All About the Wall

Wallcoverings Association 2019 annual meeting dives into the power of interior décor.

We at Big Picture aren’t the only ones obsessed with interior décor. The 2019 Wallcoverings Association Annual Meeting gathered vendors, designers, printers, analysts, and press devoted to the world of wallcoverings. This year’s event in Key Largo, Florida, focused on trends in the hospitality market, the power of disruption, and the importance of capturing and sharing your brand’s story.

What’s Trending

Writeable walls are now part of interior design for conference rooms.  

MGM Resorts isn’t building ballrooms intended as meeting spaces moving forward. Money is going to expansion and renovation in the hotel industry.

When looking to specify wallcoverings for a project, 68 percent of designers search the internet. (Pinterest is used more than Google.)

‘The Speed of Change: Move Fast and Fail Often’ with Michael Dominguez, SVP and CSO, MGM Resorts International

“Think like a startup. They move fast and fail often,” said Dominguez. Big businesses are afraid of disruption, and in today’s world, it’s either “disrupt or be disrupted.” 

“Authenticity is real.” Connect with your customers and own your mistakes. Successful companies like Starbucks and Dominos have taken this approach. (Dominos launched a campaign in which they read negative comments from consumers – “your pizza tastes like cardboard” – and completely restructured their recipes.)

“To have control is to have the ability to give it up.” A good manager allows conversations around change with their team. Leaders need to be able to respect tradition, but still be able to grow.

‘What's the Wallcovering Story? Aligning on the Industry's Unique Value and Equipping Stakeholders to Tell It’ with Chris Wallace, co-founder and president, InnerView Group

“Your product isn’t enough,” said Wallace. “You need to tell a story about your product, company, and brand.” 

“Service is greater than product.” Surprisingly, even if the product isn’t the best, customers will come to you if they have someone to rely on or trust. 

“Don’t launch and leave.” Whether you’re sharing a new application offering, you’ve gone through a complete brand redesign, or are utilizing a new social media outlet, continue communication with your customer. 

“Your customers have other options.” Sell your value, not dollars and cents. If you aren’t asking your employees what they think of your service offerings, the products you’re using, and how you’re selling to customers, you’re missing out on key opportunities for success. 

“Give them pieces of your story.” User-generated videos of a wallcovering installation are an organic and authentic way to get your brand message out there. Don’t forget to showcase what your business is capable of by having those examples all over your shop, from cubicles to the exterior of the building.

Conflicting Thoughts

“Virtual reality is dead for consumers.” –Dominguez

vs.

“Virtual reality is less than a cost of a salesperson. It’s one way to supplement your product.” –Wallace 

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“Forty-eight percent of designers say VR/AR/MR are important to incorporate into the creative process. Thirty percent of wallcovering companies are doing a good job supplying VR-compatible products. Eighty percent of businesses will use chatbots by 2020.” –Pamela McNally, Interior Design magazine 

Where do you stand?

Final Word
“Confirming wallcovering product excellence” is the WA’s goal, said Jeff Rezin, president, Rezin. Their path to success includes: 
•    Don’t ignore changes in technology: Embrace and understand them, and be prepared for changes in public taste to allow for rapid response.
•    Technical issues are complicated and so is communicating comprehensive understanding.
•    Fully understand recycling issues, limitations, and opportunities.
•    Message delivery should be a “drip by drip approach” so customers are not overwhelmed.
•    Continue working on capturing your brand’s story.