Before Re-Sauce Part 8 – Peerless UK, Europe & Pro-AV
By Gordon Dutch
During the development of the Peerless launch, we knew that we needed to carefully consider channel. Via our previous experience we had seen the channel become very blurred and confused if you carried the same products in consumer and pro-AV. Therefore we made the decision to separate part codes for both division and also that we would have our own products codes and products for Europe where possible.
During the initial website process and discovery that I explained last week, we realised that we needed to consider ‘re-branding’ Peerless. Peerless is a great name, it literally means without Peers, which simply means without equal… However for that reason there were loads of other products called Peerless and lots of issues registering local and worldwide domains.
As a global board we had also taken the decision to move Peerless into exciting new ‘tech’ areas including IP68 outdoor TV, soundbars and wireless products. Therefore, we decided to re-brand as Peerless-AV. This allowed us to register all the web domains we needed locally and also better explain our move into tech, so we would no longer be known as Peerless Mounts.
Of course, a complete re-brand for a business as large as Peerless means huge amounts of work. We had 3600 standard products to start with, that all needed new packaging, instructions in multiple languages, all our websites, literature, business cards, the work was endless, but after 12 months we had managed to get everyone over and Peerless-AV ‘the brand’ was finally up and running.
We created new apparel, business cards, literature and a strap line for the business “Peerless-AV - Driving Technology through Evolution” which alongside the exciting new tech products, allowed us to change the style of our sales and marketing. You see, by de facto, mounts are pretty much always on the back end of a sale, literally. Whereas if you are bidding the front of house tech, like the Peerless-AV Xtreme™ (an outdoor display), then you were on the front of the project and it allowed you to bid the mounts at the same time😊
Having been involved in Pro-AV since 1964, Peerless in the US were incredibly well established as a business in that sector, whereas BBG as mainly a previous UK only CE distributor knew little or nothing at the time within Pro-AV. For that reason, I decided to go back out on the road myself again. My reasons for always going out on the road myself, was how can you understand the market, barriers to entry and what you are facing if you don’t go and see the customers yourself. If you try and do this through the eyes of a ‘sales rep’, then you only get their view or what they bring back to you.
Moving BBG/Peerless into Pro-AV ‘proper’, meant a huge investment in stock, time and personnel and so being on the coal face allows you as a business owner and leader to fully understand the issues you face and tools you need to be successful. I was very fortunate that the rest of the Peerless-AV board were all firmly behind the Peerless-AV concept and expansion into Europe, which was just as well considering the costs involved. However not only did all this hard work and investment pay off, as we opened the likes of Midwich (where I met Lee Baker) and Medium (where I met Ian Sempers), but we realised very quickly that we needed some ‘key’ adaptions to our US based products. After all, the UK at the time was inside Europe (and still is location wise), so the UK was mainly using metric, rather than US imperial. Recognising this was critical to our success, as was a guy called Derrik Lam.
Derrik was a senior engineer at Peerless in the US at the time of the sales/merger and so as a global board we all felt we needed a ‘link’ between the new UK/European office and the US HQ. Derrik agreed to re-locate with his family to the UK for a couple of years straight after the merger and, to that end, did an amazing job for us. Not only did he step in as our Operations Director, but because of Derrik’s engineering background, he was able to review all the local competition. We therefore designed and manufactured in the UK a whole new dedicated range of mounts for Europe called ‘Modular’. To this day this range is still a significant contributor to the success of Peerless-AV. It is fair to say that without Derrik, his designs, amazing work ethic and ability to interact with the US, our transition from UK distributor to Peerless-AV EMEA local HQ, would have taken far longer and been way more difficult. So thank you Derrik and all the Peerless-AV management team. Derrik is now back in the US and head of all engineering at Peerless-AV and whenever I go back to Chicago, I always like to catch up with Derrik and his lovely family for a dinner, as well as all the ownership.
Personal and cultural integration in any business is critical to build relationships across continents and languages. It is your people just as much as the product that makes a business what it is. If you want to know more about building a global business, then reach out to us here at Re-Sauce via firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more in next week’s blog on breaking into Europe and the Middle East as we grew the business sales wise.
Here’s what our Industry Colleagues say about us...
Peerless-AV would like to pay tribute to the incredible work Gordon and his team have done since 2009. It’s sales and brand awareness since we launched Peerless-AV EMEA in 2009 has been massive. Gordon’s strategic leadership and incredible work ethic, along with the dynamic leadership of a best-in-class team, which he assembled, has led Peerless-AV to the forefront of the AV businesses.
Global President & CEO of Peerless-AV