In an industry dominated by assemblers, Carriage RV is one of the last of the real manufacturers. From their wood shop and mill room to the sewing and countertop shops, Carriage prides itself on their commitment to manufacturing components versus outsourcing. Through this dedication to handcrafting, Carriage has earned the reputation of building the finest fifth wheels in the industry. At Carriage they take umbrage with the term recreational vehicle—they prefer the term Resort Vehicles.
Despite this reputation, Carriage faced two problems. Everything Carriage builds speaks to a personal commitment to excellence, but their brand image didn’t live up to their reputation. Parthé was given the task of creating visual messages that matched the look and feel of what makes a Carriage special. A great deal of time was spent with their craftspeople—watching them work, talking to them about how and why they do what they do. An employee in the sewing shop said it best—if it wasn’t good enough to hang in her house, then it wasn’t good enough to go into a Carriage Resort Vehicle. Parthé took this sense of pride and translated it into images that clearly demonstrate that the purchase they are considering is truly a handcrafted product and that the Carriage commitment to quality goes far beyond normal corporate posturing.
Because Carriage Resort Vehicles are distributed through various multi-brand dealer networks, the second problem Parthé needed to address for Carriage was, “How do you keep connected with your customers when you are not there?” Salespeople are notorious for their lack of brand loyalty. Despite Carriage’s reputation as the finest fifth wheel available, they needed a way to turn their messaging from a monologue into a dialogue—to open a “conversation” with potential customers. Through the use of QR codes, Carriage opened their door and said “come in and have a look around!” Various codes are being placed on key features in and around their Resort Vehicles. These codes will link back to videos and other information tailored to that component, be it the hand crafted wood cabinets or the walls that use 16 inch on-center construction. In this way, customers can have an informal, yet informative “conversation” with Carriage reinforcing their core message that a Carriage is built one at a time, by hand, especially for them.