Should we rebrand our industry from KBB to KBH?

A debate has been raging between retailers to drop the ‘bedrooms’ in KBB and rebrand the industry as KBH – kitchens, bathrooms and home.

The topic was started by Tony Robson, owner of Day True, who believes that the term KBB is ‘antiquated’ and today’s homes are more of a blend of spaces, not strict room types.

He first posed the question to the industry on LinkedIn, and then he appeared on The kbbreview Podcast to discuss his thoughts in more detail. He said on the podcast: “The home has developed. Covid has given everything another nudge in this direction. I would say it has been going on for the past 10 to 15 years and that there seems to be a blurring of spaces in the home.

“The kitchen is no longer just a kitchen; a bathroom is no longer just a bathroom; a bedroom is no longer just a bedroom. Open-plan kitchens attach to living spaces. In the industry, a lot more people are thinking of it as a home. You have to think about how these spaces work together rather than each of them apart.”

Although Robson thinks that this change would be beneficial for the industry, the consumer side would not be changed. He explained: “I’m not thinking of this as a consumer focus. I am challenging the industry and asking if the industry should change and maybe the industry should be more forward-thinking.”

Robson also highlighted during the podcast that bedrooms are often ignored in the industry and not given the same weight and prestige as bathrooms or kitchens.

Robson believes that having a less divided industry might help companies talk to one another. He explained: “Collaboration is more important than it ever has been. Bathroom manufacturers should talk to sinks and taps companies, they should be talking to kitchen companies, and they should be talking to bedroom manufacturers.

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“There should be more collaboration, and these different parts of the industry should be working together to deliver not just to their customer, which is me as a retailer, but also to our customer and the end-user – the most important person in this whole chain. Having a more cohesive approach by changing one letter to KBH, would be the first step for us to all collaborate more together and for the common good.”

Many retailers gave their views on this topic on LinkedIn, with many agreeing with Robson on the proposed industry name change. While others expressed their concerns about their own internal branding – especially if they have KBB in their company name.

Mark Conacher, managing director of Liberty Fitting Service in Dundee, agreed and said: “In North America, I find homes are designed much more towards lifestyle. The absence of walls allows the home to flow much more freely. I’m all for KBH.”

Also in agreement, Bill Archibald, principal for design and sales at Ian Grant Design in Rhyl, Wales, commented: “Tony is simply raising that change is both necessary and evolutionary. We are all involved in the home design business.”

The public perception of the term KBB was also a topic of debate, as many consumers have no idea about KBB, and it was more a case of internal branding. Gary Walmsley, a designer at Walls & More in Bolton, said: “In respect of KBB, KHB whatever, does it genuinely matter? The public at large really don’t know what it stands for or probably care. On the other hand, what about a KBB, or KBH, register solely aimed at getting a message across to the discerning public/clients who want service and design?”

Listen to the full podcast episode using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in your podcast app of choice.

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