Hardwood Industry Leaders Join Forces to Reinvigorate Image and Promote Use of American Hardwoods

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The Unified Hardwood Promotion (UHP) has implemented a research-based brand identity campaign. UHP aims to give the hardwood industry a recognizable brand and a consistent marketing approach to drive awareness and sales. Research shows that a great majority of consumers and pros view hardwood as a superior material for aesthetics, quality and durability.

The Unified Hardwood Promotion (UHP) is a coalition of hardwood industry leaders who have come together to create a single campaign to raise awareness and promote the use of American Hardwoods in products for the home and building. It will give the industry a cohesive identity and tools to elevate American Hardwoods as the building material of choice.

“This unique effort combines the best practices of more than 20 hardwood trade associations and leading product manufacturers who have come together with the common goal of inspiring increased usage of American Hardwoods in products from cabinetry to furniture to flooring,” said Terry Brennan (Baillie Lumber), chairman of the UHP.

UHP leaders have contributed to the program through hands-on involvement in consumer research and brand development, as well as support through financial contributions. Trade associations involved in the campaign include Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., Hardwood Distributors Association, Hardwood Manufacturers Association, Hardwood Council, Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association, National Hardwood Lumber Association, National Wood Flooring Association, Penn York Lumberman’s Club and Wood Component Manufacturers Association. American Hardwood Export Council will also help disseminate the new message throughout export markets. The Hardwood Federation is providing administrative functions for the UHP.

The execution of qualitative and quantitative research outlined the most important values associated with American Hardwoods. As documented in the research, more than 90 percent of consumers and pros like hardwood as a material for furniture, flooring, cabinets or building materials. More than 90 percent of respondents also agree that the strongest impressions of hardwoods relate to the durability and longevity of the material, and the ability to create a classic look that never goes out of style. Surprising to some was the fact that consumers 45 and under showed a marked preference for hardwoods.

“The research showed a deep appreciation for American Hardwoods among both consumers and pros and among all age groups. This offers a tremendous opportunity for the industry to come together and highlight American Hardwoods as the desired material in homes,” said Brennan.

A logo and tagline have been developed to reflect the most notable characteristics of American Hardwoods, as identified in the research. The tagline “Treasured for Generations,” coupled with the logo showing three American Hardwood leaves including Maple, Oak and Ash, are meant to convey the variety of choices available with hardwood and indicate the timeless beauty and enduring value that come naturally with this material. This offers a recognizable identity to the whole industry from the forest to the finished product.

The next phase of the campaign will be to encourage more members of the industry to join the effort and to get everyone involved thoroughly familiar with the new brand and positioning and how it can enhance their business. The goal is to continue to reinforce the message, with each member helping to promote American Hardwoods through their individual companies and organizations. The UHP has also engaged a communications firm, New York-based Gibbs & Soell (G&S), to help roll out the campaign. The G&S team led the research and branding effort and is currently helping develop a branded website, literature and sales tools.

According to Brennan, “We have a golden opportunity uncovered by the research to dramatically increase the use of American Hardwoods among consumers and pros based on their deep appreciation of its attributes. It’s time for the industry to come together to claim our pride of place in the American home.”

*Based on research conducted in January 2011 by Harris Interactive. Consumers are U.S. adults who own their current primary residence; have an annual household income of $75,000; currently in the market (or plan to be within the next 6 months) for flooring, furniture, cabinetry or building materials. Prosumers are U.S. adults currently employed as builders, subcontractors, architects or designers; design, build, specify or install furniture, flooring, cabinetry or building materials for consumer/residential properties.

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Ashley Eisner
Gibbs & Soell Public Relations
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