Many people aren’t sure which career they will end up pursuing until they finish school, but some are destined for the family business. Matt Karlin, president and CEO of Nemo Tile, joined his 95-year-old family business. As a reputable and established brand, Nemo Tile already had a loyal following, but Karlin wanted to bring its marketing into the current century. He describes how he managed to attract new customers with current marketing channels while maintaining brand equity and working with current customers.

When Karlin took over the reigns of the company, he wanted to help develop the marketing strategy to bring the brand to new customers. “When a brand has existed for nearly a century, there’s a battle between maintaining the identity that people have always known and loved, but also making adjustments so that it doesn’t become stale. The first change that I had to make when I took over just a few years ago was to bring in a strong team with people who understood branding and marketing to put a strategy in place, one that would bring the Nemo Tile name to today’s consumer, designer, contractor and others that are part of our demographic. We had to figure out how to develop the same trusted connection that older generations have with Nemo with today’s rising consumers and A&D community. Everything from our website to social media presence and marketing collateral to our showroom design and customer service approach needed a refresh. Our new team came together, identified the target market of this generation’s Nemo Tile and set out to engage with them in every way possible.”

He also explains the challenges associated with marketing a well-known brand. “A drawback of maintaining a brand that’s been around for a very long time is that it sometimes can carry the perception of being dated, which is why it’s so important to constantly refresh and update your public face. For Nemo Tile, this includes innovative showroom displays, new product launches and maintaining a strong online and offline presence in our community and target markets.” To connect with new customers without losing the traditional feel of the company, Karlin mainly focused on the company’s digital presence. “Nemo Tile is supported by three pillars of success — great product, great showrooms, great customer service. Today’s mindset is more of a 360-degree approach. My focus has been to expand our reach through a digital presence, but we maintain the same carefully curated feel on Nemo Tile’s online properties that my father maintained in his showrooms.”

When you are marketing an old, established brand, it can be tempting to resist change, However, doing so can dilute your brand equity as much as changing too much. By striking a balance and bringing your company to a new audience, you can maintain your client loyalty while also staying fresh in your industry.



This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of for CBS Small Business Pulse.