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Bringing Out the Best in Brands

Want to accelerate your sales? Think Highlands.

Sales growth for innovative manufacturers and brands.

At Highlands, we help you grow sales into existing and new markets. Our expertise lies in getting your products into the hands of consumers, quickly, cost effectively and ahead of your competitors.  We want to be your partner from beginning to end, and to the next beginning.

We are a 'rep group' but our business has grown beyond just that.  We are not like any other agency you know of.  Not only will we help you build a fully integrated strategic sales and marketing plan, but we will execute it for you, also.

With help from Highlands, clients have access to a wide range of services, from sales representation, e-Commerce management, strategic planning, digital and traditional marketing to selling into some of the world's largest and best distributors and retailers.

Supporting your brand to maximize sales.

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Marketing

Whether its design or production, digital or print, Highlands can help.  Our in-depth knowledge of e-commerce and catalog owners' requirements makes us experts in content creation too. We ensure your work is 'on brand', 'on time' and 'on budget'.
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Let us develop and manage your strategic blueprint alongside you.  Our REPEAT methodology helps navigate the journey, deliver against expectations and ensures there's a process for continual improvement
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Highlands has highly skilled and experienced sales people who will maximize the presence of your brand with key resellers and help grow your sales.

Supporting your brand to maximize sales.

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Our team have trusted relationships with all the largest accounts means that Highlands can get your products listed quickly and build plans to accelerate sales.
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Highlands brings you a trusted and personalized eCommerce strategy to complement your traditional routes to market, growing your digital presence and online sales.
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Our great team ensures we deliver on our promises.  Full content management, content creation, re-purposing of collateral and driving promotional activity are just part of what our team helps with.
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Digital Disruptions plain

Thoughts on Two Disruptions in the Market Today

First, digital disruption is altering how goods are acquired across the business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) landscape. It is also changing how goods and services are marketed. No matter what we do, understanding and acting on this is critical to success.

Changing demographics and the accelerating consolidation of resellers in the B2B space is a function of this digital disruption. The adage, ‘Get Big, Get Niche or Get Out’ is still true today. We’ve said it before: broadline resellers today require scale to compete. Scale creates the resources required to keep up technologically and creates the efficiencies needed to compete. No company exemplifies this more than Amazon: Unmatched scale + huge investments in technology = super-efficient, and clearly winning. 

For manufacturers and brand owners, this disruption can be a blessing. There is no excuse for any company to have anything less than a good website, in fact we would suggest a great website. It is your face to the reseller and more importantly, the end user. Today, a website should be considered table stakes for all suppliers; especially as it doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. Top off a good website with a commitment to digital marketing and suddenly suppliers are talking to and building relationships with the people that are buying and using your products. The benefits to you are enormous: 1. reliance on the reseller as the gatekeeper to the consumer is diminished, 2. user feedback can spur product innovation, and 3. loyalty programs can be executed, among many other positives. If this is an area you are struggling with, let us know. Highlands is helping more and more brands develop and execute digital marketing strategies.

Secondly, traditional distribution models are morphing rapidly. This is especially acute with anyone in the middle - wholesalers. Many wonder about the future of the wholesaler when Amazon has greater product breadth, super delivery and, at times, pretty good pricing.

If you consider the office channel, the financial pressures that have spurred the proposed merger between S.P. Richards and Essendant point to the challenges faced by two notable wholesalers. The idea that they combine and then go direct has been a widely discussed theory. Now that Staples private equity owner, Sycamore Partners, has entered the fray, it is clear that no matter what happens, the wholesaler, as we have known them, will soon disappear.

As always, change brings opportunity. Everyone in the supply chain, from brand owners, to resellers, to manufacturer rep groups, can thrive in this new world. Learning how to navigate new, parallel channels will present growth opportunities. And, the survivors are likely to have scale and coverage, plus offer a wider range of services relevant to this new market dynamic.


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Bob O'Gara 

C.E.O.

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Kristin Stevens Promoted to Vice President, eCommerce

Highlands is pleased to announce the promotion of Kristin Stevens to Vice President, eCommerce. She will have the primary responsibility of overseeing all operations for the eCommerce team.


“We are happy to recognize Kristin’s invaluable contribution to our company. She has proven to be an effective leader and her hard work and dedication will continue to enhance the strategic direction, growth, and profitability of Highlands’ eCommerce offering,” said Gordon Christiansen, Chief Operating Officer and Senior VP of Marketing at Highlands.


For over nine years, the eCommerce team has been pivotal to the success of Highlands’ clients. The team works alongside clients to create personalized eCommerce strategies that maximize sales and deliver easily measurable results. This comprehensive and holistic approach creates consistent and best-in-class online retail experiences for our clients and their customers.

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It’s not WHAT, but WHERE and HOW

Re-imagining The Way You Present Your Products


B2B distribution channels are merging - we like to call it ‘channel blurring’. Wholesalers, distributors and resellers are all looking for ways to grow, so they seek new product categories, new services and new channels. Some examples: Staples is the second largest Jan-San distributor in the USA, Grainger sells business machines, HD Supply offers stationery products (through strategic alliances), and Amazon Business has a stated intention of tackling industrial and healthcare markets.

 

What does this mean for the B2B sales person? Increasingly they’re being asked to sell a wider portfolio of products to a wider set of customers. Their ability to be experts in every category is difficult, if not nearly impossible.

 

What does it mean for manufacturers? Simply put: your salesforce is being stretched, often stretched to a point where they will find it difficult to provide genuine insights to their customer base about your products. Quite a conundrum.

 

What can a manufacturer do about it? Next time you produce a catalog, sell sheets or training material, think about updating how you present your offering this way:

 

Start with the WHERE, by positioning your range (or at least the relevant parts of your range) into vertical markets, so both your salesperson and their customers can see HOW your products apply in their environment. And highlight benefits, not features - ultimately, that is what people buy anyway!

 

Then, when the customer is interested they can dive into the product detail, or the WHAT.

 

So, give your sales team the tools to show their customers the WHERE and HOW first, and they’ll get to the WHAT.


If you would like more information on creating great product stories for your customers, contact us.  

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Darren Laycock Joins Highlands as Territory Sales Manager for Western Canada

July 3, 2018


Highlands is pleased to announce Darren Laycock as Territory Sales Manager for Western Canada. Darren has more than 30 years of sales account management experience, specializing in Office Products/Furniture, and Educational institutions.

 

“We are delighted to have Darren join our team and help us with the growth of our business. His years of industry experience in the Canadian market provides our business with the right person to continue growing sales for our clients, “said Brendan Lane, President and General Manager of Highlands Canada. “I am looking forward to working with him.”

 

Before joining Highlands, Darren was President of Dynamic Marketing Inc., and will continue to represent those same manufacturers in Western Canada.