15 Minutes With…Jim Minarik, Chairman & CEO, DEI Holdings: Synergistically Separate

How DEI keeps the Polk Audio and Definitive Technology brands mutually supportive but distinct

Minarik: In general, Polk overall has a broader line covering a wider array of price-points. We go quite high with the line but also get into categories such as, for example, powered surround bars. For a lot of custom retailers doing second and third installations in a home, bedroom or den, powered surround bars are a popular solution. From the consumer’s perspective, it’s not expensive, it’s easy to understand, and easy to add onto the equipment in their homes to augment their systems where they might live just with a flat screen if they didn’t exist. Polk moved very aggressively in that area, starting at $1,200 retail, but now they range down to $299 retail for a powered surround bar with a wireless sub. Definitive makes soundbars today, but all are passive solutions requiring components to drive them.

Both companies have extensive lines of custom-installed in-ceiling and in-wall speakers. Definitive came out two years ago with the Disappearing in-wall series that is very slimline with magnetically attached grilles and more recently, this past year, Polk also added another line of custom products to their assortment.

Both companies are focused on custom. Polk overlaps quite a bit at the mid and higher end with Definitive, but Definitive tends to go somewhat higher in price-points, depending on category.

CR: Polk has recently entered the headphone arena. Talk about the strategy behind that move, and how it was decided to select the fitness niche in which to debut the product category.

Minarik: We started studying that market nearly two years ago, with a fairly large amount of research, and looked at who was where with solutions and branding messages. Focusing on performance and/or lifestyle, we constructed a grid, looked at it, and envisioned an area within the grid—high performance and active lifestyle—where there were some solutions but really nothing in the sports-performance area.

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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