Background & Challenge
In 1994, a building contractor named Tom Sullivan began purchasing excess wood from other companies. He then resold the wood from the back of a trucking firm’s yard in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Two years later, in 1996, the first ‘Lumber Liquidators’ store was created in Roxbury, MA. Today, the company has almost 400 stores and revenues of $800M.
In 2016, WANT was hired by the CMO as its brand advisor and to complete a 30-day Strategic Brand Assessment on LL to understand strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and provide brand guidance and counsel.
The initial Strategic Brand Assessment we delivered highlighted significant opportunities to strengthen two key offerings. The first, ‘Installation Services’ would enable LL to provide a range of value-added services to customers including room measurement and complete flooring installation provided by LL employees. Previously, the firm had focused on simply selling product encouraging customers to install it themselves (or hire a third party). The second major opportunity was bolstering its ‘Professional Services’ division – having a dedicated team to provide value-added sales and services to the ‘professional’ community, everyone from ‘man with a van’ contractors all the way to major real estate companies who might consider LL as their flooring solution for multi-unit residential apartment buildings.
Our work included a six-month engagement to create two new service brands including brand strategy, positioning, naming and visual identity. The two selected brands for Installation Services and Professional Services were, respectively ‘Install+’ and ‘Pro+’.
In early 2016 before WANT was hired, LL’s stock price hovered around $11. The company’s brand and image had been tarnished due to lawsuits and negative press around a small portion of unsafe Chinese laminate flooring. Yet, by the Fall of 2017, the stock was up to $40, sales were growing again and the brand was on a strong footing. In a mid-2018 earnings conference call, LL declared that its Pro+ business had “achieved growth that exceeded expectations and now represents more than 25% of our merchandise sales”. Meanwhile, the Install+ business posted strong results and noted that 2018 Q2 results had been its “best quarter ever in terms of installation revenues”.