Feruni has been working hard to rebrand the image of tiles.
TILES will be tiles.
But Feruni Ceramiche Sdn Bhd has been at the forefront in changing people’s perception on tiles; they are more than just plain square and rectangle pieces used to cover surfaces like floors and walls in your home or office.
Tiles need not just be a necessity, says Feruni branding manager Chuah Wan Sim. They can be a lifestyle product.
“We see our tiles as decorative tiles that are fashionable with lively elements. This includes our signature product, the iShape series, that come in different shapes including honeycomb, hexagon and axe,” she points out.
The idea, she adds, is to educate consumers that tiles can also be used to transform plain surfaces into art pieces, injecting a lively atmosphere into their living rooms or kitchens.
For example, tiles can be arranged to form pictures or patterns on walls and floors. And sometimes, the wall does not need to be fully covered by tiles. Just halfway would do to give the wall a nice touch, says Chuah.
Feruni has put a lot of effort into branding and marketing to effectively communicate with its customers that a tile is not just a tile.
“When we started seven years ago, we invested in retail stores and renovated them into full-concept stores.
“Tiles are something that people would want to touch and feel because they need to know what they’re buying and installing in their houses.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide ideas, inspiration and solutions so that when they walk into our concept stores, they will have that ‘a-ha’ moment instead of seeing it as a place full of tiles,” she says.
The company also updates its stores with new collections every year as it aims to be a tile trendsetter. “We want people to know that they can always come here and see for themselves what the latest trends are like the designer collection from Italy or our own newest addition,” she explains.
But the right marketing and right products will only go so far.
Chuah notes that customer experience also plays a part in changing consumers’ perception on tiles.
Feruni has introduced its six-key experience concept to assist customers in choosing their tiles. This includes allowing them to design their space for better visualisation and even offering them coffee.
“Through this, we want them to know that we are always ready to help because their happiness matters to us,” she says, noting that most of the customers at its Petaling Jaya store came through referrals.
In addition, Feruni Tile Mobile will be making a comeback to showcase new and exciting tile collections.
This mini showroom of a truck will be travelling across the country to reach out to consumers in areas where Feruni’s retail outlets are not accessible.
Much of its branding and marketing efforts currently revolve around the touch-and-feel experience but Chuah’s team is also aware that the media landscape is moving towards the digital sphere.
With advanced technology, Chuah and her team are able to generate immediate response through digital marketing.
“The return-on-engagement (ROE) is there as we interact with people before turning them into Feruni’s customers.
“On our social media pages, people would ask us for advice on the problems they are facing or enquire about our tiles.
“This gives us the chance to introduce the company and its stable of products, and eventually invite them to our stores,” Chuah remarks.
There is increasingly more focus placed on digital tools to reach out to the younger market.
Feruni is also looking into e-commerce to keep up with online purchasing trend.
Chuah admits that turning tiles into something interesting that can grab people’s attention is a challenge.
“It is an ongoing exercise in a changing environment like consumers’ behaviour. We will continue to evolve according to their needs to stay on top of the industry,” she concludes.