Ray Angelo, President & CEO of Westinghouse Lighting, details how the company has evolved since its headline-making partnership and where it’s headed in 2017.
What’s in a name? Plenty. Brands that become household names” (i.e. instantly recognizable by consumers) are the Holy Grail of marketing, and when two well-recognized brands come together, well, that’s the definition of synergy.
In the lighting world, such an occurrence happened 15+ years ago when the renowned light bulb, component parts, decorative hardware, and ceiling fan supplier Angelo Brothers – founded 70 years ago by brothers Stanley and Romolo (Tim) Angelo in South Philadelphia – teamed up with the 130-year-old consumer appliance and light bulb behemoth Westinghouse® under a licensing agreement. Both companies were named after their respective founders, the latter established in 1886 by George Westinghouse, a rival of Thomas Edison. While each became recognizable names in their own right, Westinghouse later expanded its product categories to include camera tubes (Westinghouse cameras captured the country’s historic moon walk in 1969), long-range ground radar, clothes dryers, portable grills, generators, refrigerators, and other major appliances. When Westinghouse debuted the slogan “You Can Be Sure…If It’s Westinghouse” in 1954, the jingle stuck with consumers through the next generation.
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“It’s been over 16 years under the Westinghouse® name, and we’re the only well-recognized brand that carries bulbs, fixtures, ceiling fans, and all of the accessories.”—Ray Angelo, President & CEO[/mks_pullquote]
Meanwhile, if you were an electrical distributor or lighting showroom owner, you knew and trusted the Angelo Brothers (ABCO) brand implicitly. From component parts (i.e. glass fitters, harps, sockets, switches, canopies, chain, cords/wire, finials, crossbars, risers, and decorative hardware) to decorative lighting (i.e. indoor sconces, pendants, chandeliers, outdoor fixtures) and ceiling fans, ABCO was always able to fulfill any electrical supply store’s or electrician’s needs. With the transition from the ABCO brand to Westinghouse Lighting long since accomplished, the brand is poised to expand in its 70th year, as evidenced by its booth at this year’s Lightfair International in San Diego.
“It’s been over 16 years under the Westinghouse® name, and we’re the only well-recognized brand that carries bulbs, fixtures, ceiling fans, and all of the accessories,” says Ray Angelo, President and CEO of Westinghouse Lighting, headquartered in Philadelphia. “We’re proud of our 70-year legacy [as Angelo Brothers] and believe our best years are ahead of us, having a consistent company message, staying true to our roots, and bringing this multi-channel and multi-line business [forward].”
This spring, Westinghouse Lighting had a presence at the gigantic international Light+Building show in Frankfurt, Germany. “We’ve offered our products under the Westinghouse name in Europe for the past 16 years and have developed good relationships,” Angelo explains. “At Light+Building, we got to meet many of our customers face to face. We brought the whole team from Philadelphia to Frankfurt; we’re very team-oriented. We have a lot of employees who have been with us for a very long time.”
Stefano Caposecco, Director/Product Marketing at Westinghouse Lighting, works closely with Westinghouse’s team in Germany for design ideas. “We want to be real quick regarding our speed to market to give our customers the next generation of lamps,” he says.
Regardless of where Westinghouse customers are located, they appreciate the consistency. “Fundamentals are important to us — whether it’s quality issues, service, or our responsiveness,” Angelo says. Customers know what to expect and that loyalty goes both ways. “We don’t sell direct; we respect the value that each channel brings,” he adds.
“Builders and consumers are more knowledgeable about lighting now. We’ve found that the e-tailers are looking for richer content with room settings, and consumers are expecting the quality and customer service from a [big] name brand,” Angelo explains. “For people who are more technically oriented, we offer energy calculators and specification sheets.”
As lighting legislation and regulations change, it’s a daunting task to keep on top of the updates. “We have someone full-time who handles compliance and stays current on lamps. We’re all about compatibility,” Angelo notes. “We’re big supporters of the American Lighting Association (ALA) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Most manufacturers don’t fully understand how much these two organizations do on the industry’s behalf regarding compliance.”
With LED technology progressing so rapidly, there are a lot of aspects to monitor. “Quality control is key,” Angelo remarks. “The light quality must be maintained over time; it can’t go bluish or have lumen depreciation. We have new products in every category and while that’s challenging, we welcome it.”
For all of the technology that the company offers, there is another important criteria to keep in mind: “We want to price things where the consumers can afford it,” Angelo notes. What he and Caposecco are most interested in, going forward, are the trends for incorporating LEDs into fixtures and for low-profile LEDs. The company also has a policy of not launching a product until it’s already on the way to the warehouse. “If we promote something, we should have it in stock,” he quips. “We under-promise and over-deliver.”