From Smart Marketing to Eco-Products, Granite Transformations Leads the Home Remodelling Industry
Revolutionizing the way homeowners renovate, Granite Transformation is dedicated to remodeling kitchens and bathrooms with their stunning products designed to be installed over existing surfaces without causing messy, time consuming demolition. Recognizing the many factors that deter homeowners from renovating, Granite Transformations has found the solution to providing customers with their dream homes in a quick and stress-free way.
The company was founded in Perth, Australia in 1996 by Colin Mackenzie and Bob Smith, who recognized an opportunity to use thin, but durable, granite overlays as an exciting new alternative to traditional countertops, backsplashes, floors and more. The first franchise license was granted in 1997 in Perth, and then relocated to Melbourne.
With the business growing rapidly, the company expanded their concept into the United States in 2001. Granite Transformations is one of the largest home renovation companies in the world with 165 branches operating in eight countries and revenues exceeding $150 million annually.
Franchising with Granite Transformations
Granite Transformations’ success has a great deal to do with their franchisees. Their most successful franchisees have experience in sales and marketing, as well as strong business management skills and a good understanding of finance.
New franchisees are offered two weeks of instruction at the corporate training facilities in Dallas, TX, where they learn the basics of operating the business, as well as how to fabricate the products, customize edge types and install the product. Once a franchisee has signed a lease and selected their location, Granite Transformations sends staff to assist with showroom construction, inside and outside sales training, IT support and training on their proprietary business management system.
The home improvement industry has experienced exponential growth over the past several years, and Granite Transformations franchisees can easily help in fulfilling this demand. With current franchising opportunities available all over Canada and the USA, the franchise fee ranges from $25,000 to $75,000 based on protected territories of 100,000 to 300,000 households.
“One of the great things about this brand is that it’s not a fad with a two to three year life cycle, it is a proven business model in operation since 1996,” Carl Griffenkranz, Vice President of Marketing for Granite Transformations says. “Over the last five years, the brand has expanded from a kitchen countertop business to a home transformations business. We’ve added cabinet refacing, bath and shower remodeling, as well as flooring, glass mosaic back splashes and shower options.
Changing the face of the home renovation industry, Granite Transformations is actively recruiting new franchisees to help expand the territory where its services are offered.
Using Data to Drive Advertising Decisions
One of Granite Transformations’ most recent marketing endeavors is the completion of a lifestyle segmentation analysis. Working with Experian Marketing Services, they helped to compile and analyze customer information to generate consumer profiles.
These profiles, also referred to as Mosaic clusters, are classifications based on various data which include more than 600 variables. Some of these variables include age, ethnicity, household size, income, martial status, employment, education, industry, population density and survey data.
Once compiled, the results paint a rich picture of Granite Transformations customers in terms of their demographics, socioeconomics, lifestyles, behaviors and culture. All of this information can then be used to create an in-depth view of customers, prospects and markets. These groups can also be used as a vehicle for successfully implementing marketing strategies within the business.
After analyzing 250,000 data files in their system, Granite Transformations presented franchise owners with new marketing strategies at their convention in July 2013. Through a mapping analysis based on areas the company has serviced, then overlaid with consumer information, the business was able to find matching profiles and locations of other individuals who would also be inclined to become a Granite Transformations customer.
“You get a great picture of who your core customer is through working in their homes,” Griffenkranz says. “Through these profiles, we’re able to create a customer profile. There is a tremendous amount of continuity of what our customers look like, regardless of what part of the country they’re located in; that was very eye-opening for franchisees.”
Explaining how individuals of similar profiles live in groups, Griffenkranz says that by finding areas of highly concentrated customers or potential customers, franchisees can know where to focus their advertising, send direct mail campaigns or host special promotions.
“Creating these profiles involves a tremendous amount of work and one-on-one discussions with customers, but it’s essentially a franchisee’s guide to marketing,” he says. “Once you get the focus down, you get more efficient with your marketing.”
Although Granite Transformations’ franchisees are responsible for purchasing their own media, the corporate marketing team serves as the creative and strategy department, providing all the various tools, including print, TV and radio commercials, online content, public relations templates and social media.
At the core of Granite Transformations is their strong focus on the environment. This effort can be traced to their supplier and parent company, Trend.
Based in Italy, Trend has always incorporated green initiatives into the company’s practices. When they built a new factory in Sebring, FL, they did all they could to minimize the impact on the environment. To reduce its electricity usage and carbon footprint, they ensured the building caught the wind to cool the building rather than relying on air conditioning. They also recycle all of the water used in the manufacturing of the slabs. The water is used and then stored in a pool to allow sediments to naturally filter down and that material is donated to the local highway commission for use as road bed. The factory is structurally designed to allow for ample natural light, minimizing the use of energy consuming lights.
“European countries have been green-focused before it ever meant anything to North America,” Griffenkranz says. “Our company, as a whole, is always looking for more post-consumer resources we can use as part of our manufacturing process with the goal of keeping materials out of landfills.”
Granite Transformations is most recognized for its granite products, made from approximately 95 percent natural stone and mixed with ForeverSeal®, a specially formulated polymer that provides greater strength and durability than traditional granite. Granite Transformations also offers the Trend Glass and Trend Mosaic lines. Trend Glass is a unique combination of quartz, semi-precious stones and up to 72 percent post-consumer recycled glass; for instance, the signature blue glass from recycled Skyy Vodka bottles is featured in some slabs.
Over the past two years, Granite Transformations worked with a premier manufacturer of porcelain products to create an entirely new line of products. At the end of 2012, these products rolled into production and now Granite Transformations is buying the manufacturer’s porcelain products that do not meet quality standards.
“Instead of throwing out non-sellable manufactured materials, we’re buying their unused products, and crushing and mixing the porcelain into slabs to create an incredible finished material. We’ve introduced two new colors, Terra Chiara and Terra Di Siena, using this material, and both have been extremely popular, reaching the top six selling colors in less than a year,” Griffenkranz says. “It’s a great way to partner; take an unusable product and transform it into something beautiful.”
Granite Transformations plans to launch an entire line of new colors based around porcelain products in the near future.
“It has always been a part of our DNA to limit our impact on the environment,” Griffenkranz says. “Our mission is to make beautiful spaces, while at the same time have a minimum effect on Mother Earth. In our industry, some manufacturers’ processes can be harsh and damaging to the environment, but we’re always thinking about how we can recycle and repurpose materials as much as possible.”
Granite Transformations’ installation process is demolition free, which limits the amount of waste which is produced. Furthermore, their countertops use 65 percent less material than traditional countertops, reducing energy and resource consumption.
Granite Transformations’ U.S. manufacturer is located in Sebring, FL, and keeping with their eco-practices, the goal is to source post-consumer materials from as close to the factory as possible to help reduce their carbon footprint. The amount of products Granite Transformations produces with recycled materials has increased from one percent in 2006 to 19 percent in 2008, with some of their agglomerate and glass products, including up to 80 percent recycled material. The company also uses compostable or recyclable materials for packing materials.
“We work hard with our suppliers to source as many products with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to ensure a lesser impact on the environment,” Griffenkranz says.
The company is currently in the process of developing a program that will allow them to use wind energy and recycle heat generated by the plant in Sebring, FL.
The Millionth Milestone
This November, Granite Transformations will service their millionth installation. To celebrate this milestone, the company is working on a global initiative which will roll into 2014. While there is little information available to the public at this time, the company is looking to do something special for all the communities they have serviced over the years.
“We want to do something to give back to the community as our way of thanking all of our customers out there who have enabled us to hit this milestone,” Griffenkranz says. “We started in 1996 and experienced the US recession, the Australian recession, and the UK recession, yet we’re still standing and seeing good growth. We want to thank all the people who had faith in us and supported us.”
As the company continues to offer top-notch customer service, along with The Trend Group’s consistent development of new eco-friendly products, Granite Transformations will continue to revolutionize the way the world is remodeling, keeping them on the forefront of innovation well into the future.
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