Saint Gobain

Making It Easy to Design for Wellbeing in Buildings

4 min read
Design Research
Service Design
Behavioural Science
situation & task

Designing for wellbeing

Saint-Gobain is a major construction brand with around 300 sub-brands operating in the UK and globally. Spotless worked with them to understand some of their key customers that make decisions about how buildings should be built, and what materials should be used. Saint-Gobain’s aim was to make it easier for customers to design for wellbeing in spaces.

Key aims for the project centred on supporting Saint-Gobain to develop their multi-comfort strategy for key customers such as Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Procurement and Estate Managers. It was important to understand how different customers researched, compared and specified different building materials so that we could address blockers and develop better services to help their customers.

We started by working with their internal teams to develop an understanding of the current customer experience from Saint-Gobain’s perspective. With Marketing, Sales and Support roles from across the business we mapped out key stages in the customer journey and how the business currently addressed the needs of customers. This provided a set of hypotheses to explore with our contextual research.


Context influences behaviours

We chose to run contextual interviews in customer’s offices and on sites where they work across the country from London to Glasgow to identify any regional differences. This provided us with valuable contextual background to better understand why customers behaved the way they did. Observing their office/site set up, how they interacted with colleagues and what resources they had to hand had a strong impact on how they approached different tasks.

We identified challenges not only when interacting with Saint-Gobain but also for customers interacting with each other due to conflicting motivations and goals. Understanding these relationships better created an opportunity for Saint-Gobain to provide transparency and develop trust with different customers across the construction cycle.

In some cases we were able to uncover reasons behind known behaviours such as Architects reusing specifications because they were too short on time to consider other options. Equally we observed habits of following the example of other colleagues instead of researching their own solutions as it represented less risk and less time investment. These behaviours would be a blocker to introducing new products/services that could improve wellbeing in buildings.

Leveraging internal knowledge

Insights from the customer interviews were mapped out into customer journeys highlighting user needs, thoughts, feelings, touchpoints, as well as good/bad experiences. These were accompanied by personas that helped stakeholders form a picture of the different types of customers they were supporting, and their different motivations and attitudes when it came to specifying products and systems.

We brought these tools into several co-creation workshops and worked with internal teams to link customer insights and tasks to a range of different solutions using the customer value proposition tool. Each concept aimed to solve pain points and/or satisfy key needs or gains that customers were looking for. At Spotless we find that working collaboratively in this way not only helped to further share the customer insights throughout the business, but also ensured that new concepts were balanced with the objectives of the business.

at a glance


Contextual interviews, customer journey mapping, personas, service blueprint, co-creation, customer value proposition

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Forming a future roadmap

The co-creation workshops provided the business with a greater understanding of their customers and how they could support them by generating around 90 ideas, centred on 3 keys themes:

  1. Internal alignment and standards: How we interact with customers
  2. Time saving and tools: How we can help our customers at different stages and touchpoints
  3. Tailored narratives: What we communicate to our customers and when to communicate

Teams used a service blueprint approach to further consider how difficult ideas would be to achieve by identifying what the customer would have to do (actions and expectations), how Saint-Gobain would be able to respond (touchpoints and evidence) and what partners might be required to support activities (i.e. what skills were needed for the job).

These ideas were then mapped out based on their value to the customer, and the difficulty for the business to achieve. This established the foundation for a future roadmap of quick wins, major projects, fill-ins and hard slogs (low value, high effort).

“I really enjoyed working with Spotless. They took time to gain a rich appreciation of what we wanted to achieve, and then applied an excellent approach to delivering the project and meeting our expectations. Spotless were professional at all times, but also made the whole process fun and engaging.” - Andy Hyde, Strategic Relationship Director


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