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Wienerberger seen as the most innovative brand by German architects

​When thinking of innovative companies, the first thing that comes to mind are startups or major disrupters like Uber and Airbnb. Typically, we don’t think of manufacturers of building materials. These companies tend to be more conservative and more averse to taking risks. This has to do with the market they are operating in, as the construction industry is still considered to be a conservative & traditional market, despite the trend towards digitalization. Furthermore, the fact that most major manufacturers of building materials are well established companies with a long history tends to be a barrier for innovation. This is not surprising as innovation that has to come from inside of an existing, large company is much harder than within a startup.

That being said, there are still exemptions to this generalization. We wanted to know how the European architects ranked the major brands in the construction industry when it comes to innovation. In the most recent report of the European Architectural Barometer (Q1 2017 Love Brands) by USP Marketing Consultancy, we have measured the spontaneous brand awareness of architects for various product categories, but we also measured which brands the architects see as being innovative, sustainable, industry leading and so on. The European Architectural Barometer is based on 1,600 telephone interviews with architects from 8 European countries.   

Top 5

In Germany, Wienerberger tops the chart for being the most innovative brand, with 13% of the German architects mentioning them. Knauf Insulation is the second most innovative brand (12%) and Velux is ranked as the number three with 9%. Schüco takes fourth place (5%) and Xella completes the top 5 with 4% of German architects mentioning this brand.

VELUX and Knauf Insulation, have a more pan-European image as being innovative. They are mentioned in all countries except Spain while Wienerberger only makes it to the top 5 in Germany. They do have a strong brand position in Germany as they’re not only in the top 5 for being an innovative brand, but they are also mentioned for being a sustainable brand and for being an industry leader.

Importance of innovation

As mentioned before, the construction industry is quite conservative, but new technologies (digitization) and market trends (lack of qualitative & quantitative labour, prefab and so on) have been slowly reshaping the industry over the last decade. In order to adapt and adopt these changes, the manufacturers of building materials should try to become more (or stay) agile. There will be new demands and requests coming from the construction industry (BIM data, prefab solutions, total system solutions) and if the manufacturers just stick to what they have been doing the last decades, it will be hard for them to stay competitive.