What’s Hot On The Minds Of The Interior Design Giants Of Design, And How Should Reps Respond?
Mpowered Podcast, Episode 21 Show Notes
Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab.
In this bite-sized episode, we tackle the question, “What’s hot on the minds of the Interior Design Giants of Design, and how should reps respond?” Host Erica Waayenberg, head of research and content at ThinkLab, offers insight into their top 3 issues – Sustainability, Flexibility and Mental health and wellbeing – and how top firms are finding the right balance to address these concerns.
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Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab. Consider this your new weekly dose of bite-sized, actionable insights to help you succeed as a B2B rep. I’m this week’s host, Erica Waayenberg, head of research and content at ThinkLab.
We’ll be answering one key question each week, many of them submitted by you. Want to join in? We’ll share details about how to submit your question at the end of this episode.
Our question this week: what is hot on the minds of the Interior Design Giants of Design, and how should you respond as a rep?
Who are the Interior Design Giants of Design? They are the 200 largest firms in our country, which represent roughly a third of all designer employment in our industry. These firms and designers are incredibly influential when considering what products are specified and purchased each year. ThinkLab data shows that designers within these top 200 firms have 111X the product specifying/purchasing power of the average US consumer, so understanding what matters to them, can help your business leverage those relationships to a greater level.
As part of ThinkLab’s annual survey and research surrounding the Interior Design Giants of Design, we study their predictions for the year to come, and key trends and business challenges they see within their firms. 2022’s research brought forth remarkable consistency when looking at shifts and trends taking hold within these firms. Three key areas of focus include sustainability, flexibility, and well-being.
Let's look at each of these trends, and how you can respond.
FIRST: Sustainability. While the sustainability movement is far from new, it has shifted from isolated opportunities for product selection to a groundswell of support from the architectural and design community, including holding themselves, as firms, to new sustainability goals and standards. Beyond materiality, this year a focus on embodied carbon is more prevalent than ever in the past. Firms are actively trying to track the carbon impact of their work and the true embodied carbon load of both architecture and interiors. What does that mean for you as a rep? It means finding your sustainability guru and taking notes on where your company, product, or service can support these documentation objectives. Sometimes the most sustainable option is not the most sustainable material, sustainability is a nuanced dance of materiality, durability, and longevity within a space. Remember that sustainability is more than checking a certification box, having a more wholistic view can prompt meaningful conversations within firms.
SECOND: Flexibility. If there's one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is how to be nimble and reactive as a society. Along with this flexibility in behaviors, we are now looking for our spaces to support that level of flexibility as well. For many clients, a key objective of their space is the flexibility and adaptability to various user needs, or situational changes. Flexibility also supports overarching sustainability goals as well. When spaces, and products within them,
support a multitude of users and functions, there is a longer life cycle between renovation and hopefully less product ending in a landfill.
THIRD: Mental health and well-being have also risen to the top of the charts for trends and concerns facing the Interior Design Giants of Design and is our third key focus for today. No matter what sector they are designing for, there is a newfound awareness and appreciation for the way in which our spaces impact our psychological well-being. New experts are being brought to the table as firms consider and design for the mental health and well-being of users and occupants. What once was three or four primary stakeholders from a client can now be a team of 10 to 15. As a rep, understanding the importance of how your product or service supports the overall well-being of the end-user, and being able to communicate that to architects and designers in quick succinct value-based statements will help them to position the value of your product to the client. While A&D are doing their own research in many cases, they are hungry for thought leadership from brands. Thought leadership can come in many formats, and doesn’t have to be a CEU, but just like a great CEU, thought leadership should raise the questions to which your product is the natural answer. Equipping A&D with your products value not only makes your product the natural answer to a design question, but supports the work ahead of them as they position and quantify all of the selections they have made
It's important to remember that everything is a balance, and that is true for the vast number of products architects and designers are selecting for their projects as well. Not every line item will check every box or be a perfect fit. While technical product expertise is incredibly important, understanding how you can communicate your products or services value through the lens of sustainability, flexibility, and health and well-being, will position you well for success
in the years ahead.
Thank you for listening in and I invite you to listen each week for more tips and tidbits to empower you as a rep.
If you have a question or topic you’d like us to tackle on air, we’d love to hear from you. Drop
us a note with your success story or question through the messaging feature on Instagram or by
leaving a comment on LinkedIn.
Special thanks to Material Bank for partnering with us to provide bite-size, valuable insights for B2B reps in the interior design industry.