Archive for April 2011


Photo Gallery: Kitchen Bath Industry Show 2011

Posted on April 29, 2011 by Nora DePalma

KBIS 2011 was a successful show for three O’Reilly/DePalma clients: Rheem, American Standard Brands and Hy-Lite Windows.  We had fun, too!

Click on any image to start the slide show and view the captions.


New York Times and The End of Home Building as We Know It

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Nora DePalma

On Saturday’s front page, above the fold, the New York Times finds a northwestern Illinois home builder who is giving away a free car with home purchase. The Times uses this example to illustrate the current state of the residential home building industry. Which the Times goes on to vividly describe:

The recession hurt a lot of industries, but it knocked the residential construction market to the mat and has kept it there, even as the broader economy has started to fitfully recover.

Also vividly described, the human toll: the Times cites more than 1.4 million residential construction jobs lost in the last five years.

The article posits that housing might come back differently this time. It cites changing consumer tastes: smaller, cheaper, closer. Read more at Bad Times Linger in Home Building as Economy Rises -

Meanwhile, we’re picking ourselves up off the mat to go get some business done this week at KBIS 2011. Our industry is changing, but business is getting done, one relationship at a time.


Mr. Steam Invites Bath & Kitchen Showroom Consultants to Fantasy Island

Posted on April 20, 2011 by John OReilly

Mr. Steam has launched its fifth annual “Passport to Rewards” Sales Incentive program that supports eligible showroom personnel who market and sell the company’s premier lines of residential and commercial steam showers and towel warmers.

The 2011 Passport to Fantasy Island Rewards Program, which runs from May 1 through December 31, is a multi-faceted sales incentive and marketing program that corresponds with Mr. Steam’s ongoing marketing focus – Steam is in our DNA.

This year’s program will reward selected associates with monthly prizes and will culminate in a four-night, round-trip for two to Tahiti, including a Polynesian Spa ritual for two as the grand prize.

Bath and kitchen showroom consultants and sales associates can register for this valuable program by contacting their local Mr. Steam representative.

Click here for more information on this announcement.


New Customer Access Site for Climate Control™ Network System Allows Enhanced Online Access

Posted on April 13, 2011 by John OReilly

To create a more robust infrastructure and to improve user experience when accessing the Climate Control™ Network System online, Uponor recently launched a new customer access site that has several expanded features and functionalities that benefit everyone — from the contractor to the field technician to the rep to the homeowner.

The Climate Control™ Network System is Uponor’s integrated hardware and software package that connects all of a structure’s heating, ventilation, humidification, air conditioning, domestic hot water and radiant components to a single system for better energy-efficiency, monitoring and control.

“We took customer feedback to redesign the current user interface to provide more of a ‘snapshot’ view of their home comfort system without losing any functionality consumers already had,” says Jeff Wiedemann, product manager, Application Controls at Uponor. “This new design offers homeowners a more attractive, user-friendly experience when accessing their systems.”

Click here to read more and download the press release and hi-res images.


The Uponor Fire Sprinkler Media Tour

Posted on April 8, 2011 by John OReilly

Each year, more than 2,500 Americans die and another 13,000 are injured — many of them critically — in home fires that also cause nearly $8 billion in property damages. Home fire sprinklers can help eliminate this pointless waste of life, limb and property.

Earlier this week, Uponor senior product manager Jayson Drake and senior brand manager Ingrid Mattsson carried this important message to several major shelter publications in New York City and Connecticut, bringing their editors up to speed on the outlook for residential fire sprinklers and the particular benefits of multipurpose-type systems. Among the media outlets visited: Country Living, Fine HomebuildingkbculturePopular Mechanics, and This Old House.

Jayson Drake (right) with Leslie Clagett of kbculture

Jayson Drake (right) with Page Mullins (left) and Chris Allen of Country Living


Report from ISH 2011: Let There Be Fun

Posted on April 7, 2011 by John OReilly

After nearly four decades in the building products business, I finally got myself across the Atlantic this winter to the biennial ISH fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Shame on me: I should have made the scene at this grand event many moons ago. There is absolutely nothing in North America that I have come across that even begins to compare.

That's entertainment!

If you know anything about ISH, even if you’ve never attended, you are probably aware of the scope of the overall fair (11, multi-level buildings); the size and opulence of the exhibits (some of them mini-trade fairs unto themselves); and most of all, the phenomenal crowds cruising its aisles and corridors: more than 200,000 attendees at this year’s event. Upon arriving at the show last month, I found that reality matches all the hype and then some.

But the first thing that hit me about my Inaugural ISH Experience was the high level of hospitality exhibitors happily and freely extended to attendees — great food and lots of German beer (and wine), of course. But also a sheer abundance of… what’s the word? Oh, yeah: FUN. People really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Return on relationships: The sit-down restaurant inside the Uponor booth, where attendees could enjoy beer on tap and something to eat. Uponor was far from the only exhibitor offering this sort of hospitality.

And not just after hours. But right on the show floor, with attendees interacting with interesting brand experiences for literally hours on end. Don’t underestimate the return. “There’s a lot of business going on here,” advised This Old House’s resident plumbing expert Rich Trethewey, whom I encountered at the Uponor booth.

In today’s tight economy, the trade-show budget line item is one of many under intense scrutiny. Yet in some ways, it has always been thus. For as long as I’ve been in this industry, brands have been putting pressure on trade show organizers to demonstrate ROI for their heavy investments in shows, conferences, local meetings and more. “Show me the money!” is an American economic reality that never wanes.

But with trade shows, I fear we have “ROI-ed” the fun out of these events to the very detriment of our business goals. On the fun-o-meter, the typical U.S. trade show ranks a half-notch above a trip to the dentist, a pitiless grind even in good times. How many times have you been through a fast run-through of key messages from a bored booth staffer and on your way in less than 10 minutes, texting friends about where to meet for the REAL fun after 5 p.m.?  Where just as much — if not more — business gets done.

It’s a universal truth that we all do business with people we like and like to be around. After attending ISH, pardon me if the whole thing now seems a no-brainer. U.S. trade show exhibitors would do well to think more about booth hospitality along with their key messages. Give people a reason to come in, sit down and stick around a while. Just to talk — with you. Get into real conversations with people, and learn more about them and what they truly want and need.

Figure out how to have a little more fun, and everything else — including ROI — is quite likely to follow. Because having a good time is just as American as making money.

No standing around, gumming a slab of cold pizza for attendees at ISH, where they know how to enjoy themselves and do a little business.


Uponor Ltd. Distribution Centre Offers Greater Operational Efficiencies

Posted on April 5, 2011 by John OReilly

Addressing the rising customer volume in Eastern Canada, Uponor Ltd. has moved to a larger, more operationally efficient distribution centre in Brampton, ON. The new facility features 24,000 square feet with 28 feet of clear-height warehouse space, providing Uponor with a facility to meet long-term needs in Eastern Canada.

Click here to read more and download the press release and images.

National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network