Furniture Maker Picks Richards

The Richards Group has won Bernhardt Furniture Co.’s $6 million account following a national review.

The Dallas agency is the first advertising partner in more than a decade for the Lenoir, N.C.-based company. Bernhardt had been handling creative in-house.

“Their defining need is to have a disciplined, well thought-out approach to develop new brand positioning and that’s how we won the business,” said Richards principal Dave Kroencke. Branding and positioning topped creative in importance during the review process, he added.

Previous advertising for the company has been primarily consumer-targeted print ads focusing on specific product lines offered by the upscale manufacturer.

“They really want to grow and maximize their business,” said Kroencke. “To do that they have to take their brand to the next level.”

Facing a sales slowdown like other companies in the furniture manufacturing sector, Bernhardt earlier this year introduced layoffs and hourly cutbacks at its factories. The company also recently hired Heather Bloom to the new position of director of brand development.

Founded in 1889, Bernhardt remains one of the largest family-owned furniture manufacturers in the U.S., with 2,500 employees and 11 plants.