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Lo-res_219804376-SWhen Bob’s Discount Furniture determined that what it really needed to do was reinvent its image, to prevent consumers from thinking that it offered discount or cheap products, as opposed to quality furniture at a discount, it mounted a multipronged approach. In addition to communicating about its preferred image, it sought to introduce new offerings and channels to support the claims it was making.
Notably, it released a new augmented reality (AR) app that allows users to virtually place couches, tables, chairs, and other furniture available through Bob’s in representations of their rooms at home. This functionality facilitates their decision making, offers a fun way to shop, and limits the chances of disappointment when an ordered piece does not fit well in a room. In this sense, Bob’s Discount Furniture established that it could provide added value to shoppers first, before initiating its marketing campaign along those lines.
The resulting campaign explicitly deals with the idea that, because of the retailer’s name, it must be sell cheap, poor quality furniture. An animated character, Lil Bob, appears in the advertisements, describing the company’s philosophy that the discount is what shoppers get from Bob, not a description of the furniture. Rather than emphasizing “discount furniture,” the spots try to convince shoppers that the key terms in the retailer’s name are “Bob’s discount.”
Spokespeople for the chain also have granted interviews to the business press, describing how the company’s sophisticated supply chain management practices enable it to offer deeper discounts than its competitors. Thus it covers both industry observers and consumers by spreading messages in various channels and publications.
The chain’s growth likely sparked this recognition of the need to clarify the meaning of the brand. In business for nearly 30 years, it now counts 119 stores, with further expansions planned for the near future. These stores already have sought to provide an appealing consumer experience, offering ice cream treats and coffee in on-site cafes.

Discussion Questions:
1. What kind of value does Bob’s Discount Furniture aim to provide consumers?
2. Is the form of value you noted in response to the first question sufficiently represented by the chain’s name? Should it consider changing its name, and what considerations would it need to address if it chose to do so?

 

Source: Marianne Wilson, “Bob’s Discount Furniture Puts New Spin on ‘Discount,” Chain Store Age, July 1, 2019; Adrianne Pasquarelli, “Bob’s Discount Furniture Debuts Its First Work from Barton F. Graf,” Advertising Age, June 27, 2019; Nic Ledoux, “Bob’s Discount Furniture Launches Augmented Reality App,” Furniture World News, December 3, 2018