How to Get Specified by Architects-Part 1
Getting your products specified by architects isn’t rocket science but it takes persistence and patience. First of all, you need a great building product. If your product is a cheap piece of crap, ridden with design deficiencies, made from toxic substances like mercury and asbestos and assembled by underage children in some third world country ruled by a ruthless dictator, then you might want to rethink your plan. However, if you manufacture a great product, there are significant steps you can take to improve your chances of product specification.
How can building product manufacturers increase brand awareness? Brand awareness is the extent to which your product is recognized by architects, specifiers, contractors, and other design professionals. Brand awareness is one of the first steps for product manufacturers as it affects the specification opportunities that are made when it comes to the phase of product selection. Out of sight is out of mind and if a designer has no familiarity with your brand, they are less likely to specify your product. So, what are the most effective ways to build brand awareness?
In the old days, building product manufacturers utilized everything from newspapers to radio ads to promote their brand. Those forms of media are outdated for increasing brand awareness for most commercial building products. Magazines are still being utilized by some building product manufacturers to spread the word about their products. However, as magazine subscriptions dwindle and ad rates increase, manufacturers are looking for more modern and effective solutions to build brand awareness about their products. The internet has spawned an entire ecosystem of tools for building product manufacturers to use that includes online continuing education, webinars, videos, and even video games.
Getting Specified Via Architect Education
One of the most effective and economical ways to build brand and product awareness is through education. Our team has a motto, “education equals specifications”. If an architect does not know about your product and its benefits, how the heck can they specify it? AIA continuing education courses and LEED education courses help design professionals maintain their mandatory CE hours while learning about your product. Education is a no-brainer for companies that want to teach architects about their product’s benefits and increase their brand awareness.
Another resource for product manufacturers to help increase brand awareness is documentation. Most manufacturers have spent a small fortune developing websites to promote their brand and products. An effective website should host the manufacturer’s 3-part guide specifications, promotional material, LEED data sheets, and product transparency documents such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs). Sometimes there is very little that separates commodity-related building products. Product documentation may set your brand apart from the other competition in the marketplace.
Building Product Representative
Building product reps that know how to educate designers about your products are crucial. At the end of the day, there is nothing more powerful and effective for increasing brand and product awareness than hitting the pavement and visiting architects. Your sales and marketing team needs to be educated on how to speak and work with architects. Building product reps need to be able to discuss 3-part guide specifications, product transparency documents, and speak intelligently about how LEED relates to your product. Luckily, there are some excellent no-cost resources such as Free LEED Exam Prep to educate building product reps about LEED certification.
Overall, building brand and product awareness takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you hope to increase product specifications then you must develop a long term strategy.
How does your company get products specified by architects?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank