Monthly updates from top industry identities
THIS MONTH’S TALKIN’ TIMBER IS WITH DANIEL WRIGHT, MARKETING MANAGER OF AUSTRALIAN SUSTAINABLE HARDWOODS
Marketing is relatively new to Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH). Even more so to me. Having a great history in sales, I’ve enjoyed a crash course under the mentorship of some highly respected marketing minds – for which I am very appreciative and enthusiastic.
The concept of marketing timber is something that has passionately brewed in my mind since as far back as I can remember. There is a blurred line between marketing timber products and educating the public on forestry practices. “Our industry has always needed better marketing” I thought to myself. I had thought this because I grew up in the industry. I remember defending my father’s career to other kids in primary school. I remember being interrogated at barbeques as a teenager. Defending our cause every time I was asked what I did for a living… There was a time, not too long ago, when I wanted to avoid that question all together so that I could dodge the education session that followed – requiring me to go into detail about just how strict and scientific the harvest and regenerating process is. “I never realised how calculated the process is,” they would often say.
Thankfully, consumers are increasingly educated on the topic and I’m not so quick to avoid the conversation any more. But we have a long way to go. I still find myself educating new friends whenever someone asks “what do you do for a living?”
Of course, there are many reasons why these conversations are less of an educational session than they used to be. The public are becoming aware of the benefits timber has to offer to the environment, the economy, aesthetic appeal and, more than ever, the future.
But what is it, exactly, that drives this change?
Is it due to an increased need for sustainable building materials? Is it the innovative mass timber products such as CLT, SUPASPAN or Glulam? How about the fact that a single glazed Victorian ash window has a better performing “U Value” than a double glazed aluminium window? Could it be the highly successful “wood stores carbon for life” campaign or simply a trend towards end user solutions such as engineered flooring?
I think it is both all of these points but none of them specifically.
With the race to find sustainable building solutions for our future comes serious opportunity for the wood products sector to develop and promote ourselves as the answer. For every company promoting their solution with the same key principles on sustainability, we start to push back on the outdated and negative fear-mongering from minority groups. Something individual businesses could never afford in the past.
Although much of the public do understand, there is a small percentage that don’t. We are at a point in time where governments are introducing “wood first policies” at the same time as decreasing commercial forestry allocation in Australia. As a country we import approximately 55-60 percent of our wood and wood fibre needs. This is crazy! In Victoria, our state government has proposed an investment of $2.5 billion in renewable energy alternatives. Fantastic. But what about renewable building alternatives for a market that already buys it?? This should be the logical first step. Achieving our carbon targets and increasing jobs at the same time.
My ultimate goal through marketing timber products for Australian Sustainable Hardwoods is to see our government support the industry. For them to see our industry as innovators. The solution. The answer to increasing fears of climate change. An export that they are proud of!
With this change in perception will come increased wood first policies and maybe even an overdue increased investment in plantation and regrowth timber allocation!
Innovative products such as our IRON ASH (which continues to impress me), Australian Oak Engineered Flooring, SUPASPAN, Glulam and ALPINE OAK will be promoted by ASH in conjunction with our popular GOODWOOD Victorian ash range. For every campaign we run, we present the benefits of our products. But we also promote the same key messages as our friends from competing timber companies – that timber IS the solution.
I’d like to encourage you all to do the same.
For more information contact ASH: https://vicash.com.au