Kitchen Conference 2011

Sorry to have not posted recently but I have been man down with this cold/flu bug doing the rounds. As such I've not been up to much but sleeping. Luckily before I was hit with the dreaded lurgy I visited the 2011 Kitchen Conference run by KBB Review magazine.

The main reason for my visit was to support Duncan Marr, MD to one of my clients at work Franke, however it was also interesting to get a top level insight into how the industry was performing.

As you might expect everyone was finding it tough, many were finding their revenues flatlining however there were deals still to be had especially at the bottom and top ends of the market. The top end of the market was particulary lucrative as consumers searched for greater reassurance of quality product and service.

What I found especially interesting was that the majority were of the opinion that sales were made through adding extra value to services. One point I found very interesting was from William McGrath, CEO at Aga Rangemaster. McGrath is a very positive chap, listening to him you feel enthused and he obviously enjoys his work greatly. I'm sure that a big part of this was that Aga Rangemaster had announced "better-than-threefold" increases in operating profits in the first half of 2011 just before the conference.

In the tough times we are in, how have Aga Rangemaster been able to increase operating profits so greatly, especially considering their product is highly aspirational with a price tag to match? William McGrath put it down to hard work in changing consumer behaviour. Their marketing has concentrated on making the kitchen the heart of the home; if Aga Rangemaster can persuade consumers to part with big sums of money on a new cooker they will be more willing to spend time socialising in the kitchen. How do we get consumers to part with big sums of money? Interestingly McGrath mentioned that such is the poor return on current savings, by investing the money into an Aga the consumer will be raising the profile of their home and with it the value of the property.

This big, bold thinking. Such thinking is wonderfully refreshing. I've blogged numerous times about how targeting consumers emotionally will have a greater effect on profit and here it is in action.

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