Shifting Pro Brand Behaviors

Shifting Pro Brand Behaviors

What was once an industry that relied on brand loyalty and relationships may now be one that is centered on who has the right products at the right time and how they are able to deliver them. In today’s ever-changing COVID-influenced environment, customers are willing to explore new product offerings, brands and suppliers solely based on availability.‍While this idea isn’t new, the importance of availability and the near-term challenges of supply chain, means the impacts will be felt this year and likely beyond.

Venveo and The Farnsworth Group teamed up to survey nearly 2,000 industry professionals and DIYers from across the United States to gain insights on what's shifted over the past year in how they research, select and purchase building materials, home improvement, and lawn & garden products.  The results are available in our annual Building Products Customer Guide.

What was once an industry that relied on brand loyalty and relationships may now be one that is centered on who has the right products at the right time and how they are able to deliver them. In today’s ever-changing COVID-influenced environment, customers are willing to explore new product offerings, brands and suppliers solely based on availability.

While this idea isn’t new, the importance of availability and the near-term challenges of supply chain, means the impacts will be felt this year and likely beyond.

Residential and Commercial Pros Are Trying New Brands – In All Categories

32% of Pros surveyed have tried a new building material brand in recent months.  Those brands are across all categories, though some categories are seeing more disruption than others.  This is a great opportunity for brands looking to gain share.

Sources for New Brand Information

Supplier websites (48%) and Manufacturer websites (41%) have been a steady source for product and brand information.  However, with the pandemic, we saw accelerated online activities among all trades.  With increased digital exposure on a daily basis, professionals were engaging more than ever with Online Ads.  Nearly half of the Pros (47%) that tried a new brand found that information through Online Ads.  31% of Pros found brand information on Social Media.  The path to purchase has always involved online information capture, but it’s now become critical in the process.

The mix of mediums continues to be wide.  More importantly, the share of mediums being used for information has changed.  This will differ by product and by trade. What do your contractor customer reference?  Where are you positioned?  How are you positioned?

New Brands are Satisfying Pros

While brand shift may be a reaction to availability, brand loyalty may be long lasting.  Over 90% of Pros that tried a new brand of building material, home improvement, or lawn & garden product were satisfied with that brand.  Two Thirds felt the new brand was actually better than the product brand they used prior.

Contractors are often thought of as loyal, steady, unchanging.  How many times have you heard a contractor say, “I use what I’ve always used”?  The challenge in today’s market is the brand they have “always used” may not always be available.  When that happens, opportunity arises for you or your competition.  What is your brand penetration among various trade segments?  What are perceptions of your brand?  How do you stack up to key competitors in your category?  Conducting regular brand health research will help you and your team capture real market insights outside of internal speculation that may be providing you a false sense of brand position within your market.

Summary: Pro Brand Shift Is Happening

Availability was the leading cause for Residential and Commercial Pros trying a new building product brand.  As supply chain continues to be a challenge, it’s likely brands will have the opportunity to gain or lose share.  This presents opportunities for organizations looking maintain their market position and build loyalty.  It’s also a critical time for all manufacturers and retailers to understand contractor expectations and how those needs can be met.

Want to understand your brand’s strengths, product factors that drive decisions and Pro segments that are aligned with your offering?  We utilize custom research to provide you detailed recommendations that help you improve your market strategy.  Contact us to discuss how our industry expertise can help.

Want the full 2020 Building Products Customer Guide?  Contact us to schedule a meeting.