What makes a new building product stand out? What makes one product more popular than another? Brand? Performance? Reputation?
Amongst the wide range of content we read day in day out here at Pauley Creative, there’s one book titled ‘Contagious’ by Johan Berger that still remains relevant to this very day, and simply asks the question: ‘What makes things popular?’. John explores the reasons why some ideas or building products go ‘viral’ and some don’t.
Let’s explore the concept in more detail – and within the context of launching a new building product to specifiers and architects within the construction industry:
1. Social Currency
At Pauley Creative we talk a lot about creating unique ‘sharable’ or ‘Remarkable’ content.
In order to give your new building product ‘Social Currency’, you not only need to prove it’s ‘inner remarkability’ but you also need to appeal to the ego i.e. the ultimate need for people to look good purely by sharing your content.
A sales and marketing director of a brick manufacturer once told me that his products weren’t really construction products at all but more fashion accessories. Rather than construction, he was in the fashion industry.
This is the ideal mindset to extract your products’ unique character. Brick to fashion accessory may be a thought process too far for some, but if translated in the right way, this thinking can work in your favour.
The next question is: “how do we leverage this uniqueness to make the building product more interesting to buyers; developers, architects, specifiers etc?”
Can your construction business produce a useful specification tool that helps people interact with your new building product once it’s launched – a tool that makes them feel like they have insider knowledge or maybe makes their life choices easier?
How can your online specification tools or efficiency calculators build ‘social currency’ for your company?
What triggers can you create in order to keep your building product front of mind, to ensure your audience doesn’t lose interest after the initial few months of launch?
“Top of mind, tip of tongue”.
This phrase resonates with me because it articulates nicely the need for all building product manufacturers to make their marketing efforts consistent.
Big budgets spent on one off promotional activities is the marketing equivalent of binge drinking.
And sending an ad hoc email is not the same thing either.
Your entire launch campaign needs a carefully considered strategy and ‘follow up’ process, so that you know exactly how to tackle any leads when they enter the funnel. A thorough and integrated system of marketing channels that provide relevant information to different audience types on a timely basis will keep your products ‘Top of mind and tip of tongue’ from day one.
Consider the context in which your product is used: How can you create the triggers that suggest your product is ahead of your competition in the mind of your audience?
Take a look at our Content Marketing eBook for more ideas on creating a streamlined content strategy.
Top of mind, tip of tongue.
“We share because we care”.
When it comes to launching your new building product, consider the added benefits beyond their intended purpose that evoke a feeling or emotion.
You only need to watch an episode of Grand Designs to understand that certain products (and processes) evoke a strong sense of aesthetic even if all they do is let you into the garden or patio.
Certain products are literally the gateway to a desired lifestyle and these garner entirely subjective feelings.
Ask yourself; “does your content focus on the feelings of the end user? Or do you purely focus on the technical for the specifier?”
Does talking about the research, sales and after sales process of your building products generate an emotional response from the buyer? I guarantee it does.
Does your product advertise itself? There’s a question for you. In some cases it’s a definitive ‘yes’, in others not so much.
There are also the niche products that have cornered a market – Stannah Stairlifts spring to mind or Velux Roof Windows and there are many more examples where the companies have worked well to build a brand in the true sense of the word.
But what about those products which are unseen once installed?
Insulation products, drainage and pipe work, internal roofing products, underfloor cabling or light bulbs – the list goes on…
For those type of unseen products, how can you as a building product manufacturer come up with a really simple way of distinguishing yourselves from competitors?
Can you stain your packaging a certain colour to become more visible on housing projects while it remains uncovered? Can you create an ‘on and off’ presence throughout the life of a project build?
Ask yourself two simple questions; Can people see your product when others are using it and if not, how can you make it more public?
5. Practical Value
If being more ‘Public’ is easier for some than for others, then providing ‘Practical Value’ is a dead cert for all product manufacturers.
The majority of building products, almost without exception, have benefits that can be explained using any number of online techniques.
Whether it’s installation videos, case studies, efficiency calculators, data sheets, BIM models, technical drawings, 3d diagrams and animations, infographics, online specification tools – the list of approaches you could take is quite long.
Building the credibility of your business and proving the capability of your building products through the creation of sharable ‘web objects’ that are rich in ‘practical value’ is a strategy that building product manufacturers cannot afford not to engage in.
Does talking about your building products or materials help people help others? Of course it does. Your technical teams do it day in day out. So do your sales teams.
How can your company highlight its products incredible value from the very start? How can you package your knowledge and expertise into the most useful formats?
Do manufacturers necessarily have to create myth and fable around their products?
While a story around your product may not be something you hear down the pub too often or from your next taxi driver, you may hear it discussed in the builders merchants or on the site between trades.
A lot is written about the validity of thought leadership, especially within the built environment. The tender process has all but killed the real value of expertise in favour of cost.
However, a company that can consistently prove it’s technical expertise or it’s ability to solve problems is still incredibly valuable, and this in turn will create stories. Word of mouth.
We’ve written about the positioning of building product manufacturers before and I don’t mind repeating that the need to focus and appeal to segment audiences and provide real value through relevancy is massively important.
And for that reason alone, it makes sense to position your building product launch with both these key points of reference in mind: audience and application.
If you can do that successfully you will start to build your own stories. I believe they call it a ‘Reputation’.
What stories could your products carry with them? How can you capitalise on those conversations? It’s a great question to continually ask of your products even after launch day has been and gone.
As a framework for creating great content in preparation for your building product launch, I think these principles are really powerful. Whether you need to tick all six boxes is debatable, but having them in mind when creating a content strategy would be no bad thing.
Do you have any examples of product manufacturers who have succeeded in any of the 6 principles: Social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value or stories?