Kilimanjaro Tiles: from commodity to leading tile brand

Posted: March 12, 2014

Kilimanjaro Tiles: from commodity to leading tile brand – Back in 1998, South Africa’s leading tile, tap and ceramicware retailer, CTM, introduced the new Kilimanjaro tiles to be sold exclusively in CTM stores. There would be nothing unusual about that, except that the product was introduced not as a commodity – the standard perception of a tile – but as an integral branded offering with careful thought behind its brand strategy.

Initially, the launch of the Kilimanjaro tiles was communicated in store only with a simple, branded pack stacked in the tile aisles. Success depended on catching the customer’s attention in store.  Today, the tiles are a significant pull of new feet into store. Here’s how the success story unfolded.

The big idea behind the Kilimanjaro tiles lay in the brand positioning of “Capture the African Landscape”, a phrase designed to capture the homemaker’s imagination. The perceived arbiters of style, quality manufacturing and engineering usually come from Europe. Why shouldn’t Africa have its own benchmark, using its very own heritage? We live in Africa. Let’s be African.

The product development played directly to the understanding of Africa as a tough, rugged place, but with just as exquisitely breathtaking vistas. What could possibly be a better combination in a tile than a product that is hardier than granite, needs little or no maintenance, and comes in a range of stone and rock looks that evokes a feeling that you are in the middle of an African landscape?

The manufacturing process of extruding the tile clay, rather than the traditional ‘roller cookie cut’ method, means that the body of the tile is substantially denser. So the brand promise is not make believe. It is a genuine, made-to-last fulfillment.

With such a rock solid brand, CTM’s marketing and advertising strategy was simply to follow the brand’s lead. After all, when the truth presents itself, just say it as it is. So print executions were tile-shaped snapshots of all sorts of majestic, inspiring African landscapes. The African landscape, captured. Amusing television renditions range from African bush scenarios to an emotional, African American homecoming, all inspired by the look and feel of a Kilimanjaro tiles.

The CTM store merchandising is mesmerising. With a bright, freshly updated logo, the array of African vistas, displayed all the way down dedicated Kilimanjaro tiles aisles, magnetically draws you into the story. The imagination, too, is captured.

Thanks to an innovative brand strategy developed by Blast Brand Catalysts, CTM sells 4.5 million square metres of the Kilimanjaro tiles per year and struggles to keep up with demand. As long as there are new homes going up in Africa, Kilimanjaro tiles look set to grow exponentially.


About Blast Brand Catalysts

Established in 2001, Blast Brand Catalysts is a hybrid studio/agency that crosses the specialist disciplines of brand identity development and advertising. Design and advertising have dedicated skillsets and objectives. But working to a singular, longer-term strategic projection at the outset will factor market and media competitiveness as well as category differentiation. There is also an immediate, fluid transition from brand inception to activation.

Blast Brand Catalysts researches, strategises, designs, applies, implements, evolves and invigorates with proven, follow-through calibre. The tightly talented team gets it done, gets it done well, and gets the very next thing done even better.