Volume 11, Issue 1 - January/February 2009

Field of Vision
from the editor

A Lesson in Branding
by Penny Stacey

JUST BEFORE THIS ISSUE WENT to press, the industry “lost” two of its legends, with the sale of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass in Harrisburg, Pa. (see related story on page 13). Both Cindy Rowe-Taylor, the company’s founder, chief executive officer and namesake, and her husband, David Taylor, who serves as chief operating officer of the company, have moved onto other endeavors.

In an interview with Rowe-Taylor, she told me she plans to do more volunteer work as a registered nurse and plans to do even more traveling than she’s done in the past. In fact, just three days after we conducted our interview, she was leaving for a ski trip in Austria.

Taylor, who joined the business in 1986 (the year after he married Rowe-Taylor) has other plans; he’s joining his son in the financial sector.

As I interviewed them both, I couldn’t help but ask if we’d still be seeing them at industry events; both, sadly, noted that it would be unlikely, as they don’t intend to be involved with the operations of the company any longer, unless the need arises.

However, Rowe-Taylor’s photo will still appear on the company’s twelve locations for at least some time, according to Tom Feeney, president and chief executive officer for Belron US, who even acknowledged that the Cindy Rowe brand is the best brand his company now owns.

If you call Cindy Rowe Auto Glass today (at least still as I write this), you still hear Rowe-Taylor’s pleasant hellos and she’s the one who walks you through their phone directory system.

On the day of my interview with this notable industry couple, it was Rowe-Taylor herself who escorted us around the office, showing us their dog, Schatzi, who is as comfortable around the office as they are; the company’s customer service center and photos of company barbecues, gatherings, etc. It’s obvious they treat their employees—and visitors to the office, such as us—just as they do their customers, and that is just one of the many reasons the brand has exploded the way it has.

Taylor and Rowe-Taylor will be surely missed—but the brand certainly will live on. While of course, not everyone has a story like Rowe-Taylor’s, have you thought about your brand lately? Does it represent what you want it to? If not, how can you change that? What do you want your customers to think of when they think of your shop name? If you have a successful brand, how have you achieved this? And, if you ever decide to sell your company, will the buyer say “It’s a better brand than any we’ve got?”

I realize that’s a high ideal—but one to which we should all aspire.

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.comTM

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