spirit of America's great places"-an official tagline-and now feature such names as Rushmore and Tahoe.

Rosenfield also helped reassert Timberlake's primary focus on marketing to the top 100 new home builders and remodelers. "Not only do these customers drive high-volume sales, they also bring great attention to the brands they use," he said.

Tactically, Timberlake formulated a multiprong approach to build awareness and create sales leads. Rosenfield directed a complete overhaul of every single piece of marketing collateral. "Everything has a richer, more professional look and feel," he said.

For the relaunch, Timberlake bought a single-sponsored issue of Hanley Wood's Big Builder magazine. "It made quite an impact; many of the top 100 builders took notice of us," Rosenfield said.

Today, the company produces a full-color, bimonthly magazine of its own, called Portfolio, that goes out to its customers and prospects.

Timberlake is also involved in an effort with a consortium of home builders to build an Internet showcase of cabinet options that helps buyers make design choices.

Events remain a key part of marketing efforts, and Rosenfield makes sure Timberlake cabinets are installed in display homes at trade shows such as the annual International Builders Show, as well as smaller, regional events.

But perhaps the most important factor in the brand's turnaround has been the reorganization of the company's sales operation into direct sales teams in most major markets. "It's more effective for us to do the selling, custom design and follow-up services ourselves than it is for distributors to do it," Rosenfield said.

This effort has helped the brand to quickly distinguish itself as a leader in service, market share and mind share. "In the past two years, our business has grown more than 50%," he said. "And we've recorded at least double-digit growth with all our major customers."

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