Navigating a Shifting Landscape: Brands, Channels and a Changing Consumer

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends

  • Date:

    March 3, 2022

Navigating a Shifting Landscape: Brands, Channels and a Changing Consumer

Industry Trends

Last month, Wray Ward delivered the closing session of the John Burns Real Estate Consulting Building Products Strategy + New Home Trends Summit. JBREC is a U.S. real estate research firm with a laser-sharp focus on the housing industry, and its full-day webinar connected key players in the real estate industry to share insights on critical home and building trends.

Throughout the event, we heard how the industry landscape has shifted over the past couple of years. Presentations included valuable insights from Todd Tomalak, vice president of research at JBREC. Todd is also a member of the Cul-de-Sac, Wray Ward’s advisory panel dedicated to the home and building category. He gave attendees a breakdown of critical themes that are unfolding in the industry as well as changes and trends to keep an eye on in 2022. Among the findings:

  • New construction material revenue is expected to rise in 2022.

  • Large home remodeling projects are accelerating (already up 13% in 2022) and are unlikely to slow in 2023.

  • Widespread building material shortages and price shifts in 2021 remain a concern during the spring 2022 building season.

So, what does it all mean? How should these factors influence your approach to marketing, especially in the increasingly competitive home and building category?

Consider variables such as home design, sustainability, health and wellness, new technology, product and labor shortages, political concerns, e-commerce, inflation, the metaverse and more. All of these variables heavily influence the environment in which your consumers operate and, therefore, the environment in which your brand must learn to adapt.

Wray Ward’s John Mader, vice president and director of Connections, joined me to explore how home and building brands can navigate this rapidly shifting landscape. In case you missed the event, here are five steps your brand should consider using to guide marketing planning in an ever-changing world:

1. Remember the Basics

When navigating the ongoing shifts surrounding your brands, channels and consumers, remember: Always start with a strong strategic foundation.

First, take a 360-degree look at the market including the 5C’s: category, climate, company, competition and customers. These considerations can help you determine what products are increasing in popularity, how shifting demographics are affecting the landscape and much, much more.

2. Know Yourself

Stay authentic to your brand by establishing a brand platform and sticking to it. A well-positioned brand should equip you for success, particularly if the place you occupy in the market conveys how your brand is relevant to your respective audiences and your unique character or personality.

3. Know Your Customer

The fundamentals for reaching an audience are as important as ever: You have to know where they spend their time, where they get inspired and where they go to learn, socialize, share and show off. Even more important, however, you have to learn their barriers to connecting with your brand.

Is it an awareness challenge? Education gap? Do potential customers know where to shop for your brand?

Take home design: According to research presented by Todd Tomalak and Deana Vidal, manager of trend consulting at JBREC, fostering a connection to the outdoors will be architectural designers’ second-largest consideration, after cost, over the next three years. However, when it comes to prioritizing environmental design and sustainability, consumers are often torn between convenience and price priorities.

Identifying these barriers allows brands to focus on solutions to their challenges and dedicate resources to have the biggest impact.

4. Stand for Something

Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept, but it’s essentially a self-regulating business model that helps a brand be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders and the public while building relevant relationships with customers, employees and communities.

By practicing true CSR, companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they have on all aspects of society including economic, social and environmental. CSR is even more integral in today’s landscape, because many consumers are searching for it. Additionally, the power of the internet enables them to research whether a company’s intentions are more marketing-based or action-oriented.

5. Don’t Chase Trends

Not every emerging platform is a major success story. Remember Vine and Clubhouse? Sometimes it’s best to be an early follower instead of investing as a groundbreaker on every shiny new trend you see. Two questions to ask when considering expanding into a new platform or technology:

  • Is your audience there?

  • Can your brand provide value through the platform?

It’s important to test opportunities here and there, but if you understand answers to the above questions from a brand perspective, you’ll avoid chasing every trend with no real strategy in mind.

Have questions about the information presented at the JBREC Summit? Interested in a deeper dive? Want to know how Wray Ward can help your brand navigate a changing landscape? Email me.

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