The Real American Hardwood Coalition (RAHC), a domestic, industry-wide promotion initiative for Real American Hardwood™ products, has launched a website at realamericanhardwood.com designed to inspire and educate consumers. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) played a lead role in the development of the new website, guided by previous experience gained from the launch of its consumer-facing website at woodfloors.org.
“We’ve seen success with our ʻReal Wood. Real Life.’ campaign and woodfloors.org, and it made sense to expand our message beyond hardwood flooring, to include cabinets, furniture, and more,” says Michael Martin, president and CEO of NWFA. “Many of the 30-plus local, state, and national associations involved already were connected through the Hardwood Federation, making voluntarily funding requests for the new campaign much easier to accomplish.”
The new website takes visitors on a digital journey to learn how and why they should choose Real American Hardwood flooring, cabinetry, millwork, furniture, and other home goods.
“Today’s consumers are overwhelmed with product choices and often believe they’re buying natural and renewable hardwood products, when in fact, they’re buying look-alikes such as vinyl and plastic that are manufactured from non-renewable resources,” explains Martin. “Now, the industry has an informative tool setting the record straight and separating fact from fiction – backed by research and science.”
Designed by CANVAS United – a high-profile agency known for its exceptional creativity, impressive project portfolio, and extensive experience in promoting commodity and agricultural goods – the website educates consumers on the advantages and benefits of Real American Hardwood products in ways that make emotional connections. Interactive site modules engage consumers and compare the appearance, durability, value, home health, and environmental attributes of real wood products to faux, wood-look alternatives.
The site also serves as a hub for project inspiration, maintenance tips, and environmental facts, and explores how hardwood is influencing lifestyles and culture in the modern world.
In the months following the site launch, the RAHC will run an extensive consumer-focused social media campaign, followed by a full promotional media campaign throughout 2023.
“We’re excited about the site’s launch and the potential it offers us as we move forward directly reaching consumers,” explains Martin.
“In the next phase of development, the NWFA will explore integrating our existing ʻReal Wood. Real Life.’ campaign within the new Real American Hardwood website, directly connecting NWFA members with consumers who are looking for hardwood flooring,” says Martin.
More than 30 hardwood associations and organizations joined together to form the RAHC in 2019. Maxwell Hardwood Flooring, a wood flooring manufacturer located in Monticello, Arkansas, has been a supporter of the RAHC since its inception.
“The coalition did an outstanding job on the new consumer website and it will be a great resource for our industry as a whole,” says Tommy Maxwell, chairman and CEO of Maxwell Hardwood Flooring. “We have always said our hardwood products have a story to tell and people always remember a good story. Our industry came together to tell that story and to make sure that consumers know all of the facts and attributes about our products so that they can make the best decision possible.”
Other accomplishments by the coalition include completing nationwide consumer research, developing a logo and brand messaging, creating content, launching social media accounts, and presenting the campaign at various industry trade shows, including the NWFA Expo. Long-term, the intent is to deliver in-store signage and educational materials to big-box stores, where many consumers start their purchasing journey, and to introduce a comprehensive print and audio advertising campaign that produces an educated buyer for real wood products.
Information about how to contribute or become involved with this initiative may be found on the Real American Hardwood Coalition’s industry-facing website at realamericanhardwood.org.
Anita Howard is chief operating officer for the National Wood Flooring Association in St. Louis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.