Want a personalized home? Too many that would sound like a dream, but now it is a reality. With the tools available through social technology consumers are looking for opportunities to be more involved in the production of the goods and services they receive.
In the paper A New Consumerism: The Influence of Social Technologies on Product Design Ian de Verve argues that “Social technologies have led to the imminent promise of unprecedented user participation and collective content generation, sharing and personalization.” It is noted that historically it was not economical to personalize each product in a large scale production environment given constraints in the production process, and in the efficiency of getting individual consumer input. Given advances in social technology the opportunity has emerged to personalize the final product through consumer input. This new method of development provides a more emotional connection to the final product as an individual’s tastes are ultimately considered.
Brookfield realizes a home purchase is probably one of the most important and biggest investments anyone makes. The opportunity to help the customer get the home they really want is at the heart of their business. Brookfield is an award winning builder active throughout North America and of great importance to them is the customer experience. They are driven by the values of passion, integrity and community. Long considered an innovator in the Residential Construction field when questioned about social media in an interview with Ontario Home Builder Award winners Sid Kerrigan (President of Ontario Housing at Brookfield Residential Properties Inc.) said “we are fully in”.
© Brookfield Residential, Brookfield Residential. Retrieved from Google Chrome on February 24, 2017.
Speaking to social media staff at Brookfield it was noted that the real effort of their strategy and a company core value is to create a sense of community. You can see this as the company engages with the client in the creation of their new home.
One part of the engagement is through the Inspiration Studio which is available on-line. This tool provides opportunities to select design elements and get expert advice on those items. Complimenting the Inspiration Studio Brookfield makes good use of Pinterest boards and blogging to help inform customers of the latest trends and design ideas. In following the process of production you can see that Brookfield sees this as a partnership between their company and the customer in the design of the finished home they receive.
As Stephanie Coutinho, Marketing Manager told me during our discussion “Our audience is especially engaged when we post interior photos and blogs, it shows them the potential of their dream home. It’s an exciting time in their life, something that was once a dream is becoming reality and in today’s market home ownership is a great accomplishment for Millennials.”
© Brookfield Residential, Brookfield Residential. Retrieved from Google Chrome on February 25, 2017.
Another core of the online engagement is a customized portal which allows Brookfield to engage with customers. The portal brings the customer into the process of designing the final product they receive. The portal also provides them with customized information and photos of the progress of their home. Again the focus is on helping clients to personalize their home to meet their individual lifestyle and taste.
Social media staff indicates that Brookfield has also involved clients and potential customers in on-line surveys to inform customer preference for certain designs and kitchen layouts. They also monitor social media to see which communities they are developing in have the strongest interest and what demographics they are attracting to those communities. The focus is always on improving the customer experience and ensuring that the products are meeting the needs of their clients. It is clear that Brookfield is focused on ensuring their customers will say “I love my Brookfield Home”.
Lessons for Others
© Brookfield Residential, Brookfield Residential. Retrieved from What is Customer Connection on February 27, 2017
In larger scale production there is the opportunity, given the advancement of social interaction tools, to bring customers into the design process ultimately producing a final product that is unique to them.
The use of social tools cannot be done in isolation to impact product design. Direct interaction with experts and others to understand the impact of design changes is important.
Social media provides the opportunity for the producer and customer to be co-creators and will build a loyalty to the producer in future purchases.
Social tools allow for learning from customers and potential customers so that the product can evolve to keep pace with changing customer needs.
Name of Organization Contact: Stephanie Coutinho, Marketing Manager
Authored by: Mike MacEachern, student, SMBP, University of Waterloo
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
de Verve, I. (2014, Sept.) A New Consumerism: The Influence of Social Technologies on Product Design, International Conference of Engineering and Product Design Education, retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/10700498/A_NEW_CONSUMERISM_THE_INFLUENCE_OF_SOCIAL_TECHNOLOGIES_ON_PRODUCT_DESIGN
Kernaghan, J. (2012) Trendsetters, Ontario Home Builders Association, retrieved from http://ohba.ca/magazines/14/articles/37
Brookfield Residential (2014, Jan 7) Brookfield Residential: Inspiration Story – Video File, Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUPf_DZgYAU
Brookfield Residential. Retrieved February 24, 2017 from Brookfield website http://www.brookfieldhomes.ca/about-us
Brookfield Residential Customer Connection. Retrieved February 27, 2017 from Brookfield website https://www.ilovemybrookfieldhome.ca/sign-in?ReturnUrl=%2fdefault.aspx