At CEDIA EXPO 2009, Legrand announced that it would be re-badging some of its brands, including the well-known On-Q line. The company’s VP of marketing, Dave Hanchette, says the shift is part of an umbrella strategy aligning all Legrand brands to better serve customers. Hanchette recently answered our questions about this plan, as well as other news from the Legrand family.
“This is not just a brand exercise, but a cooperative product development…” —Dave Hanchette, VP of marketing, Legrand
Please explain this new ‘umbrella strategy’ using the Legrand name.
The simple explanation is that Legrand has a wide variety of “customer families” where the overlap of products, solutions, and support simply makes good sense. The hard part is that the legacy brands of On-Q, Pass & Seymour, and Wiremold are well entrenched in the eyes of the respective customers. This is not just a brand exercise, but a cooperative product development [with] ongoing engineering development, new technology alignment, technical and field support, sales and marketing interaction, and channel development activities.
In your five-year plan, however, Watt Stopper and Vantage will remain specialty brands. Why is that?
Specialty is the key word. Vantage for its niche in the ultra luxury space and Wattstopper in the world of energy, are both important to Legrand, and each is unique as a specialty growth segment. Future category growth opportunities, specialization of products and solutions, and vertical support structures are the differences that drive the Legrand strategy around these specialty brands.
What does it mean to Legrand to now be a member of the 125-dealer rep/management AIN Group?
It is exciting to be part of the AIN Group with the clear line of benefits to the AIN integrator partner. As the AIN Preferred vendor for Structured Wiring and Accessories, Multi-Room Audio and Accessories and Intercom and Accessories, Legrand (with the On-Q product line) provides a wide range of offerings to a differentiated segment of the marketplace. While historically Legrand has been successful with some of the AIN Group in certain segments, membership in the AIN Group will drive greater participation in all categories.
Does GE’s decision to exit your product category worry you at all?
Just the opposite, like the Honeywell decision early in 2009, the GE decision to exit this space is indicative of the Legrand success in dominating the home systems marketplace. These economic times have driven Honeywell and GE’s decisions to exit the space; marketshare gains as the markets return will benefit Legrand and other remaining players.
IMAGE HERE The On-Q Studio LCD in-wall touchpanel from Legrand
Talk a little about the Unity Platform and why you consider it the “most sophisticated product that you’ve ever released?”
Simply put, Unity is the platform for the Legrand Home Systems Studio range of products and solutions. The Legrand Home Systems strategy includes the delivery of multiple ranges of offerings, each designed to be better and each targeting a differentiated segment of the market. Whether the homeowner is building, buying, or upgrading, the abilities to deliver solutions that meet consumer technology needs and talk on a common platform are critical. Unity offers this “sophistication,” targets the mid-market, and delivers seamless integration at a value price point.
Finally, tell us about some of Vantage’s new products from CEDIA EXPO.
RF lighting technology is an excellent example of technology sharing within the Legrand organization. Originally developed by Wattstopper and incorporating a proprietary wireless protocol called Top Dog, Legrand RF Lighting is a residential lighting control option now offered as Wattstopper, Vantage, Pass & Seymour, and On-Q residential product solutions. The magic is the continued development bringing new features to Legrand customers, a support structure that leverages differentiated customer experience, and applications/ drivers for the technology that can be shared. Again, the key benefactor is the customer.