By Lindsey Snyder
Meridian recently opened an East Coast showroom in New York City, which boasts a brand new, state-of-the-art theater system that demonstrates the power—rather than the variety—of Meridian’s offerings.
After drastically cutting its lineup from 130 to 30 products a few years ago, Meridian chose to abandon passive speakers entirely to focus on active ones with digital signal processing. Walking into the showroom, the uncluttered designs and focus on Meridian’s Sooloos touch-screen interface are immediately apparent. Meridian America CEO Peter J. Wellikoff believes the space demonstrates how the company’s unique products and new staff members are “raising the bar.”
Meridian's NYC showroom features a state-of-the-art theater system.
Meridian has closed sales with 90 percent of visitors since the showroom opened, according to Wellikoff, and the impressive display of equipment undoubtedly has something to do with that rate. After about 30 seconds in the theater, I understood why celebrities from all over the country have travelled to personally experience those decibel levels. The sound and images radiated straight through my core.
The showroom, made possible with help from theater consultants John Arthur and Brent Lambert, was originally a few floors down in the building, which appropriately sits among Manhattan’s trendiest fashion boutiques in swanky SoHo. The larger space made room for the beefier Reference Series products, including the 810 Reference Video System and DSP 8000 Digital Active Loudspeakers. With the success and attention the space has garnered already, a West Coast installment in the future would be a natural progression.
The new staff filling the office feature resumes that include Sony Music, and luxury brands like DeBeers, Harry Winston and Bulgari. Although not all CE related, Meridian strongly identifies itself as a luxury product and in recent years has focused on enhancing this element in brand awareness through partnerships with McLaren and Range Rover cars—the former ringing up at $1/4 million per vehicle; and product placement in some high profile Hollywood movies, including Get Him to the Greek, Dinner for Schmucks, The Hangover sequel, and the next installment of the Twilight Saga.
America CEO Peter J. Wellikoff believes Meridian is "raising the bar."
Another part of this increased brand awareness initiative—beyond winding down its product offerings—is a reduction in Meridian’s international dealer base, from somewhere around 270 to 118 dealers since 2007.
A new retail strategy includes boutique stores that have opened worldwide, including in Bangkok, Mexico City, Santiago and Seoul so far. By the end of this year there will be 11 of these independently owned franchises. Meridian products are also sold through premium partners, customer stores known as design consultants, and compact resellers.
The aggressive new strategies Meridian has been pursuing seem to be paying off even during the economic downturn with a 14 percent global increase in sales for the last fiscal year.