New AIM Report Reveals How Specification Analysis Can Help Lighting Manufacturers Evaluate and Improve Their Brand Position in the Market

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PALATINE, IL – Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM), a leading B2B research company, recently published a new report, “How Manufacturers of Interior Lighting Should Play the Specification Game.” The report explores the strategies that lighting manufacturers should use to improve brand position among architects and designers, and emphasizes the importance of knowing architects’ specific problems and how the product can help solve them.

“Most marketers are familiar with the ‘4 P’s’ – Product, Price, Promotion and Place,” says Jim Nowakowski, President of AIM. “But when interacting with architects and designers, manufacturers often forget the ‘silent P’ – the specific Problem that needs to be solved in a particular project.”

The report examines how architects and designers are inundated with product information, and have little reason to consider specifying a product unless that product addresses the challenges they are facing. Architects tend to use the brands they have established relationships with and are often reluctant to change their specifications. According to Architect Magazine’s article titled The Truth about Specification, up to 57% of architects use specifications from a previous project, often without making changes.

“Architects and designers are loyal to brands they’ve had good experiences with in the past,” explains Nowakowski. “However, these same brands might not remain the best fit for solving their current problems. The Architect Magazine article also indicated most architects (approximately 70%) use products and suppliers who they have a relationship with. So how can manufacturers know how to best position their products? Specification analysis and becoming the ‘basis of design’ is the answer for any manufacturer who wants to improve their brand position among architects and designers.”

The independent brand preference study conducted by AIM indicated that “basis of design” is playing an increasingly important role in how architects select which brand of lighting to use. According to AIM’s research using ConstructConnect™, only 38% of projects in 2018 with an interior lighting specification also included a brand as the “basis of design.” However, this has increased since 2012 where “basis of design” was specified in only 28% of the interior lighting specifications.

“The key to gaining ground in specifications and preference is to become the ‘basis of design.’ This means that the architect (or designer) is calling out a specific brand that should be used to meet the objectives of a project,” says Patty Fleider, lead researcher for AIM. “And while there will inevitably be other manufacturers listed as possibilities, it is the ’basis of design’ choice that drives the specification. You can become the basis of design if your product solves a problem.”

AIM’s report emphasizes how it is important for manufacturers to continuously review their position in architects’ specifications. While a manufacturer cannot always be sure that they are on a firm’s “preferred” list, they can evaluate how often their brand appears in the specifications and measure how often they are the “basis of the design” or appear in the lighting schedule. Further, they can study the types of products being specified to help understand the problems faced by architects.

“New advances in technologies make it critical for manufacturers to educate architects and designers on their products,” adds Fleider. “Today, the trade-off is in information. With so many professionals involved in selecting lighting, support and knowledge are crucial factors that give manufacturers an edge.”

This type of research on “basis of design” and brand can be done on other product categories or on a specific brand by AIM.

For more information and to answer questions on how the lighting report applies to your company or other research possibilities contact: Patty Fleider, lead researcher at 847-358-8558 or

To read AIM’s full report on lighting, please go to:

About Accountability Information Management, Inc.

Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM), a leading B2B research company, was established in 1990 to help measure advertising effectiveness and has developed into a totally-focused marketing research company with a special emphasis on B2B channels. The company identifies market opportunities and targets, measures of market size and communications approaches, tracks marketing tactics like direct mail and advertising, and provides clients with the knowledge they need to more effectively penetrate the market. It owns one of the most extensive databases in the country, with over one million seeing and reading scores of print advertising in a wide variety of markets. The company has also conducted deep research with publishers into how content is created, distributed and consumed in a digital disruptive environment.


Patty Fleider, lead researcher, AIM



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