Romanelli helps local lumber retailer take on the big guys

n1723909642_7590As part two of my continuing effort as a copywriter and marketing strategist to bring you tales of marketing success in The Current Economy, again, give it up for guest-blogger Bernie Freytag, Creative Director at Romanelli Communications. Bernie will tell you about how this “lean, agile, flexible and focused” agency on the East Coast is helping their clients weather these lean times. In this case, it’s about good ol’ fashioned wood products from JAY-K Lumber.

David (with help from Jack) stands up to Goliath
Romanelli Communications helps local lumber retailer take on the big guys

Marketing and communications expert Romanelli Communications doesn’t like to back down from challenges, especially those facing their clients. The economy was tanking, an extended housing and commercial building slump began, a Home Depot was flourishing down the road, and Lowes had launched a pre-emptive strike by opening a new superstore within sight of privately-owned regional hardware and lumber retailer JAY-K. Many of its kind had thrown in the towel in the face of similarly dire straits.

JAY-K and Romanelli have been taking them on successfully for several years now. While big box stores often employ teens and untrained salespeople, JAY-K’s employees all have years in the business, possess deep knowledge of their specialties, and are relied upon by professional contractors to meet their needs without hesitation. JAY-K’s pros are always happy to share that knowledge with shoppers as well. Romanelli branded them as the local and regional experts of choice, who knew the area and the special needs of its residents. Together they launched a campaign to strengthen that brand and engage the community at every level of promotion.

One unlikely hero: a mannequin dubbed “Jack O’Trade,” dressed like a store employee, who appeared on billboards and around the region to reinforce campaign themes in support of buying local and supporting the community. Jack created a huge PR buzz that resulted in JAY-K feature stories in the major local newspaper and on the NBC affiliate in their hometown. With the addition of a strong online presence and social networking (Jack even has his own MySpace page), JAY-K has posted strong sales through the worst of the economic downturn and in the shadow of the big box stores. They continue to thrive, and are making positive changes inside the store and online to reinforce their brand.

Romanelli has already applied their winning formula to another regional home improvement chain with similarly inspiring results, and is looking to help others beat the giants, and the economic odds, in their own regions.