Sound United Pitches Community and Quality at First-Ever North America Dealer Conference
For those who are concerned that Sound United is getting too big for its own good—the company did just recently announce its plans to acquire the home audio division of the Onkyo Corporation after all—CEO Kevin Duffy would prefer to turn that question around and let you know that the company needs to continue to scale in order to ensure future success. Sound United, in fact, wants to maintain the largest portfolio of premium audio brands on the planet, Duffy said during the opening keynote of the company’s first-ever North America Dealer Conference in New Orleans. And while they certainly understand the challenges that doing so entails, its that scale and the large and evolving engineering resources that Sound United views as incredibly important moving forward.
But even without Onkyo firmly in the product mix yet—Duffy did announce here that the signed term sheet evolved into a definitive agreement—Sound United put on an impressive series of product and services demonstrations during their Dealer Conference. Some of the latest receivers and speakers from the whole portfolio, including Denon, Marantz, Polk, Definitive, Classé, and HEOS, were all on display, including some product that we aren’t yet allowed to talk about. The quality among the brands was apparent, whether you were looking at a $299 Polk Command Alexa-enabled sound bar, up to a $13,000 Classé amplifier. Quality also spilled down into the services offered to the installer base through streamlined and seamless remote management platforms that are integrated right into the products, allowing dealers to service a customer’s product without the need to roll a truck.
But beyond the products and services, it’s the idea that this conference is even happening that shows Sound United’s commitment to its dealers. As Duffy put it, everyone in the industry is in a fight to provide the consumer quality audiovisual experiences, and Sound United wants to help lead the way. The idea of hosting a collection of more than 100 dealers, members of the press, and other key partners in New Orleans was just one way for them to show that commitment.
The location was no coincidence either. As the birthplace and home of Jazz, New Orleans offers a unique backdrop to the event, which is all about quality audio. On top of that, the theme of the show, Rhythm and Melody, refers to importance of both of those components in song composition as well as the makeup and culture within a company. Rhythm in a song is what keeps the beat going and your feet tapping, while rhythm in a company involves solid processes and support systems that ensure a smooth operation. Melody, in working together with rhythm, is “the sexy stuff,” as Duffy explained it—the tune you can’t get out of your head. That’s all of the products in the case of Sound United.
So, in order for Sound United to maintain solid rhythm and melody, they hope an event like this can help to strengthen the flow of information and ideas between the company and its dealers. Duffy said they plan to invest together with the dealers and strengthen various aspects of their business to make the working relationship smoother—areas like product development and customer-facing staff were among those specifically called out.
And the pitch to the dealer audience from Sound United was a simple one: Offer our product and you’ll realize increased sales. Sound United’s data, as presented by Scott Hagen, senior vide president of Americas Commercial Operations, more than proved it. According to Hagen, dealers with three or more Sound United brands in their store are growing two times faster than all of Sound United’s other dealer partners combined. Read into that what you will, but the short of it seems to be that Sound United has a strong pitch up and down the premium home audio space, and they’re willing to roll out the red carpet for their dealers.