La-Z-Boy Launches Do-Not-Disturb Decor

La-Z-Boy, which has been inviting people to put their feet up for a century, is looking to plump up the couch cushions for the next generation of furniture buyers. The latest twist is a new effort giving away needlepoint pillows to encourage people to take a load off. Embroidered with lines like, “When I’m reclining, don’t come a-whining,” “Do not disturb,” and “Recline mode activated,” the effort stems from its research that finds that 74% of consumers plan to prioritize rest as a form of self-care this year. Christy Hoskins, vice president and chief marketing officer of the Michigan-based company, explains.

Marketing Daily: You launched “Long Live the Lazy” in August, created by RPA, to reposition the brand. Six months in, how is that going?

Christy Hoskins: Things are going well so far. We want to ensure we're constantly attracting new customers to the brand. We want to be top of mind and relevant in culture and focus on our strengths, which was comfort. People know us for that.



We'd been focused on style and design and lost our way a bit. So we tried to focus on our strengths distinctively. We launched with Decliner, which people could win – it texted ways to decline invitations so you could stay home.

Over this holiday season, we supported people's rights to binge-watch their favorite holiday shows by giving them uninterrupted watching time and supporting ad-free viewing. And now we're launching “Do Not Disturb.” It’s a tricky overall economy right now for furniture, but we’re doing our best to manage overall down demand. And our business is faring better than competitors.' These activations are creating new perceptions of the brand.

Marketing Daily: Same-store sales gained 1% last quarter, while total sales declined 16% to $511 million. Is that linked to low-housing turnover and consumers cutting back?

Hoskins: Yes. Our most significant indicator of industry success and growth is housing starts. Between interest rates, inflation and housing inventory being down, it all has an impact. We’ve hit our quarterly projections and continue outperforming our competitors during this challenging time.

Marketing Daily:
How are today’s furniture buyers different? Not just generationally, but in terms of how they think about furniture?

Hoskins: One of the core opportunities we had as a brand was that we had an aging consumer base, with the average age in their 60s. We recognized that wasn't a sustainable proposition. “Long Live the Lazy” aims to introduce new consumers to the brand. Our segmentation research has us focusing on a psychographic group that prioritizes peace over perfection and comfort over style. They live busy lives, but they recognize the importance of rest. Their home is a place to live in and use; it’s not just beautiful. It’s a group that crosses generations. Moving younger isn’t our only goal.

Marketing Daily: You’ve got a challenging job as a CMO. La-Z-Boy is a retailer, selling directly to consumers, but you are also a wholesaler in stores where you have less control over branding. How do those demands come together for you?

Hoskins: I've always worked at manufacturers that sold through retailers, so this is a different model. Half of La-Z-Boy’s sales are outside of our own stores. I’m still learning the nuances of that combination. Our brand’s strength is what drives people into stores, so it’s essential to keep building that brand. But we are also a retail business, focusing on traffic and daily and weekly sales.

Marketing Daily: What’s your budget like, and how are you spending it differently?

Hoskins: Our budget is a healthy percentage of sales.

We’ve changed our go-to-market marketing approach pretty significantly. First is who we’re targeting -- this new consumer I just mentioned. We’re showing up in places that matters to them. Our research has shown us that means media like digital gaming and digital audio, which are newer areas for us. We're also allocating for earned creative activations like this to help us connect with culture.

Marketing Daily: What metrics are you watching most closely with the repositioning?

Hoskins: Sales, for sure. We've developed a balanced scorecard, looking at the upper funnel brand health metrics for traffic and sales. One critical KPI for us is unaided brand awareness. Our aided awareness is high, about 90%, but our unaided awareness dropped pretty significantly. It’s at 15%, which tells us we're not top of mind. Closing that gap is a crucial goal for us. We’re also watching how that then translates to brand consideration.

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