Once again Origin Acoustics is breaking new ground for custom integrators with the announcement of an expanded partnership with Bang & Olufsen. Since 2016, Origin Acoustics (OA) has been collaborating with Bang & Olufsen on the co-design and manufacturing of certain architectural loudspeakers, now Origin has been named to U.S. Brand Manager for Bang & Olufsen’s full portfolio in the custom channel. The new relationship will allow selected Origin Acoustics integrators to have access to Bang & Olufsen’s BeoPlay headphones, BeoVision televisions, BeoSound speakers and soundbars, and BeoAmp amplifiers for their luxury clients.
At the CEDIA Expo 2022 in Dallas the two brands will share further details of the partnership and how this combination of Origin’s network and go-to-market strategy along with Bang & Olufsen’s product portfolio will be available to new and existing channel dealers and ultimately for end consumers.
Bang & Olufsen has been in business for 97 years and features 700 retail stores worldwide. The company has made inroads in the custom electronics channel over the years, but it has gained more recent momentum following the 2016 successful collaboration with Origin Acoustics, on the creation of co-branded products (Celestial in-ceiling speakers and Palatial in-wall speakers) that both companies sell as part of Origin Acoustics’ Design Centric Technology program.
This newly expanded partnership shows Origin’s commitment and focus on growing the custom installation market by creating and offering design-centric products that will resonate with interior designers, architects and ultimately consumers. The company has made several other strategic design-centric moves recently, namely establishing an OEM relationship with Crestron on loudspeakers, setting up a strategic resale agreement with hidden-speaker manufacturer Amina, acquiring high-end outdoor speaker maker Ambisonic, and teaming with Artnovion on importing their acoustical treatment products into the US, to name few. They alluded that several more partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks.
This expansion of the Bang & Olufsen partnership is another step in that effort as it brings together two curated brand partners who understand the importance of blending performance and design for today’s consumers. With Bang & Olufsen’s years of technical innovation and boundary-pushing aesthetics, this partnership will allow both brands to execute a future-forward strategy in the custom installation channel and provide unique opportunities to Origin’s network and industry relationships. As the U.S. Brand Manager for the Custom Channel, Origin Acoustics will be responsible for bringing the Bang & Olufsen full line of products to a wider audience in the North America market.
Origin Acoustics CEO Nick Berry, Bang & Olufsen Americas president Rich Costanzo, and OA chief marketing and strategy officer Gordon Isaac all spoke exclusively with CE Pro about the new partnerships.
“Bang & Olufsen is the only company in the world that has driven this value proposition for many decades,” says Berry. “They lead the conversation on how design and technology intersect, and we look forward to expanding the brand throughout the U.S.”
Costanzo notes, “As Bang & Olufsen continues to scale our business in North America’s custom installation market, our mutual history, shared goals, and Origin Acoustics’ incredible reputation made our partnership an exciting prospect. We see great potential in bringing Bang & Olufsen’s expertise in luxury technology and Origin Acoustics’ loyal community of channel dealers to a $10-billion industry.”
Isaac adds, “This is another step in Origin’s strategic effort to help elevate the industry and unite design-centric brands in business relationships that exploit our greatest skillsets of engineering, manufacturing, and go-to-market programs. The products in our previous partnership with Bang & Olufsen are flourishing, so that success set in motion this latest agreement.”
Expanding the Existing Relationship
Despite the existing cobranded relationship, the companies have different specialties, with Bang & Olufsen specializing in powered products or speakers with amplifier power built in, while Origin is focused on the custom installation market with its architectural speaker and innovative engineering systems that enable quick and easy installation.
But at the same time, Costanzo says the two companies have like-minded philosophies in terms of how they treat their partners.
“We are comfortable with the relationship with Origin Acoustics, which stretches back to the 1980s with their previous company. Both companies are technically competent, produce innovative products and have the same cultural values of customer empathy and support for their channel partners. Both companies are top-class organizations. It’s exciting to announce that Origin dealers will now have the full complement of the B&O portfolio to sell. This is a long-term commitment between the two companies,” says Costanzo.
Berry says it will be valuable for an Origin integrator to be able to walk into a luxury client’s home and have the ability to offer the full lineup of Bang & Olufsen goods.
“Not every Origin dealer will be signed up. We don’t want to dilute the market,” says Berry, adding that dealers will be vetted, first by Origin and then by Bang & Olufsen, for this opportunity to be labeled as Bang & Olufsen Custom Technology Integrators (CTI). Berry says the selected integrators will be those that focus their businesses around serving high net-worth individuals and offer a certain level of service. Those integrators will also receive additional training and marketing support.
Moreover, the selection criteria will also be cognizant to not bring on too many new dealers that are geographically close to existing Bang & Olufsen Monobrand retail stores in the U.S. where the market does not warrant it. After that initial round of selections, Berry says OA will be looking for potential soft spots in the market, if any, to fill in any gaps.
“We want to walk before we run, so we are bringing the brand on carefully,” says Berry.
According to Isaac, Origin Acoustics has established a dedicated brand manager and team for the relationship, led by Origin’s President Marc Fisher, and that Bang & Olufsen also has a team member based at Origin’s headquarters in Las Vegas. He notes that Origin has created a Bang & Olufsen Experience Center in its Las Vegas showroom to showcase Bang & Olufsen products.
The two brands will continue to collaborate on new product development opportunities and additional verticals within the U.S. market. The strength of this partnership brings a unique and powerful solution to designers, developers, and consumers who desire both performance and beauty from the technology going into their homes and businesses.