When Hollywood promotes a new blockbuster release it places the star’s name above the movie title. The same concept is also found in music with examples such as Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band and Robert Plant & the Band of Joy.
Just like those Hollywood blockbusters that place top actors’ names above the marquee, there are a handful of audio brands that create the same buzz as those “A-list” actors. Leading that short list of manufacturers is the Massachusetts-based company Bose.
Similar to Hollywood movie stars with that handsome leading man or rising young starlet that attract fans to the box office, associating with a preferred brand like Bose brings a number of tangible and intangible benefits that rewards dealers.
Like movie studios that maximize those relationships with “A-list” actors by leveraging those stars involvement in movies through extensive marketing campaigns that revolve around these stars, dealers can also maximize their association with top brands like Bose, which brings to dealers an unparalleled dealer support program, as well as consumer brand recognition that few companies can match.
The Power of Brand Attraction
In an industry that is ultra competitive, any edge can mean a huge difference. Having the power of a brand name that people know can bring that advantage dealers seek to separate themselves from their competition. Standing tall in a crowded field of brand names to deliver that edge to dealers is Bose.
Robert A. Cole, founder, CEO, World Wide Stereo, oversees one of the oldest consumer electronics businesses in the country. Located in the highly competitive Philadelphia, Pa. market, Cole has built a diverse business through an affiliation with Bose. Cole says among the many brands his Montgomeryville and Ardmore, Pa. stores carry, no brand ranks higher than Bose in terms of brand recognition with World Wide Stereo customers.
Cole points out that Bose often connects to consumers through its automotive audio systems and once introduced to the brand through the audio experience they’ve had in their cars those same consumers want it in their homes too.
“People love it in their car or the car they wished they had, and they always pair the word ‘upgrade’ with Bose,” says Cole. “It’s the same deal in their homes. For many builders in the U.S. it is again considered an upgrade. [Purchasing] Bose for baby boomers is a ‘no-brainer’—my first speaker 48 years ago was a Bose—even millennials when in doubt trust something with the name Bose on it. Quality and reputation seem to be defined in the audio business by the name Bose. The name alone sells the product.”
Supporting Cole’s assessment of the power of the Bose brand name is Tom Priola, CEO of Primetime AV. Priola says that Bose is one of the few “pull” brands available to integration professionals. Priola explains that Primetime AV has been able to leverage the Bose brand to build consistent year-over-year (YOY) growth in its audio business in its retail and custom installation business units.
Adding to the brand allure of Bose is its mix of products notes Phil Murray, vice president marketing & e-commerce for Colo.-based Listen Up. Murray says Bose is a brand that encompasses everything from whole-house audio and architectural speakers, to outdoor speakers, home theater and headphones all under a single umbrella.
“Bose is one of the few brands that we carry where we can provide a whole-home solution from start to finish,” says Murray. “Bose even satisfies a customer’s personal audio needs through headphones or Bluetooth speakers. This simplifies the sales process for our teams, and it also simplifies the customer’s interaction with technology now that Bose is home automation friendly. Bose allows us the ability to upsell and add on a control system to better meet the needs of the customer.”
Some of the latest Bose solutions generating consumer interest include the SoundTouch 300 Soundbar and the Lifestyle 650 system.
The small footprint SoundTouch 300 measures 38.5 inches wide, by 2.25 inches tall and 4.25 inches deep, and the SoundTouch 300 is designed to deliver the best audio performance in its class. Bose points out the SoundTouch 300 features Wi-Fi, along with Bluetooth enabled with NFC to facilitate easy device pairing for quick access to today’s popular streaming services.
Supporting the SoundTouch 300’s audio performance, Bose utilizes its PhaseGuide array technology that sends audio content to the left and right side of the room to deliver precise imaging experience to listeners.
Addressing luxury consumers, Bose’s Lifestyle 650 delivers state-of-the-art sound in a package that highlight’s the company’s latest industrial designs. The 5.1 Lifestyle 650 system features the smallest satellite speakers in the long history of Bose, and each of these new satellite speakers incorporate dual, opposing high-excursion drivers that maximize the output of the speakers. Engineered to complement the system’s center-channel speaker, each speaker is housed in curved brushed, anodized aluminum enclosures and trimmed in elegant glass accents.
Bose’s proprietary QuietPort technology enables the SoundTouch 300 and Lifestyle 650 systems to produce clean and impactful bass at any volume, and both products also offer Bose’s ADAPiQ room equalization technologies to ensure the systems integrate into any room environment without compromising sound quality.
Ensuring long-term reliability, Bose has responded to dealers’ request to stay ahead of market trends through the inclusion of HDMI inputs that support Ultra HD 4K pass-thru, ARC, CEC and HDCP 2.2 compatibility.
The Bay State-based company adds that setup of the SoundTouch 300 soundbar and Lifestyle 650 system is easy through the use of Bose’s Unify installation platform that delivers a guided setup process. Moreover, Bose also supports third-party control/automation system integration to ensure installation efficiency.
Dealers Success is a Team Effort
Another aspect of the Bose brand is its dealer support program. Priola says that with the aid of Bose’s support resources Primetime AV is able to meet its retail, custom and commercial sales goals.
“Bose provides Primetime AV with support in my areas of our processes,” he explains. “We have a dedicated dealer technical support number to help both our in-store and field technicians with any issues. Bose is what I would call a real partner with Primetime as to our revenue goals.”
Murray points out that Bose’s expertise at marketing and consumer education aids the Listen Up staff to a level where customers are sold on Bose products before they walk into the company’s stores.
“This makes the sales process easier for us and we witness the power of the Bose brand and its’ marketing,” says Murray. “Bose is always ready to evaluate and invest in marketing, events and other various in-store advocacy initiatives.”
Providing a recent example of Bose’s dealer support, Murray recalls a marketing event it held in collaboration with the popular audio company that exceeded Listen Up’s expectations.
“For years, and to many customers, Bose is considered the best and is probably the first name that people think of, when they think of audio. Bose's partnership with the NFL has helped to extend their brand. We recently partnered with Bose to do an event with former Denver Bronco, Ed McCaffrey,” remembers Murray. “We had a great turnout—over 150 people. The most exciting thing about the event was most of the attendees had never been in our store. We also had a good amount of people come to the event who had no interest in meeting Ed McCaffrey, but wanted more information about Bose headphones or home theater systems. This event was a big mutual win for both Listen Up and Bose.”
The Bottom Line
Dealers assessing the value of a vendor partnership need to ask themselves what type of sales opportunities does that brand provide? In the case of Bose, it is one of only a handful of brands that brings people to dealers because of its wide brand awareness and a diverse well-rounded product lineup.
These two factors are arguably the biggest keys to successfully selling audio in today’s market. With so many products, formats and technologies, selling audio is more challenging that at any point in the history of consumer electronics.
Murray says that using the combination of consumer awareness and Bose’s product line fosters sales opportunities because of formats such as streaming audio are driving high interest in music once again.
“Older customers who may have purchased CD player-based systems in the past are coming back to discuss wireless music solutions, and younger customers are also looking at wireless music systems since in many cases this is the only option they now,” says Murray. “Bose Quiet Comfort headphones have been a huge hit and help to drive customers into our stores. Bose also has a wide range of wireless music solutions for us to offer, ranging from the Soundtouch 10 at $199 to more expensive speaker systems like the Soundtouch 20 ($349) and Soundtouch 30 ($499). The Soundtouch products also give us the ability to create component-based systems with the Soundtouch Wireless Link adaptor and SA5 amplifier.”
Cole says that another important consideration of vendor relationships is not only a manufacturer’s current product line, but also how its engineering team gauges the market to accurately determine its next generation of products. Cole asserts that no manufacturer does a better job than Bose of evaluating the market and determining upcoming technology and product trends.
“Bose has done an exceptional job with anticipating trends and what people want with its recent [product] releases,” he points out. “Many of the trends over the years were actually started by Bose and then built upon. The 901 loudspeaker and Bose Wave are prime examples of products that initiated a category and evolved without getting stale. And the product keeps on working, which is part and parcel for why people trust the name Bose.”
Between Bose’s consumer “brand pull,” as well as its dealer support programs and diverse product selection, the Massachusetts company provides everything a modern dealer partner needs to be successful in today’s A/V marketplace. Boiling down all of these factors concisely, Priola boasts that his Ill.-based business could not have partnered with a better company to weather the ebbs and flow of economic circumstance any more efficiently than its relationship with Bose.
“In Primetime AV’s 23 years in business there has not been a more consistent supportive vendor/partner for our business,” he emphasizes. “We really enjoy the simplicity of selling the Bose brand and consistency of revenue and margin it brings to our business.”