Rugs and carpets get no respect. We walk all over them, sweep things beneath them, and use their name when talking about a bad hair piece. In recent years, carpet had also been suffering from concerns and misconceptions that it is unhealthy, not environmentally friendly, difficult to maintain and costly. Looking to address these challenges and better serve their members, The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) wanted a new image. As a nonprofit trade association representing the manufacturers of more than 95 percent of all carpet made in the US, they wanted to better position their science-based approach, customer advocacy, and environmental stewardship while breathing new life into carpet.
Warmth, comfort, beauty, style – not all connotations of carpet are negative. Ogilvy went to work, linking the emotional appeal of carpeted surroundings to evidence-based research of how carpet contributes to improve living, working, healing and learning. Using these insights, the team developed a message platform that accurately reflected the science-based foundation of CRI and tied it to the theme of carpet for a better environment.
With a platform in place, the team enhanced and updated CRI’s brand strategy and identity including the creation of a more modern CRI logo and unified brand, a new corporate brochure, a series of coordinating promotional materials and an updated CRI Web site—all with an active, environmental look and feel.
In addition creating a fresh, new unified look, Ogilvy PR helped CRI launch two new signature certification programs: Green Label Plus, for carpets and adhesives, and Seal of Approval, for cleaning supplies and vacuums. The team developed online marketing toolkits to be used by certified manufacturers; program articulation, including rating systems, logo, style guides and marketing materials; and industry email newsletters and websites. The launches were further supported using earned media, trade show exhibits and promotions.
The message platform and revitalized image and materials gave CRI leaders and members a means to pro-actively emphasize the carpet industry’s commitment to indoor air quality and environmental sustainability. Survey research conducted after the launch showed a positive shift in perception among target audiences and member companies and partners began promoting the core messages and certifications via their own communications channels, creating a “multiplier” effect. For example, Sears Carpet & Upholstery Care used the CRI Seal of Approval within its franchise advertising. The new positioning has helped CRI form stronger partnerships with key influencer groups.