June 29, 2010

Hooray, Hooray, A New Blogger Is Here Today!

By Paul Bieber

Here is a special guest blog from Eugene Negrin. More on Eugene at the end of his blog.

Branding your Business—Quality Makes a Difference

The glass industry is a diverse, multifaceted and unique universe with significant opportunities for all market segments. In each category, there are a range of providers each known for a unique set of skills and features. From a marketing perspective, what we know and feel about these businesses is commonly referred to as their brand.

In my view, when it comes to a competitive profile, the market can be divided into two main parts. The first category is the volume providers. What characterizes this group is volume capability, specific expertise and/or repetitive processes. Whether manufacturer or local glass shop, their sustainability depends on speed and efficiency. These innovators have developed processes for high efficiency, and an acceptable standard of quality for high volume production. Their Brand may be recognized for consistency and competitive prices as the result of particular skills of their workforce or proprietary factors inherent in their factory or shop.

The other part of the market, where my company earned its reputation, is in custom capability. It is challenging to play at this end (and, that is why I like it). Building your Brand here encompasses a host of different factors that requires special skills with every step.

Before entering our industry in 1974, I had the opportunity to study the glass business and determine my path. From day one, I was intrigued by how I might differentiate our company (which was then known as Galaxy Glass & Mirror) to make the business more attractive to my prospective customers.

In the ensuing years, we continually refined our focus, concerning ourselves with ways to blend our artistic creativity with market trends. We uncovered market niches, experimented with manufacturing techniques and identified shortcomings in ways that products were specified, manufactured, and installed.

These factors were significant in building the Galaxy® Brand and provided us with a strong product and service ‘story’ that made sense to our customers. But, that wasn’t always enough. Throughout the supply chain, there are points where the “copy-cats” try to emulate the leaders and negatively affect everyone. They may beat a price and win a job, but bring down the entire industry with poor quality products or shoddy installation. The one area that can’t be imitated is consistent quality.

Today our audience, the collective group of architects, designers, contractors and owners recognize that Galaxy quality has no equal. It’s a unique position and one that literally took over 30-years to establish. There is no shortcut to get there, but it is a journey worth pursuing in establishing your place in the minds of your prospects and customers.

For example, since we consistently create new designs and unique glass products, we are constantly communicating these new designs and materials to the architectural and design community. We assist in design development with a specialized sales team and follow through with products of impeccable finish in exact match to specification. There is much that goes into our products and some secrets that add to the mystery.

Whether your business is that of a volume provider or custom purveyor, we all must contend with ‘Value Engineering’. This is a process that challenges all of us and often compromises quality. In the absence of discernable features, price becomes the great equalizer. This ‘Brand’ is one dimensional … low price!

And, it is not the result of innovation, skill or proprietary process.

Whatever ball park you play in, bringing value to your brand is an end-to-end process. It’s all about how you treat your customers from first contact to final invoice and beyond.

Paul’s note: This is the first in a series of blog postings from Eugene Negrin, founder and President of Galaxy Glass & Stone® in Fairfield, NJ, an industry leader in Architectural Decorative Glass. Eugene is becoming a regular member of our US Glass News blogging community. I have known Eugene since about 1980 and have seen his firm grow from a small glass shop, to a leader in the design community within the New York marketplace. Then he expanded to sell products around the country. If you see a high-end, high quality job, you can be sure it is on Eugene’s radar screen. Future blogs will chronicle Eugene’s perspectives on a range of issues important to glass industry professionals, specifiers, owners and contractors. I am personnaly very proud to have Eugene join our family.

Eugene welcomes feedback on any issue from serious business challenges to fishing and food, for which he is also most passionate. Contact him at enegrin@galaxycustom.com.