“I think consumers trust the brand because it is something they’re used to and comfortable with,” says Ron Feinbaum, senior vice president and general manager of licensing, merchandising and consumer products for HGTV-Scripps Networks. “When consumers want help making some decisions in the home, they look to HGTV for those ideas. Now they can do it with products as well.”
HGTV hit the airwaves 18 years ago as the only 24-hour cable network dedicated to the home. Two years ago, the company launched HGTV HOME as its own consumer products brand to give viewers the opportunity to recreate at home the styles they admire on HGTV’s programming.
HGTV HOME’s collections are based on a core design philosophy that makes it easy for the network’s viewers to emulate in their own homes. “HGTV as a network makes over homes in a way that viewers might not be comfortable executing themselves from a design standpoint,” Feinbaum explains. “We believed we could carefully launch a consumer products brand in select categories that would help enable and educate consumers about buying products for their home.”
The network has partnered with established brands such as Sherwin-Williams for its paint and wallpaper lines, Shaw for flooring and Basset for custom furniture. HGTV also offers its own collections for furniture (case goods and non-custom upholstery), plants and lighting.
HGTV HOME products can be found in almost 5,000 stores in the United States, including 3,000 Sherwin-Williams locations, 800 independent flooring stores through Shaw, approximately 400 independent garden centers for its plant line, and about 150 furniture outlets. Customers also can visit the new HGTV HOME website, which showcases the products available at these retail locations and helps consumers design their spaces with a variety of functions.
“We’re in a lot of retail locations already and have plans to extend the brand even further into new retail doors,” Feinbaum says.
The HGTV HOME website also offers expert advice through “HGTV HOME KNOW HOW.” This portion of the website offers design tips, how-to videos and stories of the design behind HGTV HOME products through a blog and a Pinterest board. The site also encourages HGTV viewers to post pictures or notes about their projects.
Feinbaum admits that although HGTV is a network beamed into almost 100 million homes with a website that generates an enviable number of hits, the company is new to licensing.
That is why HGTV partnered with Beanstalk, which is a firm that specializes in brand extensions for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Stanley Black & Decker and Salma Hayek, among others. Rachel Terrace, vice president of brand management with Beanstalk, considers HGTV an ideal candidate for a large-scale merchandising program.
“HGTV has incredible stretch, and that gives the brand permission to extend into a wide variety of home and garden categories,” Terrace explains. “We have been very successful because these categories are in need of a s brand with strong consumer trust.”
HGTV and Beanstalk focused on core categories like furniture, lighting, paints, wall coverings and flooring because of their status as “anchor categories,” according to Terrace. There are plans to launch products in categories such as decorative accessories for indoors and outdoors.
For instance, the company launched its plant line on Mother’s Day 2012, and it has been very successful thus far, according to Terrace. Additionally, HGTV HOME also will be launching outdoor solar lighting at Costco this spring.
The most important goal of HGTV HOME, however, is to make sure the HGTV sense of style is consistent across its breadth of licensed products, according to Feinbaum. He says Beanstalk has helped identify what will communicate this to consumers.
“The challenge for HGTV is that as a network we demonstrate a wide variety of aesthetic styles in our programming – everything from traditional to modern,” Feinbaum explains. “But as a consumer products brand, HGTV HOME needs to have a more focused design style. So we hired a design director specifically for HGTV HOME who has defined the aesthetic for the brand and acts as a curator with the licensees, ensuring that we have consistency across product categories and retail locations so that our products all work together.”