How Contractors Rank 300+ Top Building Product Brands

How Contractors Rank 300+ Top Building Product Brands

The Farnsworth Group surveyed nearly 1,000 contractors about their brand preferences across 32 categories of tools, materials and building product brands. Here's what we uncovered.

Our expert building products research team at The Farnsworth Group has conducted another complimentary study for industry manufacturers and suppliers. This time we have fielded a brand awareness and use study to nearly 1,000 contractors to understand how the top 10 brands across 32 different building product, tool, and equipment categories rank across key product attributes that are impacting contractors' purchase decision.

Why Study Contractor Brand Preferences?

Brand shift and brand loyalty has changed quickly in the past two years, so it’s more critical than ever for manufacturers and suppliers to understand their brand position in the market. As industry research experts with a focus on brand health and customer behaviors, we want to provide the building products industry with a baseline understanding of brand positions in the market among contractors. The Farnsworth Contractor Brand Ratings report provides information about Professional's use of, and opinions of, top brands in 32 different building, home improvement, and lawn product categories.

About The Farnsworth Contractor Brand Ratings Report

The Farnsworth Group surveyed nearly 1,000 contractors about their brand preferences across 32 categories of tools, materials and building product brands.

Generally speaking, those 32 categories fall within 5 buckets:

  • Adhesives and Fasteners
  • Appliances and Equipment
  • Home Exterior
  • Home Interior
  • Tools

Of those Pros surveyed, 35% work in firms making $749 thousand or less annually. Another 38% work in firms making $750 thousand to $1.9 million annually. The last 20% work in firms with annual revenues of $2 million or above. The Farnsworth Group weighted all data to represent the U.S. contractor population included in their research.

Of the survey respondents,

  • 25% are General Contractors and Remodelers
  • 20% are Mechanical Trades
  • 17% are Landscapers
  • 14% are Finish Trades
  • 9% are Exterior Trades
  • 9% are Home Builders
  • 6% are Architects and Designers

Overall brand ratings are scored based on responses to the following:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Use
  • Brand Perceptions

Perceptions are evaluated on various characteristics:

  • Best Value
  • Most Innovative
  • Best Performance
  • Best Service or Support
  • Easiest to Install or Use
  • Best Quality
  • Most Available at My Suppliers
  • Wide Variety Within Brand

Within the full report for each category, the top brands are identified for each characteristic with the percentage of respondents that made the association.

General Observations About Contractor Brand Ratings Results:

We often noticed a similarity between the "preference" score and the "brand values" score for each, in contrast to the "awareness" and "use" scores.  

The correlation we see, oftentimes, is that the brands that add value across as many of those categories as possible have higher overall customer preference scores. This is because your customers' purchase behaviors are driven by more than just awareness.

In contrast, just because Pros are aware of your brand, does not mean they will want to use the product. Awareness messaging is important, but it’s only the top of the purchase funnel.  Brand preference and customer loyalty are driven by several elements which vary by category.

Some categories have invested heavily in increasing brand awareness. In a few cases, we found high brand awareness across most of the brands in that category, but very low purchase preference, even among brands with high product use. This signals there is ample room for product development efforts to delight customers with the right combination of product attributes, or "brand values."

What strikes us is the evidence that even brands that have introduced relevant brand values, ie product attributes, will struggle with market share if customers perceive a competitor's offering to add more or comparable value for the price.

For many brands across categories, efforts to increase market share is not an awareness issue - it's a consideration issue.  

There are key attributes of these building products, tools, and equipment that are not winning over customers, representing a big opportunity for the brands that work hard enough to capitalize on those opportunities to innovate and iterate their product lines.

For some brands, it is a perception issue. They have been working to be perceived as a Pro-grade brand, but they are perceived in the marketplace as a DIYer brand. In these instances, brands must focus on the right target and ensure the attributes of their product matches what that customer is looking for. In many cases, Pros are looking for options that will be easy on the job site and long-lasting, often opting for a slightly more expensive brand because of higher quality perceptions.

Conducting Custom Brand Health & Performance Research

From brand awareness to brand usage to brand satisfaction: All of these metrics are used to show a brand’s health and monitor change being impacted through marketing campaigns and product development.

Whether your problem is low brand awareness, competitors’ high brand use or you aren’t getting loyal customers, brand health is crucial to understanding equity, perceptions and satisfaction across brands.

If you want to know your brand share, which brand customers prefer or how your brand is perceived, then you need customized Brand Health research to

  • Monitor brand performance to measure marketing success
  • Capture brand perceptions to define market position
  • Understand brand equity to improve category growth success
  • Define brand usage to determine share opportunity

Learn More >>

The Farnsworth Group has been providing custom market intelligence for the building products, home improvement, and lawn & ranch company executives for over 30 years. In fact, it's all we do.