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There are so many inspiring brand stories to tell and Crane definitely has one. The brand is just over 10 years old and is making WiFi connected humidifiers with touch LCD displays. Their design ethos is admirable. Before we dive into why we chose to feature Crane this month, be sure to check out SKLZ our last month’s featured brand who is the creator of performance equipment for athletes!
When you picture a humidifier do you imagine something along the lines of this?
Most of us do. Pretty classic looking, pretty boring and most of them all look relatively similar. The makers behind Crane took notice to this dull household appliance and decided to do something about it…jazz it up if you will. After checking out Crane’s products you may now imagine a humidifier looking like this:
Designing for Better Living
Crane’s company mantra is ‘Design for Better Living’ which I absolutely love. The playfulness and creativity just oozes through their products all the way from conception to the way they name their products – this one is Merlin the Red Dragon.
Crane was established on the belief that design is an attitude and the home is a personal expression of an individual’s lifestyle. Crane wants you to crack a smile when you look at their products and their products are expressive to say the least.
I sat down with Joe Grotto, who owns Marketing and Sales at Crane, to discuss how the company got its legs and how he properly equips himself for retail success in the digital age.
With under 20 employees in the company, Joe has his hand in nearly everything. Lately Joe has been tasked with implementing new technologies and softwares to help Crane manage its explosive growth and keep all of their retailers up to date on their products.
How Crane got their first big break
Crane first showed its take on the humidifier at a tradeshow and it peaked people’s interest immediately because of how vastly different it was than anything else they had seen. Joe credits the success of the humidifiers to being able to stand out in a crowded market and because of the fact that they took a stance and did something different.
They sold their product to buyers right then and there at the tradeshow and ever since they have been growing so quickly and need more technology to help stabilize their growth.
Getting product content into a ‘public forum’
Crane is trying to automate a lot of things but its tough to do if you don’t a huge IT team and a lot of air support. Joe mentioned that finding tech partnerships are really key to help take things to the next level. Crane sells into almost every major retailer. In-store and online they currently sell into roughly 600 different stores. Joe fields nearly every request from retailers for Crane product content. That’s a lot to keep up with.
“Its important for me to keep Crane’s product information clean and consistent across the board to maintain our brand story.”
Joe said that one of his main goals was to get his product content into some sort of public forum for everyone to access. Once you start growing its awesome to get everyone working off the same page and have retailers access that single source of truth.
How Crane keeps up with retail demands
Crane gets bombarded with requests from retailers. However, Crane is highly organized when it comes to their brand assets, making it easy to field those one-off requests. Crane organizes their product catalogue perfectly and houses most of their content in Hubba.
Since Joe is the one fielding all the requests for product content from his retailers, it’s important for him to keep it consistent. I asked him what requests he gets the most and he said product dimensions and product images. In Crane’s product profiles they keep tons of consumer facing product content.
Because humidifiers are a high maintenance item, consumers want to know a lot about cleaning instructions (ie: if you can put oils in the humidifier – Joe says you can’t!). A ton of Crane’s product benefits and feature bullets are in their product profiles as well.
Empowering retail partners to be self-serve
Cutting down on redundant administrative work is something that everyone strives for. Luckily, Joe said his life is a little bit easier now that he can simply send out a link to his products. He encourages his retailers to be self-sufficient and grab the information they need whenever they need it without having to ask Joe. Now, all of his product content are directly at his retailer’s fingertips.
“Now when we launch a new item, our retailers can just go and grab all the information they need as opposed to us sending it out to each retailer individually. It really cuts down my workload.” – Joe Grotto, Marketing and Sales, Crane
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Joe! We can wait to see Crane continue to grow and dominate in the field. Oh, and thanks for sprinkling in some subtle puns onto your website. We appreciate it 😉
Do you want an easier way to share product information with your retailers and make your brand shine? Join Hubba today.