3 opportunities and 3 mistakes

The answer to the question – should builders invest more in their brand, is a simple – yes and no.

Some builders invest more than enough in their brand – for better or for worse. Others however do not invest near enough in their brand.

The latter is particularly so for project home builders when the products they are offering are all the same. While project home builders, making up most of the market, often claim that their products and general offerings are unique – when the truth is that they vary very little indeed.

Given the unwillingness of builders in Australia to innovate, as builders overseas have done, and their insistence on being safe and conservative, branding their businesses in a unique way may be the only avenue to achieving differentiation.

I would argue that there is real scope for innovation in the home building market and that innovation is in-fact they key to long term profitability – a key that conservative builders cannot see and will fail to capitalise on.

That aside there remains real potential for builders to differentiate their building brands on the basis of factors that are critical to consumers including:

  • Speed of construction
  • Communication
  • Support and care

Research shows that customers are concerned about the speed of construction and the fact that builders are generally poor communicators. Research also suggests that first home buyers want their collective hands held.

Demonstrating the capacity and determination to deliver on one or more of these and a number of other factors has the potential to not only attract customers but enhance pricing, or at the very least reduce the focus on price.

I would also argue, with a great deal of certainty that it is very difficult to build an appealing and sustainable brand on the basis of:

  • Years in business.
  • Houses built.
  • Promises of service.

Who cares how long you have been in businesses – or how many owners the firm has had in that time? Research suggests that consumers don’t.

Who cares if you have built 100 or 10,000 houses? To build 100 shows you have experience, beyond this it is boasting that will have little impact on consumers. House built is just hyperbole.

Everyone promises good service and very few define what they mean buy service. Still fewer really understand what buyers are looking for in terms of service. Service is just a platitude.

I would argue that the fist builder that is truly committed to three issues will take the market by storm. Those three issues are:

  • Understanding the consumer and embracing consumer focused innovation.
  • Differentiating the product and the way it is packaged.
  • Branding the business in a way that connects fully with consumer needs and wants.

Some builders are better at this than others, but:

  • Which one understands the consumer well?
  • Which one differentiates its product well?
  • Which one brands itself in a sustainable way?

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –

D. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog –

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