How Values Can Affect Building Product Specification
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Today, many building products are sold as commodities. Doors, windows, bricks, and other materials are available globally and at competitive prices. Customers can review and evaluate multiple building products that are competitively priced. So, what differentiates product A from product B?
Author Jim Blasingame describes how customers today are not only interested in the value of a product but also the values of the seller. Do the values of a building product manufacturer affect product specification? Do architects and specifiers even care how a manufacturer articulates or conveys values? Let’s find out…
Aside from the cost, color, performance, warranty, availability, and other factors, there is a growing faction of decision makers that what to know if a manufacturer’s values align with their own. Blasingame provides many examples where a seller’s values are appraised by a customer, and we can apply them to product specification:
- Commitment to the Design Professional: Does the product manufacturer seem more concerned with the sale of the product than the relationship? Is the manufacturer concerned with the short game or the long game?
- Experience of the architect, contractor, engineer, etc. How does the product manufacturer respond to negative customer experiences? Do the product reps help put out fires and visit customers who may be angry?
- Commitment to the Community: Does the product manufacturer demonstrate an interest greater to themselves? Do they contribute to the community?
- Commitment to the Environment: Does the manufacturer incorporate sustainability into their organization? Have they trained their products reps about LEED v4? Have they developed Health Product Declarations (HPDs) for their products?
In 2018, customers can quickly research products and find positive and negative reviews. Architects, specifiers, engineers, interior designers, and contractors can accept or reject a product before they even talk to a product rep. Websites, AIA online courses, and other forums are crucial for product manufacturers to maintain a good image in the industry.
If two building products are nearly identical in price, performance, service, and delivery then what helps design professionals make a decision? The appraisal may be nuanced and might manifest itself online.
Product manufacturers may utilize a website, blog, YouTube, Facebook, or other online means to persuade architects to use their products. Manufacturers should express their values via these platforms. They should make it as easy as possible for design professionals to know their values, commitment to the community and any sustainability initiatives. Some manufacturers may make their commitment known by joining the USGBC or other organization that reflects their goals.
Blasingame states that marketing is what you say, values are what you do. Integrity has no need for rules. The best relationships between a product manufacturer and a design professional are built on a foundation of trust and shared values. Your competitors may cheat, lie, and engage in unethical behavior; however, an ethical manufacturer never engages in such behavior. Values and honesty foster success.
How do you incorporate your values within your company? How do you convey your values in your marketing approach?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank