kenn-feld group
The Kenn-Feld Group recently underwent a new branding initiative, including launching a new website.

Editor’s Note: Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s “Best Practices” series helps dealers fine tune their management and operational strategies. Check out previous “Best Practices” expert and dealer insights on our website. Write if you’d like us to tackle a subject,

Kenn-Feld Group, a 9-store John Deere dealership in Ohio, recently launched its new dealership brand with the help of a redesigned website. The goal: Create a common identity that could associate the dealership with strong customer service and product support.

Lisa Kahlig, corporate marketing coordinator, shares how and why they chose this branding strategy, the obstacles they faced, and what it has meant for their dealership.

Can you provide some background about Kenn-Feld Group?

In 2005 Kenn-Feld Group LLC (KFG) was born through the merger of 3 John Deere Dealerships, East Allen Ag & Turf of Woodburn, Ind., Kennedy-Kuhn of Van Wert, Ohio, and Lefeld Implement of Coldwater, Ohio. With this first merger, the Kenn-Feld Group name began, although at this time the new company wasn’t yet branded or fully launched.

In 2011 Kenn-Feld Group merged with Liechty Farm Equipment, becoming the 9-store organization that KFG is today. Liechty Farm Equipment brought 7 locations into the mix. Four of those Ohio locations were full John Deere ag dealers (Archbold, Edgerton, Napoleon and Paulding) and 3 of them were rental locations along with John Deere turf dealers (Brush Creek Sales & Rental, Wauseon and Archbold, Ohio, and Hal-Mark Sales & Rental, Angola, Ind.).

In 2013, the new KFG logo was launched and from there the KFG Brand was established.

Why was it important to launch a new website?

In 2013, with the joining of so many locations, the need to re-brand was evident and that process started with a new logo. The second step of the re-branding process was to update our website. Our previous website was template based and didn’t allow us to have the necessary freedom to add and remove things as we saw fit. The old website didn’t allow for the creative freedom to keep the design in line with our new brand.

kenn-feld group exterior

Kenn-Feld Group is a 9-store John Deere dealership in Ohio.

Our goals for launching a new website were to not only show off our new brand, but also to create a place where our customers could find important information. The website would become our main hub for communication with our customers about used equipment, sales and specials, events and much more.

How did you start the project?

We worked with Mudd Advertising to create our new website. Their design team did a great job turning our thoughts and ideas into a professional website.

Some of the major steps included establishing a design theme, which was primarily done by Mudd with ideas and thoughts from myself and other KFG team members who also provided direction. The next step was gathering the information that would go on the site. This was the most time consuming portion as I had to work with the corporate managers from each department to get exactly what they wanted on their page — the information, layout, images, etc.

Once we finally had all the info, Mudd created the website platform itself and then we worked through redesigns and layout changes. When we had a rough template in place, the Mudd and KFG teams tested the site to check the functionality and layout to make sure it was user friendly for the customer.

Throughout the process, I worked with Mudd to convey messages from our team and collaborate on ideas to make sure the site was the best it could be. Currently, Mudd still hosts our website and handles any extensive changes or updates and I take care of the smaller day-to-day updates. I find it’s better to just let the experts make changes to the platform.

What were some of the challenges you faced?

One thing that was more challenging than I anticipated was familiarizing our customers with the site, particularly the used equipment section. The way a customer filters the used equipment listings changed from the old site, so we had to re-teach our customer base how to find the used equipment they were looking for. Another challenge was making sure the site was compatible with all the different Web browsers. Initially, we had some issues with the site being compatible with older Web browsers.

Knowing what you do now, would you change anything?

If I could do it all over again, I would have done more testing on multiple different Web browsers to be sure all would work correctly. We had quite a few issues in the beginning getting the website to work on all forms of browsers.

We owned the URL for our old site and hosted it ourselves, so the transition from the old site to the new site was fairly easy. Our new site has the same Web address, so it was just a matter of getting the timing aligned for when we were ready to change over and then adjusting the hosting site information.

What’s happening now with the site?

We didn’t do anything special to launch the new site. We are still promoting the launch of our new logo and brand, so this just fell into place with that. We use Kenshoo software to track how customers use the site.

 Next in terms of marketing for KFG is just to continue to launch the KFG Brand and grow it to its full potential.