Case Studies, Home Furnishings

Branding under foot

The Explore Home positioning, Universal Furniture

My first conversation with Jeff Scheffer was four hours long. Oh yeah, I remember because we stood in place in the Universal Furniture showroom the entire time. Now, I have trained myself to have a steady gaze at the speaker so that they are assured I am listening. But, while my stare training was waning, what stood out to me was the unwavering passion Jeff had for the brand he was building. The brand had lost its way with its business-to-business customers. And, he had a tried-and-true strategy to redirect the brand into the positive.

For years, we pounded home the message that Universal was “Good, Affordable, Smart Design.” Not the sexiest position, but it was what the external audience and the internal audience needed to hear and act upon. Internally, the logistics, design and manufacturing required work. Jeff would say we need to be the easiest to work with, and he was right.

Now, jump ahead to Neil MacKenzie joining Jeff at the same time when the designer market was changing how manufacturers operated. We began to talk differently with a new building close to downtown, a new learning center and a fresh vibe. We didn’t stop the bus and halt all communications for a rebrand project. We walked and chewed gum at the same time, as they say. We were all thinking about our new positioning every day, every second.

During that time, one of many projects we worked on before the High Point Furniture Market was their lobby to the showroom. And one of the items we discussed was an entry rug that could print a logo on the surface. So while gum-chewing and designing the rug, we all started thinking about how we wanted our audience to think about Universal as you stepped into the showroom. And the winning option, “Explore Home,” still gives me goosebumps – if you’re in marketing, you get it.

This is not a story about a positing line; instead, it is a story of two brilliant people dedicated to their craft. Thank you for your creative partnership, Jeff and Neil!!

The result is a positioning that sets the tone for how everyone sees Universal Furniture. Since the inception of “Explore Home,” Universal Furniture has increased its designer business many times over.

Leveraged Creative:
• Relationships

Universal Furniture designs, manufactures, markets and delivers home furnishings that are good, affordable and smartly designed to retailers and interior designers.

Todd Kinley

J. Todd Kinley

Founder | Executive Creative Director: Crobar Creative Leverage. Husband, Father, and Moose owner. Lover of art, photography, golf, and strategy. Follow me: