Once the industry leader in modern seating and tables, Harter had serious decline in its brand, losing 38% of sales. The Moderns observed the brand’s position by multiple factors and identified the core issues: lost A&D specifiers and dependency on dealers. In response to the emerging market trend toward mobility, we have developed the strategy to broaden product offering, from task seating to lounge seating, tables, mobile furniture and more elevated designs. Over an eight-year period, Harter became the go-to brand for great design value, grew their sales by 48% and solidified the market position.
Having pioneered ergonomics in the early 70s, Harter was once the industry leader in modern seating and tables, for which they had won several awards. When the company approached The Moderns in 2001, its brand was in serious decline. By that point, Harter had lost 38% of its sales, which were continuing to decline steadily.
The Moderns observed Harter’s market position and sales by geography and demographics. We learned that they had lost most of their A&D specifiers and were, for the most part, dependant on their dealers.
The product offering had become limited to mid-priced task seating of average design. Task seating had become basically a commodity item, which furniture manufacturers and, subsequently, dealers offered to end users almost at cost when procuring larger furniture orders.
At the time, observation research showed an emerging trend towards mobility. Technology had become so portable that people could work anywhere, anytime, any way. Our positioning for Harter was to be at the heart of the solution, no matter how or where you work. Our strategy was to develop a master product plan that went from a singular focus on task seating to a broader product offering into lounge seating, tables, mobile furniture and more elevated task seating design. We positioned Harter to own good design for great value in the mid-market category. Our strategy allowed Harter products to be specified for any given project.
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Over an eight-year period, Harter became the go-to brand for great design value. They recaptured the A&D specifier and created fierce brand loyalty for their product. Our campaign, which was for Harter to own Valentines’ Day, is now a staple of the American design community. Harter grew their sales by 48% and solidified the company’s market position. Moreover, Harter achieved its goal of selling the company by 2008. The company was sold at top-of-the-market pricing to IZZY furniture and continues to enjoy brand loyalty.