In her book, The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape, Robyn Waters says, “Paradoxes are powerful tools that can help you discover the opposing realities of the customer and the contradictory aspects of the marketplace.” In her conversation with writer Loring Leifer in the People section of this issue, Waters speaks to consumers' schizophrenic nature of buying designer shoes while purchasing paper goods from a big box store, or buying an SUV yet religiously recycling.
In this issue we also present findings from the “Home of the Future” study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders where professionals predict the features that will be common in an average home and in an upscale home in 2015. Including every one of these features in your remodeling projects will not guarantee happy, satisfied customers. Just as building a garage that accommodates a Hummer and has a recycling center won't either.
What will work? See what can be learned from the ideas behind recent product innovations and marketing methods such as the tubes of Skippy peanut butter and bottled yogurt shakes you find in grocery stores today. The makers of these “to-go” foods are helping ease customers' busy lifestyles. iPods allow users to personalize their atmosphere and create a soundtrack for their life.
Use these ideas, Waters' observations, the NAHB survey results, and your own experiences to create a dialogue with customers so you can guide them to choices that fit the picture they have in their minds of their remodeled kitchen or how they want to feel when they step into their updated master suite. The better you understand your customers, the better your chances are of making them happy.
Nina Patel, Editor
Correction: In “Branching Out,” pp. 36–40, in the summer issue, Brad Cruickshank's name was misspelled. We regret the error.