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Friday, October 28, 2011

Pink is the New Green - Bathroom Blogfest 2011

Bathroom Blogfest 2011

Pink is the New Green

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2011! I’m so happy to be invited back to Flooring the Consumer to guest blog with C.B. Whittemore, who is one of my very favorite consumer experience experts.

As always, I have a lot to say about bathrooms — retail bathrooms, airport bathrooms, gas station bathrooms, workplace bathrooms — but today, I want to focus on private bathrooms. More specifically, I want to focus on pink, private bathrooms.

Three years ago, my friend and her husband bought an old, renovated farmhouse just outside the St. Louis city limits. They loved every single thing about this house. It had a renovated second floor, an adorable kitchen, a huge backyard… and a sickeningly sweet pink and purple bathroom. They did not love the pink and purple bathroom. They hated the pink and purple bathroom.

But because the pink and purple bathroom is fully functional, it’s still on the bottom of the home to-do list. For the past three years, my friend has rolled her eyes every time she talks about the bathroom.

“We have to renovate this room,” she would say. Until recently. That’s when she discovered an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled, “Preserve the Pink: How to Enhance the Retro Bathroom’s Charm,” by writer Amy Burger.

Here in St. Louis, many homes in the city were built in the ‘40s and 50s, just after World War II, writes Burger. And of course, they were built in the style of the time, often with candy colored tile coating a home’s single bathroom. Even more often, this tile was pink. Bright pink. We’re talking bubble gum pink.

It turns out that there’s a huge group of people who adore their pink — and mint green, turquoise and yellow — tiled bathrooms. The article interviews Pam Kueber (RetroRenovation.com), who began a blog called SavethePinkBathrooms.com, which strives to save retro bathrooms.

“The reality is: Pink bathrooms are a wonderful part of our home design heritage,” reads the mission statement of SavethePinkBathrooms.com. “And there is no doubt in our minds whatsoever that they are poised for a comeback — starting here, starting now.”

(You need to check out this website — so much fun! It’s full of photos of pink bathrooms and the owners who love them.)

In the blog post that spawned SavethePinkBathrooms.com, Kueber talks about feeling horrified when an HGTV show ripped out a vintage bathroom to put in a sleek, modern bathroom. What about vintage charm? Doesn’t that have a place in today’s design world? And, she poses, isn’t it wasteful to rip out a perfectly good bathroom?

And so, dear Bathroom Blogfest readers, I echo Kueber’s cry… what about vintage? When you’re helping your customers decide what to do with their bathroom remodels, do you always steer them toward new and improved? Or is there room for reuse and recycling as well? With the economy as it is, with job growth slow and money tight, I ask you… Shouldn’t we be saving more pink bathrooms?

Monday, October 24, 2011

'Climbing Out' Retail Experiences For Bathroom Blogfest 2011

'Climbing Out' Retail Experiences For Bathroom Blogfest 2011
As a keen observer of retail experiences, I find particularly exciting ones that 'climb out' and redefine the status quo and inspire users or observers to rethink, re-imagine and re-experience the tried and true. This is particularly true when it comes to the annual Bathroom Blogfest.

Bathroom Blogfest 2011 takes place this week and includes, for the first time ever, participation in the #KBTribeChat Twitter Chat [read this Bathroom Blogfest 2011 post filled with details].

The theme "Climbing Out" leaves plenty of room for interpretation regardless of one's blog focus IMHO. In fact, I can't wait to read what my fellow Bathroom Blogfest 2011 participants [listed below] come up with.

From my perspective, here are a few of the articles I've come across which have captured this Bathroom Blogfester's imagination:

  • Bill Gates To Reinvent The Toilet challenges the reinvention of the toilet so it turns waste into energy, clean water or nutrients. Furthermore, "the solution must be a stand-alone unit without piped-in water, a sewer connection or outside electricity. The foundation partnered with USAID to fix water sanitation as part of the UN’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals."
  • In Let's Get This Potty Started, Atlanta Watercloset owner describes the business she has created offering "boutique portable restrooms for outdoor events in the metro Atlanta area." I've been amazed at how the port-a-potty business has been transformed!
  • Virgin's Airport Terminal of the Future [pictured above] which "Believe it or not, Terminal 2's bathrooms are fairly inviting, featuring lots of open space. The bathrooms also feature Dyson Airblade Hand Dryers, which scrape water off hands in just 12 seconds (using up to 80% less energy than standard hand dryers), compared to the standard 43 seconds. Eventually, the bathrooms might even use greywater in their toilets (translation: recycled water that has already been used in other places, like the bathroom sink)."
Note: my pet peeve with Dyson Airblade hand dryers is that the water they successfully blow off of hands winds up on the floor where no one seems to have thought about how to contain the resulting puddles.
  • VMSD's February 2011 issue describes in "Unstuffed" White Stuff's newly launched emporium on George Street in Edinburgh. It re-imagines the changing room experience with fitting rooms that are uniquely conceived and all feature vintage wardrobe door entrances and themes - including a bathroom themed room. Talk about 'climbing' in and out!

What comes to mind when you consider 'climbing out' of humdrum experiences? How might you re-imagine your retail experience? Let me know if the comments.

Bathroom Blogfest 2011

NameBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience CrossroadsCustomer Experience Crossroads
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential DesignKitchen and Residential Design Blog
Shannon BilbyFrom the Floors Uphttp://fromthefloorsup.com/
Toby BloombergDiva MarketingDiva Marketing Blog
Laurence BorelBlog Till You Drophttp://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talkhttp://tiletalk.blogspot.com
Jeanne ByingtonThe Importance of Earnest Servicehttp://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!http://customersrock.net
Katie ClarkPractical Katiehttp://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalmaO'Reilly DePalma: The Bloghttp://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Paul FriederichsenThe BrandBiz Bloghttp://brandbizblog.com/
Tish GrierThe Constant Observerhttp://spap-oop.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth HiseFlooring The Consumerhttp://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com
Emily HooperFloor Covering News Bloghttp://www.fcnews.net/category/blog/
Diane KazanUrban Design Renovationhttp://blog.urbandesignrenovation.com
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog http://www.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika MillerModenus Blog http://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi NalbandianTile Magazine Editors' BlogTile Editor Magazine Blog
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderingshttp://blog.polinchock.com/
Professor ToiletAmerican Standard's Professor Toilethttp://www.professortoilet.com
David Reich my 2 centshttp://reichcomm.typepad.com
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley PondScarlet Opus Trends Bloghttp://www.trendsblog.co.uk
Sandy RenshawPurple Wrenhttp://www.PurpleWren.com
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Bloghttp://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce D. SandersRIMtailinghttp://www.rimtailing.blogspot.com
Paige SmithNeuse Tile Service bloghttp://neusetile.wordpress.com/
Stephanie WeaverExperienceologyhttp://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreContent Talks Business BlogContent Talks Marketing Blog
Christine B. WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Bloghttp://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Bloghttp://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Ted WhittemoreWorking Computershttp://www.kinneloncomputers.com/
Chris WoelfelArtcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co.http://www.artcraftgmt.com
Patty WoodlandBroken Teepeehttp://www.brokenteepee.com/
Denise Lee Yohnbrand as business biteshttp://deniseleeyohn.com/bites/

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 10/21/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 10/21/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Best Buy evolves. Video interview w CMO Barry Judge. Focus on #retailexp experience ow.ly/6YZPN
  • Changing consumer purchase patterns: fun stuff still selling http://ow.ly/6Z1jX #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • How Walgreen, Duane Reade adopt sustainability in #retailexp ow.ly/6Z0PT
  • Color = huge trend in fashion, translating into nail polish [rather than lipstick]. Lot better colors! http://t.co/prEmq1TL #retailexp
  • How Macy's is shrinking its #retailexp footprint ow.ly/6Z0gc
  • More signs of smaller = better #retailexp http://t.co/biJkOVP5 What R U seeing in yr markets?

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Retailers discover useful in-store apps keep shoppers from escaping http://ow.ly/6Z1vt #retailexp
  • Update on @HomeDepot's social media strategy ow.ly/6YYSM #retailexp
  • Learn about Oscar de la Renta, role of social media. Gr8 job @OscarPRGirl ow.ly/6Z0LO #retailexp 
  • How Burberry uses social networking for fashion catwalk show: ow.ly/6YZyG #retailexp

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, October 17, 2011

Disney Times Square Retail Experience

Disney Times Square Retail Experience
Do come check out my latest blog post about the Disney Times Square store retail experience. It's titled Disney Times Square Retail Experience Reflects Modern Brand and includes photos from the inside of the Times Square store.

I've just published it on Simple Marketing Now, my company website.

You see, I'm trying to simplify my blogging [and my life :-)] and have decided to integrate my retail experience observations onto my company site.

So, come visit, look around, read the new post and consider subscribing [see the big orange button below]!

Let me know, too, what you think of it all.

As always, thanks for being part of this adventure and for making Flooring The Consumer so rewarding!




Friday, October 14, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 10/14/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 10/14/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • RT @FCNewsmag: We are loving this blog about the #retail experience and today's #consumer! #retailexp... fb.me/19w3rEetf
  • Why negative reviews are gold & how they improve the #retailexp ow.ly/6VIGi
  • Interesting data about affluent families: time-constrained, connected. How R U adapting your #retailexp? http://t.co/iCgxK90i
  • Wld U consider this a Blue Ocean Strategy for Chrysler: lets customers track production, delivery http://ow.ly/6LDa2 #retailexp
  • Managing customer wait times. What are your strategies? http://ow.ly/6L4Gy #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Nordstrom's Treasure & Bond outlet in Manhattan, donates $ and gathers #retailexp shopper insights http://t.co/qqbpCUG8
  • Lowe's Q&A w Tom Lamb, SVP marketing re: targeting DIY attitudes http://t.co/1AS8ezE1 #retailexp
  • 5 tips for improving marketing mix relevant for #retailexp http://ow.ly/6WLQb
  • Under Armour takes intensely focused approach to introducing brand to Gen Y Women http://t.co/YJPwcEDT #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Interesting use of tablets in #retailexp to speed things up: ow.ly/6UBwz
  • Interesting perspective on store receipts: paper or digital? http://ow.ly/6WLYO What's your take for #retailexp?

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Friday, October 07, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 10/7/11

Wordle: #retailexpHere is the 10/7/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • From @FCNewsMag: My take: The perfect #salesperson makes all the difference http://t.co/qlWpxUgM #salesmanship #retailexp
  • How California Tortilla handles customer feedback online. Notice consistent, co-wide approach http://ow.ly/6L0HZ #retailexp 

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Creating & nurturing amazing corporate culture: Method http://ow.ly/6L2CW #retailexp
  • Fascinating Q&A w Google Retail exec re: online/offline #retailexp blur & digital best practices http://ow.ly/6L3lG
  • Startups democratize fashion using technology #retailexp http://ow.ly/6L3Lv
  • Wow! Lowe's replaces scanner guns w 42K iPhones: http://ow.ly/6L3yE #retailexp
  • Meet Pursuitist. Aims 2B Yelp for luxury brands, affluent customers http://ow.ly/6L15T #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • How social media adds value to Fashion's Night Out & savvy retailers use it to build relationships http://ow.ly/6L0Xn #retailexp
  • Did you catch live streaming of Fashion Week? Making fashion more immediate, accessible http://ow.ly/6L1cN #retailexp
  • Wow: Patagonia promotes used clothing on eBay. Environmental benefit + extends customer base http://ow.ly/6L1rg #retailexp
  • Worth watching: Walmart intends to reshape future of shopping #retailexp by mapping social genome http://ow.ly/6L2iK #practicalmktr
  • Lowe's introduces revolutionary customer #retailexp: "MyLowes" http://ow.ly/6LCqr
For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or

Monday, October 03, 2011

Making Social Meaningful in Flooring

How to make ‘social’ meaningful in flooring By Christine B. Whittemore
Here follows my article titled "How to make 'social' meaningful in flooring" from the January 3/10, 2011 issue of Floor Covering Weekly.

How to make ‘social’ meaningful in flooring

By Christine B. Whittemore

‘Social’ is happening in flooring and it’s leading to stronger relationships with customers. Imagine, though, making it even more meaningful…

A challenge associated with ‘social’ has to do with how easy it is to set up a basic presence. Creating profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or a basic blog are almost trivial.  And yet, as easy as the infrastructure is to set up, living, breathing and performing ‘social’ on an ongoing, consistent basis, in a way that truly strengthens ties with customers and delivers business benefits, can bring you to your knees if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The reality is that taking part in social networks takes time. Doing so without a defined business objective can fritter away resources you can’t afford to waste. Furthermore, if you don’t nurture your online content and keep it fresh, it can act against you, sending signals that your business isn’t all that sophisticated and not really serious about being social with customers.

There’s a better way – meaningful, deliberate and strategic – to use social media tools.  One that embraces a well-thought out, sustainable – as in something you can commit to long term – content based strategy that readers and potential customers gravitate towards and respond to. The kind that allows you to establish expertise and demonstrate relevant value, and represents the building blocks for building meaningful trust with potential customers.

Here’s why.

Customers today ask themselves the same questions. The best way to respond is by engaging that potential customer with meaningful content, in person as well as online, and consistently, deliberately and strategically establishing credibility and building trust BEFORE it’s time for her to make her purchase decision.

Establishing trust is why you do ‘social’. Credibility comes from showing up and engaging consistently over time, not just in-store, but also online via social channels where you can be yourself, demonstrate your passion and knowledge, be solution-oriented, approachable, willing to engage in conversation, answer questions, listen intensely and be genuinely interested. Online allows you do to so 24/7, when your customer is searching and your store is closed. Doing so with high quality content means that your content can work for you while you’re off duty. It ensures that the last person a customer interacts with isn’t always ‘at the bottom’ to quote Tom Jennings in his 9/6-13/10 column.  It enables you to make more effective your existing marketing assets.

Casual and superficial social activity – i.e., random tweets, irrelevant Facebook updates, inconsistent blog posts that promote only yourself – doesn’t build trust; quite the opposite. It puts people on guard. It makes them suspicious and unwilling to do business with you.

Better to build trust through a well-thought out, deliberate content marketing strategy based on internalizing what you learn from customers and the marketplace. It demonstrates that you understand the issues they face with your product and category, and enables you to respond with content – information, education, advice – that answers questions, resolves problems, offers advice and provides solutions that existing and potential customers consider relevant and valuable.

Once your content marketing strategy solidly developed, you can easily decide which social tool to use for which message and how frequently to update whether the platform be Facebook, Twitter or your and others’ blogs. You are able to maintain consistency of purpose and presence, able to build off of content created by others in your space – thereby enhancing your and their credibility – and able to do so indefinitely into the future.

As a result of those meaningful social efforts, you are more likely to become a destination that existing and potential customers consider relevant, gravitate towards, and willingly spend money with over time.

The alternative – superficial social interaction – guarantees that you operate in a lonely void, pushing endless messages about yourself that customers consistently shun and mark as spam.

Wouldn’t it be better to make your social efforts meaningful?
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