If you visited the ERA stand at FIT Show then you’d have been there for a while, the stand was full of new innovations from across the entire business. From the new Fab&Fix Architectural and Heritage range, through to the ERA TouchKey. Luke from GGP, took a whistlestop tour of the stand with Will Butler, ERA Marketing and Innovation Director and now the FIT dust has settled Luke chatted to Will in more detail in this interview.
Will, you fully expect businesses to use trade shows to launch a couple of new innovations, but I counted over 14 on the ERA stand, is that a reflection of the real, every day pace of innovation at ERA?
“In terms of new product development it is incredibly busy at ERA, but that said, unlike most other lock businesses in the UK, we’re not just about one home security component - we’ve got a product to protect every point of entry into a home whether that’s a mechanical lock or a smartware product - the list is long but without question we have the most comprehensive and robust range in the UK to give our customers a range of options for total security.”
I was very impressed by the ERA TouchKey and your smarthome technology, you’ve made huge advances in that area in a short space of time:
“in some respects yes, we acquired Response Electronics just two years ago and we’ve been working hard to develop a range that will enable retail installers to offer an alarm as an added-value product. We spent a lot of time researching this opportunity and understanding the limitations of existing alarm systems. Our range today reflects consumer needs for a reliable, robust, easy-fit, tamper free system. TouchKey is the one touch keyless smart lock that will change the way we unlock our doors. We’ve developed this with our US partner UniKey who have vast experience with similar locks in the US and using their military grade encryption and our vast experience of mechanical locks, we’ve developed the first and only lock in the UK that’s more convenient than a key.”
Relative to other editors I’m still reasonably new to this industry, but even in the time I’ve been the editor of GGP I’ve seen a growing emphasis on security from the door and window fabricators, why is that?
“I believe the principle reason is that fabricators recognise that security is a very real opportunity to create a point of differentiation. From our perspective, security is anything but new. We’ve been securing Britain’s homes since 1838, it’s that heritage that has allowed us to become the market leader in total security. We see new innovations coming to market all the time, but many offer no real benefit for the fabricator or end user. There’s absolutely no room in the home security market for gimmicks, consumers can see through clever marketing and weak products and when they start to fail, or a family gets locked out, or worse, locked into their home, no amount of clever marketing will reverse the damage. So yes, you’re right - security is a real focal point for fabricators today, as it should be.”
I was impressed by the new ERA Total Security Guarantee, there are a few Guarantees in the market today, yet ERA’s was the original, so how does it differ now?
“we’ve witnessed a few security guarantees come to market since we launched the original Saracen Secure Guarantee, but with years of experience we’ve been able to finesse our offer and today we can say with absolute confidence, the ERA Total Security Guarantee is the most straightforward and generous in the market. We’ve developed it in this way to ensure retailers can use the guarantee effectively, it’s not about drawing attention to the £5000 cheque, it’s about demonstrating that ERA is so confident in the effectiveness of its security hardware, that we’re prepared to be that generous and transparent in our offer.”
When we met at FIT you briefly mentioned former Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames is writing a monthly blog on her experiences around law enforcement and home security. This alliance plus your sponsorship of the Neighbourhood Watch really elevates the ERA brand. Does this help retailers position ERA?
“Absolutely, no question. We’ve been making locks since 1838 but we’re not so arrogant to think a lock brand can ever have the same resonance as say a mainstream consumer brand so we’ve invested in partnerships that we know support our business, simultaneously giving the consumer peace of mind about the integrity of our locks. Developing a partnership with the Neighbourhood Watch took over 12 months, they are the most respected home security brand globally, so they choose their partners very carefully. It’s a powerful partnership that enables us to reach thousands of people every month with home security advice, this is now strengthened even further by our ongoing relationship with Jacqui. Jacqui is highly respected and with her experience is a very relevant and credible voice on home security issues.”