Sounds Great, But How Does It Perform When It’s Off?
Sprucing up your showroom? If you want to carry loudspeakers from Artcoustic, don’t even think about carting in a nice green plant. No palm for you, no ficus, no fancy bamboo. Honestly, the vendor doesn’t trust you’ll remember to water the thing.
It sounds extremely picky, but such fussiness is the product of research, careful thought and common sense. A scraggly plant is in fact a bigger turn-off to Artcoustic’s target market than a technical malfunction is, says John Caldwell, co-founder of StJohn Group, the distributor of design-oriented home entertainment products that represents Artcoustic in North America. “A dead plant to a design-conscious woman—that’ll drive her nuts!” he explains. “We’re tapping into a lucrative new market segment: people who shop with their eyes first. The definition of quality is not just how [a system] sounds when it’s on, but how it ‘sounds’ when it’s off.”
The “lucrative new market segment” Caldwell is determined to impress consists of roughly 100,000 professional architects and interior designers working in the U.S. today, along with their affluent clients. It’s a community that’s becoming increasingly aware of the value of partnerships with professional electronics integrators, and Caldwell wants in on that new collaborative spirit. “Wouldn’t you like to have them operating as extension salespeople for you?” he asks the hypothetical dealer. “The problem is, most of the stuff you have, they’re not interested in.”
StJohn, which also carries the Cabasse, iSky Panels and Screen Research brands, is trying to work very closely with its dealer partners to correct that disconnect. In September, it decided to “pull the plug” on all of its Artcoustic dealers and set up a strict checklist of showroom requirements, authored in part by the Danish founders of Artcoustic. Only dealers who comply with those requirements may display Artcoustic products.
Rules of the demo