10-The-Dealers-Council-Cartoon - ViagraIt started back in the 90’s I think.  We’ll call him John Doe and he worked for a cabinet manufacturer. John looked at the dealer channel back then and realized it was a bit of a mess.

John wanted to help cabinet dealers, but he couldn’t quite rationalize how exactly to do it without inadvertently helping his competitors.  Each dealer he went to carried more than one brand (they still do).


An Epiphany of the Highest Order

Then John had an idea.  Not just an every day, run-of-the-mill idea.  I mean an earth-shattering, ground-breaking, mountain-moving, other-worldly idea.

“What if the dealer only sold our brand?”

A quote from the Lord of the Rings movie entered his head:

One brand to rule them all, One brand to find them
One brand to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Then he changed into a golem and was never heard from again.  Oops, wrong story.

– back to our story –

So John was excited.  Ridiculously excited.  Were talking Edison light bulb excited (I was going to say “Humphry Davy light bulb excited” but I’m not sure everyone would get the reference).

And so the initial plans of world domination began…

Fast Forward a Few Decades

Of course it didn’t work. But it does amaze me how many times the world domination approach seems to crop up in this industry.  It crops up almost on schedule.  In fact, I personally think it should be a season.  You know, Summer – Fall – Winter – World Domination – Spring.  Spring is when the rep armies start marching to attack the dealers.

Here’s the top 5 reasons why manufacturers hoping to sell the One-brand myth are doomed to fail:

  1. Dealers don’t want just one supplier.  It’s just too risky.  Dealers want the protection of multiple suppliers (like any healthy business would) in case a manufacturer has some sort of issue or challenge.
  2. It makes no business sense.  Convincing a dealer to use one brand is like trying to convince Home Depot to only sell one brand of tools.  That means the entire store could fit into my condo.  Sort of kneecaps Home Depot’s ability to meet customer demand and drive revenue, doesn’t it?
  3. One brand doesn’t do it all.  One brand doesn’t do everything for every type of customer.  I know, I know – there are just so many options in that catalog, but it still doesn’t do everything.  Get used to it.
  4. It’s more about the local market.  The market dictates the product lines for a cabinet dealer.  Yet some manufacturers still believe it’s the dealer owner that dictates the product lines.  A manufacturer will never convince a dealer that one brand will generate enough revenue in a local market so that the other brands can be dropped.  And even if we lived in Candy Land and this was accomplished, re-read #1.
  5. It’s already a proven failure.  Most one-brand dealers are now either out of business or multi-brand dealers after the market slowdown.  That’s a lot of evidence out there that selling the one-brand myth is like beating a horse that died 3 years ago.  It’s not a pretty sight.

If you’re a cabinet manufacturer seeking world domination, just build out factory owned stores in every city and find out for yourself why it doesn’t work.  At least that way the dealers can get a good laugh out of it. 🙂