• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Home furnishing is rebounding, but not brand preference

Now that the economy is slowly rebounding in baby steps, you’re seeing industries starting to expand as consumers open their wallets. Among the industries seeing a rise in sales is the furniture market.

As reported by USA Today, home furnishings is expected to rise more than 16% when the second quarter earnings are reported industry wide.

The uptick is no doubt due to a slight economic turnaround and the fact that, during the economic downturn, consumers kept the old furniture they had and are now coming to the point where their furniture is aging. (It’s the same reason for surges in car sales.)

With the surge, all boats will rise, so to speak. So retailers are thinking they are winning because the win shows up in the bottom line.

But that can often be a false positive. Just because the market as a whole is doing better doesn’t mean your marketing approach is working. It just means the category benefits are being sought.

The next step, of course, is developing a meaningful message that is different and better than the competition. You want to create preference for you, not you and your competitors.

But home furnishings, like a lot of markets, have other things to consider, such as “When do consumers decide they need new furniture?” Think of it this way. Banks get new customers when those customers reach the point of failure with their current financial institution. The bank brands stealing the most market share are the ones talking to those people most likely to switch.

For the home furnishing market, the players in it do little to none of that. They talk mostly about deals, such as Rooms To Go’s financing plan for customers. There is nothing meaningful and direct that reaches those who are, for example, buying a new home, getting married or having a child.

The furniture market isn’t the only one that fails here. It’s always surprising that more advertisers don’t consider the decision tree more often. (As cringe-worthy as their spots are, attorneys are among the best at thinking about the decision tree.)

Now that the consumer is back, it’s now time for home furnishing retailers to take the next step and speak to those most likely to buy to increase individual preference for your brand, not for the category as a whole.

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