The latest Stressless advertising campaign from Ekornes UK encourages consumers to picture themselves seated in an oasis of calm amidst the busy chaos of everyday life. The company’s team did a fine job of recreating just such an atmosphere at the Birmingham Motorcycle Museum last month. Furniture News editor Paul Farley reports.

According to communications manager Anna-Marie Warren, Ekornes UK’s annual exhibition –  Innovators of Comfort – “gives the teams an important opportunity to meet our retailers, show them the 2013 concept and develop relationships”.

The show has been Ekornes UK’s preferred exhibition format for several years now, as it gives the company a freedom of format and scale that it could not find at an established event – as well as a more intimate setting in which to deal with stockists.

The Ekornes’ UK team is one of the parent company’s most proactive in terms of marketing. Lee Bagnall, formerly of Bensons and Go Outdoors, joined in September, and has ensured that the company’s work with companies and retailers continues to set a benchmark for the industry.

The developments announced at the December show indicate that none of the company’s momentum has been lost. Ekornes UK stepped up its market engagement by unveiling new promotions, the launch of Stressless Office, new products across the spectrum, and a fresh CRM strategy, Stressless World – built around a guided sale follow-up process and clearer branding.

The Stressless World support pack offers a detailed guide to Ekornes UK’s suggested after-sales procedure, and includes a DVD explaining the origins of the furniture and recommendations for its upkeep,  as well as gift vouchers and promotional prompts. “We are making the follow-up easier for the retailer to do themselves,” says Lee.

“I’m pleased to report that the show was a great success,” adds Anna, “and that retailers were happy to order the new product for display. We heard repeatedly that the Stressless Office collection certainly seemed a natural extension of the range, with the Magic, Jazz and Wing models proving the most popular.

“Feedback on the new Stressless E40 and Liberty models was also extremely positive. Retailers felt that the E40 in particular, with its neat lines and fixed back cushion, was a very commercial model for the UK market.

“But, more than anything else, distributors told us that they have confidence in our new communications concept. It was felt that the new-look creative materials brought character and a real ‘wow’ factor to the advertising. We were so pleased with the new TV commercial that we’ve decided to use it on a second, multi-channel campaign, in addition to the usual winter TV campaign which took place during the last week of December. The new campaign will, as a whole, launch in March.”

This year, Ekornes UK is placing greater emphasis on the end-user, in an attempt to increase awareness of the Stressless brand – but this does not mean the company is ignoring its stockists, who will benefit from better models, better promotions and better marketing guidance, as well as the customer footfall created by the greater level of consumer awareness.