By Patrick Avenell

GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND: A strategic move towards premium models, especially in the laser segment, has strengthened home office specialists Brother, placing them in the number one position for this category, according to marketing manager Heidi Webster.

Currently in Queensland promoting its home office solutions, Brother has differentiated itself from its rivals by focusing on laser and LED print technology, rather than inkjet, which it claims is more reliable and provides better value for consumers in the long run. In the case of LED printing, Webster said this was the most environmentally responsible method of printing.

Because laser printers have a higher sales price, retailers can move away from the loss leader model. Brother technology expert Stephen Bennett said that in general use, it can be two years before a consumer needs to purchase new toner for these printers.

Qualifying consumer needs is a key part of the process, with Bennett saying those who have high print demands should be directed towards laser. For those printing up to around 300 pages per week, LED is the best solution. Where inkjet is best for colour image printing, as it provides a brighter and bolder finished product. Webster said Brother was currently number four in inkjet printing.

This might be explained by Brother’s retail presence, which currently does not include key Narta members JB Hi-Fi and Bing Lee. Webster said she hoped this situation would change in the future.

As a way of promoting LED printing environmental credentials, Brother has entered into an agreement with conservation group Earth Watch. A portion of the profits from the sales of Brother LED printers is forwarded to Earth Watch, which is then used for research into the behavioural patterns of threatened species.