An Industry-Wide Resolution: Focus
It brings me great pride to contribute what promises to be the first of many columns as the new president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA). By collaborating with many of the best and brightest in our great industry, my goal for 2005 is to rally window film vendors, distributors and dealers around a single goal: focus.
As an industry, we all battle a singular public relations challenge: convincing potential buyers and legislators that a thin layer of film can keep people safe against the most violent storms and attacks, dramatically reduce energy consumption, or radically alter the appearance of an interior. In other words, we need to educate the public better.
For an educational campaign to be effective, the source of information must be credible. Being an IWFA member adds instantly to your credibility, but it’s up to each member to build on that trustworthiness. One sure-fire way to earn respect is to highlight the benefits of your glass film solutions without criticizing competing products. Be sure your marketing claims are backed up by reliable test metrics and avoid the temptation to make overly lofty claims, such as “bullet-proof glass,” that cannot be substantiated in real-world installations.
The IWFA website offers a variety of valuable resources to help members market effectively, persuasively and, of course, responsibly. The FAQ section provides visitors with accurate answers to some of the most popular questions, such as cleaning techniques, effects of film on interiors and material longevity. For automobile tinters, the site is a useful source for information about U.S., Canadian and European laws. And if the published content fails to answer your specific question, a members’ chat room allows professionals to tap the expertise of a wide peer network. Visit it at www.iwfa.com.
Of course equipping members with reliable information is just one component of the IWFA’s mission to help sustain and grow your business. The association is committed to tap the ideas and reach of related industries to increase positive perceptions of our own. For example, the IWFA teams with the Safe America Foundation to educate the public on the benefits of safety film. Sponsored by many Fortune 500 companies, including Motorola, Safe America recently published and distributed a calendar with one month dedicated to glass safety issues.
Under my leadership, the association will continue to work closely with legislators on new ways to remove the barriers that slow our ability to sell commercial films, particularly safety products. The IWFA retains the services of high-impact consultants that collaborate with state police and legislators on auto tint laws and federal authorities on building code rewrites. On the residential side, we are closely involved with the International Code Council and International Building Code task groups to make certain residential building codes include window film. Regardless of the audience, our goal is to ensure that facts – not perceptions – about window film reach the proper authorities.
But we need your help too. For the IWFA to be able to influence the influencers, it is critical that our members are all speaking in unison when it comes to communicating the benefits of window film solutions. After all, as they say, “A rising tide lifts all ships.”