Real American Hardwood Coalition Updates
May 2022 Update: Editorial "Ted Talk" by Ray Moistner, Executive Director
Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association
"I knew right away that the hardwood people were different, for better or worse. They were open, sincere, humble, and happy to be behind the scenes in a mill or in the woods. They can man the (often unassuming) corner office, or jump on the forklift or loader when needed. Change out a sawblade or take a shift in the carriage. They run businesses that require a great deal of investment in order to ride the ups and downs of the markets, which sometimes provide great returns. And when times were good, they shared." Read more
April 2022 Update: RAH Gets Consumer Site Preview
We all know that hardwoods give a home style, class, and an air of affluence. We know they provide enduring beauty and a reflection of the owner’s personal taste. And we know they add warmth. But is that enough to sway a consumer away from substitute products that seek to provide the same look?
That’s the million-dollar question on which the future of hardwood product sales hinges. And when we are talking promotion to a world-wide audience, it literally takes a million-dollar answer. Read more
March 2022 Update: RAH Sees Steady Growth While Touring the Country
It’s convention and annual meeting time for many of the hardwood industry associations around the country, and the Real American Hardwood Coalition is on the road and sharing our recent progress at many of them.
Over 30 associations comprise the coalition, and their respective executive directors and key staff make up the leadership team of the coalition. The group continues to meet weekly as we gradually build the program’s infrastructure, finances, and, most importantly, its participation from member companies. Read more
February 2022 Update
The RAHC Board of Directors continues to meet weekly, and each week there is progress made on the Real American Hardwood promotional campaign. We are also keeping our finger on the pulse of industry trends and market share opportunities for our competitors, as they help shape the messaging and the evolution of our campaign. Read more
December 2021: Year End Update
The Real American Hardwood Coalition (RAHC) has been busy this fall, and exciting plans are coming together for our industry-wide promotional efforts. The big news heading into 2022, is that the RAHC Board of Directors has selected CANVAS United, a renowned digital agency, to develop the consumer facing website, and we’re excited to report that work is currently underway. Read more
October 2021 Update
The Real American Hardwood Coalition had a busy summer and we are heading into an exciting fall. The big news is that we have begun work on the consumer-facing website, now that we have developed the site where hardwood industry companies can get information about the RAH campaign and download our logo and other materials. The consumer-focused website will drive homeowners, architects, designers, and builders to our products. The RAHC Board of Directors recently reviewed proposals from seven high-level web development firms and will be announcing a final selection very soon. The consumer site is only in the very beginning of development at this point, but it is certain to highlight the natural beauty, durability and home healthy aspects of American hardwood, and will aim to reach consumers at the planning step of their projects. We are excited to see how it all unfolds! Read more
RAHC 2020 Update
Real American Hardwood is a material that has meaning. That has history. That is uniquely beautiful, warm and one of a kind; as though touched by nature’s fingerprint. It’s the most beautiful building product out there, the one that other imitation products strive to be. It pulls everything together just by being itself. It’s simple in its ingredients and it’s strong and durable at its core. It’s a powerful display of the wonder of nature. Hardwood is pure – grown with purpose and naturally renewing. Hardwood is authentic, without even having to try. It’s just built that way, naturally.
The American hardwood industry has a powerful story to tell. From the beauty, desirability and lifetime value of the products to the history of the industry, the small family business focus, the sustainability of our raw material, and the environmental and health benefits of using hardwood.
The Time is Now
To secure our industry’s future, we must unite toward a common goal. The Real American Hardwood Coalition was launched in 2019 as an industry association-led effort to meet the imperative goals of increasing markets and sales of Real American Hardwood, celebrating the sustainability of hardwood goods, generating new products, and improving overall industry stability. The campaign focuses on driving consumer demand, knowing that as consumers increasingly select Real American Hardwood products our entire industry supply chain will benefit. Read More
RAHC October 2020 Update
In late August, the Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) conducted several webinars to update funding partners, industry affiliates and industry stakeholders regarding work-to-date, and specifically the findings of the completed “research phase,” or Step One in the process of developing an over-arching brand identity for American Hardwood.
If you were unable to participate, the webcast is available here. Please tune in. And as a memory refresher, the Step One research phase was to identify and develop effective marketing messaging, branding strategies and a Go-To-Market Playbook to increase hardwood markets, domestically.
A second presentation, with specifics on the brand messaging and how it can be used by everyone in the hardwood supply chain to ultimately increase market share and profitability, will be coming soon. Stay tuned! And remember, to become an active part of the Coalition, support the initiative financially, or should you have questions, please reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wood Component Manufacturers Association is a supporting member of the Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition, a voluntary, industry-wide, domestic promotion initiative developed by industry associations and directed by those executive directors.
RAHPC August 2020 Update - Webinar Available
The Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) was formed by a group of hardwood association leaders in 2019 to identify the opportunities and challenges in promoting the American hardwood industry to the domestic market. The first phase of RAHPC’s work focused on conducting and analyzing research on why customers purchase hardwood products or competing substitutes. By focusing on gathering information about how consumers decide which products they purchase, the hardwood industry can identify the best ways to connect with potential customers and influence their decisions through meaningful promotional outreach and messaging. The market research "will provide the basic tenets for developing a much-needed, over-arching brand identity."
Target audiences for this research included architects, contractors, home renovators, designers, millennials, and GenXers to assess their perceptions about hardwood attributes, their beliefs about competitive products, and what drives consumer decisions. It was conducted in a variety of methods - in-person focus groups, online polling, and interactive bulletin boards. The results of the research, covered in this webinar, forms the foundation of a new brand identity for the American hardwood industry.
What were the Key Findings?
- Attributes favoring American hardwood include: Attractiveness (#1 Attribute), High-end Appeal, Uniqueness, Durability, Gold Standard - Everyone wants the look and feel of real hardwood products
- Drawbacks in choosing American hardwood: Cost (#1 Barrier), Not a "Good Value", disconnect between durable being good value, Disposable Society, "Close is Good Enough"
- Not a Driver in the decision making process: "Made in America, Environmentally Friendly, Sustainability of the Resource" (Who knew?)
RAHPC July 2020 Update
The Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) continues to make great strides forward, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. All research, which encompassed a wide audience of consumers, architects, contractors, home renovators, designers, millennials, and Gen Xers, has been conducted, analyzed, and placed in the hands of the brand accelerator.
- Marketing consultants have developed a preliminary Go-To-Market Playbook which will outline the many ways companies and associations can engage and guide influencers.
- The RAHPC Executive Committee is preparing a webinar to update funding partners and industry affiliates on the Playbook highlights.
To learn more about the webinar details, to sign on as a funding partner, or for general questions regarding the work of the Coalition, email email@example.com
RAHPC June 2020 Update
The Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) is making critical progress on efforts to establish a united marketing strategy for the American hardwood industry. The Coalition is avidly collaborating with industry leaders and the hired brand accelerator and data teams despite the COVID-19 obstacles. Zoom is becoming a key tool among everyone. Read more here.
RAHPC April 2020 Update
The Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) continues its progress in April to establish a united marketing strategy for the American Hardwood Industry. The RAHPC has generated over $238,000 from 25 industry associations and is funding research and brand development. Read more here
RAHPC March 2020 Update
The Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition (RAHPC) is making crucial progress on efforts to establish a united marketing strategy for the American hardwood industry. The Coalition met at the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association meeting in February and discussed recent accomplishments and upcoming action. Read more
To assess consumer attitudes, two focus groups were held in late January and early February. A focus group is a strategically selected group of diverse people assembled to participate in a guided discussion about a topic prior to the initial launching campaign of that specific topic. In our case, hardwood promotion, we talked to two types of people at each location. The first consisted of consumers that had performed major renovations in their homes within the last year. The second was a group of architects, contractors, and designers. Online polling of additional prosumers and consumers are being planned, as well as phone interviews with industry leaders to round out the research process.
A series of questions by a highly qualified facilitator-led to dialogue about home renovations, materials, sourcing, forest products, sustainability and much more. Some key findings of the focus groups include:
- Perform most of the research themselves on their renovation projects. They rely on a variety of different resources; for instance, popular online shopping sites, television shows, local home improvement stores and word of mouth;
- Want a “quick and now” answer for their renovations, often based on current trends;
- Decisions are most often budget-driven;
- Associate real wood products with high fashion and a perceived status;
- For the most part, do not understand the terms sustainability and environmentally friendly;
- Misinterpret characteristics associated with the forest products industry.
Architects, Builders and Designers:
- Generally not the influencer, customers know what they want;Typically forced to stay within a strict budget;
- Believe home improvement television shows do not present realistic costs and time estimates;
- Agree most popular home renovations are kitchens, bathrooms, and flooring;
- Have numerous sources for their raw materials and no allegiance to products Made in America.
Much of this information is already well known by hardwood insiders, but there were data points that were unexpected. These will help us as we move into our second phase, brand development.
This Spring, marketing professionals from various segments of the industry will gather to work to develop a brand statement that can be adapted and incorporated by associations and businesses alike, creating a common message that runs throughout multiple promotion platforms and campaigns.
Our marketing consultants will also develop a go-to-market playbook which will consist of many ways companies and associations can engage…with the average financial obligation attached to each option. At that point, RAHPC can begin to consider where we start and how funding needs will be addressed.
RAHPC members are attending industry/association meetings throughout the year. Please look for these opportunities to connect with those association executives that are actively engaged. And if you are interested in someone from the Coalition participating in one of your meetings, please reach out!!