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Area rug focus shifts to marketing

ATLANTA -As competition swells in the area rug industry, more manufacturers are adopting new and improved marketing strategies on a quest to refresh their branding, expand their offerings and embrace a broader consumer base.

Sphinx, a manufacturer of Egyptian rugs based in Dalton, GA, debuted at the Atlanta International Area Rug Show in mid-January its new branding campaign, which highlights a new logo that reads "Captivatingly beautiful rugs." All of the company's new rug collections include labels featuring the redesigned logo, and a print ad campaign will officially introduce the logo to consumers.

"We're trying to build the brand, and the new logo puts us more in a lifestyle setting," said Michael Riley, vp of marketing.

The new ads for Sphinx, a division of domestics manufacturer Oriental Weavers, will be featured in the March issues of O Magazine, Sunset and Veranda and the April issue of House & Garden.

"Sphinx and Oriental Weavers have two separate customers, and we wanted to help differentiate ourselves from them with this new logo," Riley said.

Oriental Weavers has forged a deal with the lifestyle cable program "The Christopher Lowell Show" on the Discovery Channel to feature its rugs in several episodes.

"This is the first time we have worked with a television show to promote our rugs, and it's going to be fabulous exposure for us," said Traci Powell, director of sales support. "Our intention is to get us a better brand recognition."

Mohawk Rug & Textiles, Sugar Valley, GA, continues to expand its offerings, from rugs to throws and pillows, bath rugs, doormats and more. So it only made sense to change the company's name "to something that is a more accurate description of what we do here," said Patrick Moyer, vp of marketing. That new name is "Mohawk Home," effective Feb. 1.

"Now it's not just about rugs, but we also make pillows and bedspreads and other home textiles," Moyer added. "Especially with our recent acquisition of Crown Crafts' woven's division, our new name really helps say who we are."

Atlanta-based Karastan, Mohawk's upscale division of area rugs, is "for the first time in years" launching a TV ad campaign to promote what it hopes will be its biggest hit, the Sunwash collection, said senior vp of marketing and sales Phil Haney. (See below)

Shaw Industries, Dalton, GA, typically a domestic manufacturer of area rugs, will this spring expand its offerings to include imported accent rugs, "not necessarily because it's a growing category, but because it gets us into gift catalogs and in gift retailers," Jeff Meadows, vp of the Shaw Rugs division.

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