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Bringing Out the Best in Brands

Want to accelerate your sales? Think Highlands.

No labels. Just results.

Well, strictly speaking, hard to label rather than no label at all.  We are a 'rep group' but we are so much more.  We're probably not like any other agency you know.  Not only do we help build a fully integrated strategic sales and marketing plan but we execute it for you too.

We help manufacturers accelerate sales into existing and new markets. Our obsession is getting your products into the hands of consumers, quickly, cost effectively and ahead of your competitors.  We are truly your partner from beginning to end, and the next beginning...

Clients can access a range of services from sales representation, e-Commerce management, strategic planning, digital and traditional marketing through to selling into some of the world's largest and best distributors and retailers.

Want to know more?  Then get in touch.

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.
Articles

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Highlands promotes Jade Wilson to Managing Director, Europe

August 8, 2017

Highlands, announces the promotion of Jade Wilson to Managing Director, Europe. He will have the primary responsibility for all business operations in Europe.

“Jade’s aptitude and contributions have been invaluable and he embodies so many of the wonderful traits of our company. His innovative thinking and vision will continue to enhance the strategic direction, growth, and profitability of Highlands in Europe” said Gordon Christiansen, partner at Highlands. Jade has been with Highlands for more than 6 years. Prior to his appointment, he led the sales team as Sales Director. In his new position, he will be responsible for leading all client programs in Europe maximizing their effectiveness through all reseller, retail and eCommerce partners. “I am delighted to take on this role for Highlands Europe,” says Jade.  “It is a great opportunity for me personally especially at this exciting time in the evolution of Highlands Europe.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 55 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.

Today, Highlands serves its clients in the United States, Europe, and Canada.  Highlands is proud to combine the most effective and efficient multi-channel brand advocacy strategies with world-class tactics to ensure product sales are maximized throughout the supply chain and across the globe.


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Suggestions for the Future

August 7, 2017

My last blog addressed the “At Work” elephant in the room - that much has changed and managing through this is brutally difficult.  Whether things calm down is unknown.  To me, these are Darwinian times where strength is not determined by size, but the ability to leverage deep expertise with extraordinary agility.  The following suggestions should help set the stage for evolutionary fitness.

  • Provide a well-thought consumer journey.  First, you must understand what, where, why, and how customers buy products.  Thankfully, it’s not hard to collect and analyze data to determine these drivers.  Then, leverage this insight into powerful programs that boost sales and margin.  The more you can help distributors succeed, the more you become invaluable to their broader success - and your volume.
  • Think Mobile First.  We all understand that catalog, in-store and online must be aligned so offerings are priced accurately, branded accurately, and easily purchased.  Many forget to customize their online presence to be smartphone and tablet-optimized.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 26% of online purchases in 2017 will be done on a mobile device.  While online sales have grown by 95% over the last five years, sales from mobile devices have grown by a massive 362%!  If your site isn’t optimized for smartphones or tablets, you’re probably losing sales!
  • New products and new markets.  Smart companies make their products obsolete before their competitors do it for them.  Continue to innovate and expand on what sells, and ration what does not.  And look beyond your borders and traditional routes to market.  Changing buying patterns and technology gives you the opportunity to compete and address new audiences.   
  • Be Social.  Today’s younger workforce spends untold hours posting on snapchat, Instagram, you name it.  If your content is worthy and well-placed, it will be found and shared - all of which drives traffic to your site!
  • Consider in-store technologies.  NFC (Near Field Communications) and in-store digital helps drive online sales while shopping in-store.  Augmented Reality is the next big leap in human interaction with technology.  Explore how this might work for your business.

Those that have incorporated some or all of these recommendations are seeing positive results.  That said, integrating these new processes was not without fear.  Departing from the tried and true is uncomfortable.  It’s also required.  The key is a willingness to try, and to fail fast should they not deliver.  

To us, staying the course and waiting for positive results imperils your future as slow and lumbering only makes you a target for extinction.  

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Bob O'Gara
CEO

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Highlands Announces a Partnership with the MBM Corporation

July 31, 2017

Atlanta GA, July 31, 2017 - Highlands (in partnership with LS Logistics), has assumed the Sales and Distribution roles for IDEAL-MBM Corporation in the Canadian marketplace.  As well as consolidating MBM’s strengths in traditional markets this arrangement will launch the IDEAL.MBM brands into the office supplies industry in Canada, where currently they are not as well known.
MBM Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of Destroyit® paper shredders, ideal paper shredders and air purifiers, Triumph™ paper cutters and trimmers, along with other state-of-the-art finishing equipment for the graphics and printing industries.  MBM is well known for superior quality, engineering innovation, and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Ned Ginsburg, President of MBM Corporation, states, “The relationship with Highlands in Canada is really exciting for us.  We have great customers already and know they will continue to be very well looked after.  Alongside this, the opportunity to expand into new markets and grow sales for our excellent product range is very appealing.”

“We are excited to represent the first manufacturer of the cross-cut shredder technology,” says Brendan Lane, President & GM of Highlands Canada.  “They are committed to growing their market share, and this allows Highlands to strengthen our presence with customers across Canada by uncovering new opportunities and increasing consumer connections; it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Highlands, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies.  For over 55 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.

Today, Highlands serves its clients in the United States, Europe, and Canada.  Highlands is proud to combine the most effective and efficient multi-channel brand advocacy strategies with world-class tactics to ensure product sales are maximized throughout the supply chain and across the globe.

LS Logistics, of Ontario Canada, provides third party distribution to all Canadian customers, along with flexible options in warehousing, inventory management, as well as customer service. 
MBM Corporation’s parent company, Krug & Priester GmbH of Germany, is a global leader in the manufacturering of paper shredders, air purifiers and small format paper cutters.


Sales and Marketing

Sales vs. Marketing

July 18, 2017

We’re asked the difference between the two all the time. Ask a salesperson and they’ll say, “it’s everything that goes into convincing a customer to buy. Great product, competitive pricing, compelling story, support materials, online portal, customer service - everything. Ask a marketer and they’ll likely say the same thing.

So, what’s the difference?  

To me, marketing is about converting mindsets while sales converts wallets. Effective marketing deploys programs to convince a prospect that there “just might be something to this product worth a second look.” Once that altered mindset enters the store, it’s up to sales to close the deal. How the tasks get divvied up doesn’t really matter - just that they’re deployed in a unified, compelling manner.

To answer that question more thoroughly, marketing leverages research to create a brand story, conceives programs to create awareness and induce trial, and then executes supporting materials. Sales leverages relationships, deploys support materials, and actively presents product benefits and pricing programs to the prospect to secure the deal. This process is very effective within growing, robust markets like technology, wine and spirits, commercial construction, etc. where customers are willing to pay full price. Unfortunately for categories suffering decline or major transformation - like Office Products - this process is not working any more. 

Why? Because product benefits within mature categories are often similar, which makes price a key differentiator. When price wars erupt, someone else is always cheaper and the consumer has become trained to shop for a better deal. This kills margins, encourages consolidation, and eliminates innovation.  The only way out of this dysfunctional whirlpool is to change how you sell, not what you sell.

To us, a successful program can never be about price. Ever. It’s about value. At

Highlands

, we apply a rigorous process we call IPEO.
  • Insight
  • Plan
  • Execute
  • Optimize
While I won’t give away our proprietary steps within each process, the output provides a clearer picture of the audience, how to best reach them, aligns with objectives, invests in the right programs, and measures results so we can optimize for even more success.  

In time, all programs eventually lose efficacy as competitors are not lazy. They’ll adjust to our efforts to stem our successes. That’s when we must start anew - develop a better product, consider new distribution channels, discover new audiences, deploy better programs, leverage technology more effectively.  

The truth is that sales and marketing are best viewed as tactics that emerge from a strong, insightful, strategic plan. Without a plan, and highly coordinated sales and marketing tasks that emerge from it, it doesn’t really matter if you define either one. Because in immature categories, those standing apart or unwilling to adjust will have far more to worry about than titles or job descriptions.


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Gordon Christiansen
Partner. SVP Marketing