Guys, hi there!
My name is Anastacia and I reeeeally need your professional help
So, I am a development manager in a company “Siberian heritage” that produces reclaimed naturally weathered barn wood. Now we’re working on our website (https://siberianheritage.us) with two main goals:
The first one is to present our wood properly to an American market. We want to analyse your perception and understanding of Siberia and authentic reclaimed wood precisely and according to that build an appropriate and strong brand positioning.
For now we’re selling our main product - reclaimed barn wood panels for walls and ceilings - on Amazon but our main aim is to direct the majority of our sales to the website.
So, the main questions in this point are:
What is Siberia and Siberian wood for you, for Americans?
What are the main features, peculiarities of Siberia for you that we can use as symbols, signs of our brand? What advantages and strong points do you see in Siberian wood?
What positioning of the brand and wood would you choose to present the Siberian reclaimed barn wood brand? How can we distinguish ourselves from American reclaimed weathered wood brands?
The quality of wood is extraordinary, but we’re having doubts about how American people will see our company and our wood as a product.
So, please, help us with that
And the second goal is to make our website easy to use and really stylish. We want it to give our customers or just visitors of our website the FEELING of Siberia: Siberian wealth and rich nature, an incredible variety of animals, plants, insects, herbs and other important parts of Siberian flora and fauna that make our wood so unique and valuable.
And the questions to you are:
What would you add to our website (all pages)?
What would you delete or replace in it?
And about the design - what advice about the website design can you give us to strengthen our brand and product presentation?
Guys, I remember we also had incredible conversations here about a year ago that have helped our team so much.
Thank you for that! We appreciate your experience, professionalism and attention.
That’s why I came here for your advice and opinion now
A lot of the stuff you are asking here…
Is this a paying job?
Because you really should hire maybe someone local to you or maybe even a US designer/studio to help you with your US branding.
Cuz you are bordering on asking for a lot of free work here, which is not allowed.
Yes, we’re also making many researches in these fields.
But the aim of my message is not asking you to make another one but to share your opinion as an American because we’re not natives. And we’re like blind cats now because we don’t know for sure how people in a different country will feel about us and our product.
We’re from Russia. I, for instance, live in Moscow, beer been to America. Selling our product on the American market without listening to the opinion of those to whom we want to sell is a little bit silly and irresponsible. In my opinion)
And it’s always so curious to get acquainted with people from a different continent and feel the difference in everything. In characters, in tastes, in psychology and mentality, really, in everything.
So, I’d appreciate a lot if you share your view about how the Americans (particularly, you) understand what is Siberia, what are the main features of this region, in your opinion, and how it is better to present our production to the American market. It’s so valuable - to listen to the point of view of a person who lives in U.S. and feels people’s character around him.
The topic about the website is additional. It’ll be cool if you help and give some advice but it’s absolutely ok if you don’t. What is vitally interesting - your view on our brand and it’s presentation. And I’ll be so glad to receive your opinion
When someone says Siberia, I think I’m not alone as an American to think something like this:
It’s really hard to picture any flora even though I know it should exist in a tundra like setting but the visual doesn’t get anywhere beyond this:
Maybe the others here can agree or disagree on that.
As for Siberian barnwood, I think we had this discussion. You would have to play on the uniqueness of the look. I’d imagine the wind and the weather could make an interesting wood finish. But you have to aim high end cuz here “weathered wood” might be anything from an old barn taken apart (rare these days) to a paint finish. We have a sawmill near here that has a yard for weathering wood. They just leave it out there a few years then sell it. Not nearly the same as real, but in this plastic, want it now world, the only value is perceived value. Figure out how you are gonna import this stuff against a market that’s perfectly happy with a $15 can of this:
The only thing I know … and I used that term loosely … about Siberia, is Doctor Zhivago and a vast, frigid, open landscape. Where the living rooms are made of snow and people have to wear tons of fur to stay warm
Your questions are much the same as you asked last winter. This time, you’re asking about a website instead of a logo, but whether a logo, website, or branding for your entire company for an American audience, my concerns are similar to before.
As an American, here’s what might come to mind to a typical American when mentioning Siberia.
Terrible, frigid cold
Soviet (Communist) labor camps
Of course, I don’t have market research of the kind we would have done at the agencies where I’ve worked, but here are my gut instincts based on that experience.
You’re selling barn wood. We already have weathered barn wood in the US. For those wanting barn wood, it’s already here and probably cheaper than wood shipped in from halfway around the world. If we want barn wood from a cold, rugged place, Northern Canada and Alaska are closer.
That being the case, why would we want Siberian barn wood? What about your barn wood makes it different from barn wood already in the United States?
The answer isn’t difficult: IT’S RUSSIAN. IT’S SIBERIAN. IT’S EXOTIC.
If there is something else special about your barn wood other than its origins, you haven’t mentioned it. Yet based on your questions today and last winter, you seemingly want to downplay the Russian and Siberian origins. The text on your website refers to Siberia and its heritage but the visual appearance of the site and its personality contain no sign of that heritage.
Your name is Siberian Heritage, yet you want your branding to look American. In other words, you seem to want to downplay the very thing that would make your wood unique in an American market.
Yes, the branding and personality need to resonate with an American audience, so it can’t look authentically Russian. Still, it should possess the alluring qualities Americans associate with Siberia: vastness, ruggedness, hardiness, which in some ways, your website does already have.
In addition to these qualities, your branding should have a look and character that suggests its origins: Russian Siberia. In other words, your company’s branding and personality in America should look like what a typical American would find exciting and alluring about Siberia.
When looking at your website, there is nothing other than your name and mentions in the text of Siberia or Russia. Instead, the site looks professional but generically American or Canadian or British or German or Swedish. There’s no trace of Russian or Siberian personality anywhere on the site.
Last winter, if I remember correctly, I mentioned reservations I had with your logo. It looked like something out of the American wild west — something that might have come from Deadwood, South Dakota, instead of Omsk or Novosibirsk.
The logo problem is much the same problem I’m finding in your website: it looks too generically American with no visual hint of Russia or Siberia in its personality.
You’re selling Siberian barn wood — you should not downplay the very thing that makes your wood unique from all the other barn wood for sale in the United States. Inject some Russian Siberia’s personality into all of it. In other words, the branding should appeal to Americans but should have the flavor of Siberia.
From what you mentioned last winter, you appear to want to downplay the Russian aspects out of a misconception that Americans negatively view Russia. However, American views are more nuanced than that. Yes, Americans generally have a less-than-positive opinion of Putin and the Russian government. However, Americans do not dislike Russia or Russians. American’s are intrigued by Russians. Americans are intrigued and fascinated by the remoteness and vastness of Siberia. The Siberian origins of your barn wood is a positive attribute, not negative. Don’t downplay it.
Looks like a rabbit coming up out of the ground.
I’m part of the demographic that would possibly buy this stuff for high end millwork projects and that looks cheesy and cheap.
It brings absolutely NOTHING to the brand.
Hmmm … I really like the graphic and wine color, it’s a really nice piece of design work, but I did not see the eagle had you not mentioned it. And like Just-B said: “…now I can’t unsee it (the eagle)”,
PrintDriver (don’t know your real name :)), thanks a lot for your view.
First of all, it’s really disappointing for me that in America you don’t have an understanding of Siberia as a region so rich of fauna cause there is so much of it on those lands. I will pin ordinary look of Siberia below. And here, in Russia, we have a strong perception that Siberia is so rich in green impassable pine forests, multiple species of minerals, flowers, herbs etc. and various animals. So, that’s why I asked these questions.) Because sometimes due to various factors we don’t look at each other objectively :))
So, the second point about the brand presentation.
YES! We know that your market is soooo rich of different things that duplicate real wood and just real materials.
And my additional question is do your people prefer cheaper thongs with the same look but low quality (and they’re ok with that) or the majority chooses qualitative and real things with a story even if they can be more expensive than they expected? I understand that there are always so many people in both categories but if we talk about the nation in general, what’s your preference in this question? It’s curios to discuss that…)
I’m pretty sure this is a photo of the Teton Range in Wyoming, here in the US.
As an American, I will admit that world geography isn’t a strong point for most Americans. This is unfortunate given our country’s role in the world.
I’ve always wanted to visit Siberia. Lake Baikal has always fascinated me since I was a child. Your description of Siberia matches up with my own idea of what it’s like. Maybe someday, I will visit (in the summer, of course).
This is market research. Good for you for asking, but I think you need to go a little more in-depth than asking an anonymous forum members what their thoughts are. I don’t think you can classify the country as a whole as leaning towards cheaper or more premium products. I’d say it comes down to what the individual values. There are other factors that can play into the decision as well. For example: a pandemic. During the pandemic, people couldn’t go to the gym or goon vacation; so people were taking that money and putting it into their home. I have a buddy that sells home exercise equipment, and he said the pandemic was the best thing ever for his business. Bottom line, I don’t think asking if the U.S. population, in general, will buy standard quality or premium quality items. I’d say the questions are: how big is the premium lumber market, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the companies existing in this space, and can your company stand out in the market and offer something that would entice the buyer?