Renowned auction house Waddington’s has been providing expert advice to Canadian and international clients since 1850. Their team of specialists are able to advise on virtually everything you may collect or need to have appraised. Every year, they auction thousands of items through regular estate auctions, online auctions and art auctions.
Over the last decade however, the Toronto market had shifted. The condo boom meant, that although Waddington’s was known and respected for its furniture and antique auctions, many of their clients were now more interested in collecting art rather than large antiques.
To meet these evolving market demands, Waddington’s wanted to shift their primary focus away from antiques to focus on the art collecting market. But they wanted to do so without completely giving up their interest on their heritage. The owners turned to Growth Path Strategic Marketing for assistance in making a successful transition.
“After examining market demand, we developed a multi-year Business Plan that rebranded Waddingtons.ca as an art house while setting up a secondary location in Cobourg for their antiques and furniture,” says Kevin Maynard, president of Smart Foundations Business Services. “Cottage country loves antiques so it was the ideal place to continue that aspect of the business while focusing the primary business on the art industry.”
With the two businesses clearly separated, Growth Path established eight areas of art specialization to showcase Waddington’s breadth of knowledge and expertise. They had long held the expertise, and now had the opportunity to showcase their experts as the respected specialists they are. A new contemporary art division became a branding breakthrough because Toronto had focused little attention on a secondary contemporary art market – which flourishes in other metropolises.
As part of the rebranding strategy, Growth Path helped Waddington’s move their auction house to a modern building in Toronto’s design and fashion district and launched a redesigned website. With this new site, the specialists were front and center. Waddingtons.ca online auctions increased from one per quarter to one per month, with an additional two to six speciality auctions per division were added each year.
To ensure that their online presence as well as their physical space cohesively reflected the new direction and brand, Growth Path acted as overall project manager. During this multi-year project they liaised with and coordinated communications, graphic design, web development, photography, interior design and social media specialists.
Meanwhile, in Cobourg, furniture auctions grew to a weekly affair as clients came to identify this location as the place to be for quality antiques and furniture.
By splitting the business into two distinct auction houses – antiques in Cobourg and art in Toronto – Waddingtons.ca firmly established itself as a leader and innovator in the art collectors market while carrying on its tradition as an antiques and furniture auction house. Profits continue to grow year over year in double-digit figures.
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