Understanding consumers is complicated, and never a static exercise. Responding to their demands is further challenged by technology advances.

The design and construction life cycle sometimes last longer than fleeting consumer trends, so staying in front of them is a constant battle. However, new technologies are also advancing the way that housing providers can understand customers, elevating the traditional research methods of surveys and focus groups.

How can it all be managed in a positive productive way that produces a valuable short and long term strategy?

In this HIVE RE:think podcast, Philip Beere chats with Paul Johnson, executive vice president of community development at Rancho Mission Viejo, whose past consumer insights have been spot on, showcasing his consumer preference intuitions. Johnson has been leading all aspects of community development for more than 35 years for the 23,000-acre project, in South Orange County, CA, including urban planning and design, development, builder land sales, construction and administration.

Johnson focuses his efforts for the Ranch to make it a landmark community of mixed-use, inter-generational villages, sitting on 6,000 acres and hosting more than 14,000 homes and up to five million-square-feet of non-residential uses.

Johnson navigates changing consumer demographics with a steadfast approach of data acquisition to hands-on consumer discussions and shares how he continues to understand consumer buying decisions, how he measures research, and how to be flexible to ever-changing demographic profiles changing.

Accurate with past predictions on consumer demands, including more affordability, higher density and smaller floor plans, listen now to hear what Johnson predicts for the next five years, and hear some personal insights.

Episode 3: The Crucible of Consumer Insights, featuring Paul Johnson, is also available on SoundCloud and on iTunes.