B (Can I call you like that?), it took me a few days to operate everything that you’ve written cause your words are just priceless. Thank you for that.
And of course, I have tons of questions and thoughts to you:
It seems to me that remoteness, hardiness and ruggedness are not the advantages that I personally would love to use as the main origins in our presentation. Maybe it’s just my subjective feeling that it’s ordinary, boring and even forbidding but I think that there is no inner pleasure, joy to buy something from rugged people that live in terrible cold (even if it’s qualitative and gorgeous wood)…
It’s not a strong selling point, I don’t feel passion or joy while thinking about having this wood at home.
The differences between our wood and the American wood that we’ve been recognised (we ordered reclaimed barn wood panels boxes of various American brands to compare it with ours) are:
Our wood is a little bit thicker, and it cracks lees than the wood of the most our local competitors;
It has brighter shades and a deeper color and also it has a more relief pattern due to the age and weather conditions where it has been “grown”;
The age of our wood is at least 20 years. Some American companies age wood themselves or the others have wood with a natural age of 5-10 years in general;
I think, these are the main features.
Yes, I agree with you that there is so little information about us on our website as a Siberian, Russian company. However, I’m afraid that if we use the characteristics that you’ve mentioned above, nobody will fall in love with our product and us as a company because it’s not an appealing, attractive portrait: rugged people that live in a severe climate with no civilization… Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t be the one that bought this presenting :(. It pushes me aside, what do you feel about that?
And about downplaying the Russian aspects - it’s a great idea, but when we were working on our website, we were following the idea to demonstrate ourselves not as outdated, obtuse people. We wanted to demonstrate our willing to develop, learn and use new technologies, that we’re a contemporary company that keeps up with the time and its tendencies…
And thank you for your comment again. It’s so curios and pleasant to discuss different topics with people like you and your friends/colleagues on this forum. I appreciate it a lot.
The other problem…with new construction, there is such at thing as LEED compliant. It’s a whole ‘green building’ thing that architects can require for a project. One of the big contributors to LEED points is sourcing products locally (the term locally has varying radii, but within 100-500 miles of the job site is usual.)
On the other hand your product also falls under LEED for Salvaged or Reused materials. The shipping distance is a killer though…
Not all new build projects have LEED requirements though so it isn’t a deal killer. You just have to be aware of it if marketing to architects.
Wow, I like it so far, and I really like the idea with eagles
However, the color isn’t matching our company and it’s product in my opinion. It’s beautiful but I associate Siberia with a dark green color, with pine and forests, with something deep, powerful, gorgeous but modest.
Steve, thanks for your opinion.
I can’t agree with you that a discussion here is a waste of time in some ways because you’ve helped us a lot here. Really)
About your questions:
The premium lumber market isn’t small. There are at least 10 companies in our niche that are great and we analyse them a lot. For example, the most popular (we think according to our information) are Stickwood, Plank&Mill and Centennial Woods. Also, there are some companies like Timberchíc, Weekend Walls, TimberWall, Rockin Wood, but we see that they’re not so popular and successful as “the big three” above). So, the market isn’t small and there are many companies (of we talk about real wood +/- like ours) that’d love to sell their reclaimed barn wood panels)).
Strengths and weaknesses absolutely varies on the company.
The most common weaknesses are:
The wood often cracks during delivery or when a customer tries to cut it;
The wood is thin and looks cheap, overpriced;
The quality of wood is lower than we offer (it’s thiner, younger, without antiseptic top etc.)
The wood mustn’t peel off the wall at least during first 10 years (it’s said on a website). Our wood can stay on the wall forever, but our guarantee is 20 years.
And the advantages of our American competitors:
It’s a peel-and-stick and it’s easier to install the boards on the wall. So, minimum equipment.
It’s not about the wood but - the companies are local, and it’s more psychologically reliable for natives to order smth from regional brands. maybe I’m wrong because everything is changing so fast these days and absolutely okay to order something from abroad, but. I think that it’s still an issue.
And about “enticing the buyer”:
Our wood is older, it’s at least 20 years old (average age of our wood is 25-35 years);
The naturally weathered pattern on the wood is brighter, more textural, and the color is more saturated too;
We have an office and warehouse in NY, Brooklyn, and I think it allows our customers to trust us more because we’re not delivering directly from Siberia)) The wood has a long journey
We have a full production cycle: from the barn to the panels and pieces of furniture for example, that are ready to be delivered to any point of our planet.
I think these advantages are main for now. We also want to understand what a client and support system a typical American customer is get used to. Maybe some details and particular point about delivery, return, maybe online help with installation, just anything that will be necessary and helpful…
OK. I understand your reservations, and I think they’re legitimate. There are several ways to brand the personality of a product.
Even so, I think you might be missing an opportunity based partially on a slight misunderstanding of American culture and American views of Russia and Siberia.
You’re selling a niche product (barn wood). You seem to want to downplay the very thing that makes your barn wood truly unique — it’s exotic (to Americans) Siberian origin.
You seem to want to stress your wood’s other qualities: color, texture, and thickness as your product’s “main features,” as you phrased it. I think these are important qualities to mention, but making them your marketing focus places you in head-to-head competition with other North American barn wood suppliers who claim much the same thing. All barn wood distributors will claim their wood is better and special. Yours, however, is unique. As far as I know, no other aged barn wood sold in American can say it’s from Siberia. I could be wrong about that, though, because I have no marketing research.
I don’t know what the retail price of your wood might be, which would greatly influence my arguments. I am assuming, though, that shipping wood from Siberia to an American distributor will increase the cost of your wood. I’m also uncertain how tariffs and, possibly, sanctions might affect the price. I suspect, however, that your wood will be more expensive than its North American counterparts. Again, I could be wrong about that.
If I’m right about the two preceding points, your barn wood will be somewhat more expensive and can’t compete on price. It’s not going to be bargain wood sold at a discount, which means you’ll need to market it as a higher-end product. Again, I haven’t done the marketing research on this, so I’m assuming a lot based on experience and hunches.
With phrasing like that, you have a point. However, this is where I think you misunderstand American consumers. There are regional differences in the United States. Older and more urbanized areas in the United States might view your product differently than other parts of the country. For example, people living in New York City might have a different impression of barn wood than suburban California.
If you want to market your product as a high-end, chic, stylish product suitable for big cities, that’s one approach. Marketing your products to architects for larger commercial building decor might be another. Aiming at residential building contractors is still another. Again, I have no marketing research backing up where the most demand might be.
However, there are some known quantities in all this. You are selling an inherently rustic product. Americans do not regard rustic as inferior — they will pay a premium for rustic and rugged. You’re selling a niche product to a niche audience that gravitates to a rustic look and personality.
Not everyone will want your niche product. Some demographic areas and groups will see no value in old pine and spruce. There is another substantial demographic group in the country that will love it. America is a relatively new country, but it’s changed. Many American values are rooted in its not-too-distant but disappearing past. Many Americans are nostalgic for what their grandparents and great-grandparents had: farms, horses, barns, guns, and struggling to carve a country out of the wilderness.
Today, the descendants of those people live in semi-urban suburbs in million-dollar houses, yet they buy $50,000 pickup trucks that they rarely drive off the paved roads. They spend thousands of dollars on hunting and fishing equipment and look forward to their occasional visits to the country to “rough it” for a weekend in their $80,000 trailers pulled by those $50,000 pickup trucks. A significant section of America longs for the frontier that’s been tamed. These Americans are nostalgic for the dust, the mud, the dirt, the wind, the hunt, the fresh air, the outdoors, the freedom, and the wide-open spaces where the rules are few and nobody tells them what to do.
These are the people (primarily men) who will buy your authentic barn wood. These are the people with money to spend. These are also the people who will love wood from a harsh environment where life is hard, the winters are cold, and the people are tough — like they want to be.
Of course, it’s just the illusion they want to buy. These people want rustic and rugged, but they also want it civilized. They don’t really want to live in a hut in the frozen taiga, chop wood and hear the wolves howling at night, but they still fantasize about it. If you can bring a civilized but authentic piece of that fantasy into their air-conditioned world, they’ll love it.
Alaska has a $2.2 billion annual tourist industry catering to these very people. They want to see the bears (from a safe distance), they want to hear the wolves (from inside their pickup trucks), they want to camp near a wild stream (in well-tended rustic cabins with fast internet connections). For these people, bringing a piece of the Siberian wilderness into their homes would be something to brag about. “See that wood on the wall? That’s genuine Siberian barn wood.”
So with all that said, it’s all based on gut instincts and experience. If you were a client at one of the ad agencies where I’ve worked, I’d recommend doing the market research to determine whether or not what I’ve suggested is the right way to go. After all, I could easily be wrong, and your approach might be the best. There might also be other approaches, like marketing directly to commercial building contractors or architects. There’s no way to be confident without solid data to back it up.
That’s a great point because when we were entering the American market for the first time, we wanted to be everywhere: Amazon, HomeDepot, eBay, Etsy, Wallmart etc. Now we’re only on Amazon, and I think that’s a good start. We have our target audience there, we approximately realise what these people want, how they live. But other marketplaces are another platforms with their own rules, clients etc. And now everything is for us and our product.
BTW, is anything else so popular and useful in America like Amazon and people can buy there something like our wood?
Yes, it is inappropriate, @Jakub_Trybowski .
Please, remove the logo with our brand from your Behance. And before posting something that’s connected to other brands/names/etc., ask for the permission of the owner or representative about that.
You’re putting words in my mouth. I never said that. What I said was that you needed to go more in depth than asking folks on an anonymous forum what their thoughts are. There are some informed and helpful people here, but surveying a very small sample of people on a graphic design forum is not a substitute for market research.
Is this wood treated in some way to come into the US? Kiln treated or fumigated?
I’m pretty sure you can’t just ship a rough wood product from there to here without treatment…? That might affect it’s use and/or look even.
I think you’d benefit from looking at the branding strategies of companies stationed in Alaska, and to a lesser extent Montana. Both of these regions market their products and locations in a very American way, focusing on the positive qualities JustB mentioned that many Americans would associate with Siberia - namely the untamed wilderness, romanticizing the Mountain Men, Lumberjacks, and anyone else with the physical and mental strength needed to live in harsh environments. The idea that sells these sorts of products is that of being tough - that they’ve endured the rough weather and are still doing their jobs.
But like everyone else mentioned you are going to be competing with native weathered woods, which are going to be focusing on those same points, and will have the home field advantage in reduced shipping costs and local loyalties. You’ll have to do research on this, and see what advantages your product has on it’s competitors and market those as high qualities - ultimately it comes down to why Siberian wood, and not, say, Montanan or Alaskan?
You mention the color variety - that’s a good point to work from! People in construction/interior design can be very particular about the colors, so that’s one potential edge. Since I’m assuming these are mostly softwoods/conifers, you could also upsell the scent, or any unusual properties the wood may have - such as Cedar’s insect repellant properties.
But setting any actual, physical differences aside, you’re going to have to sell Siberia as much as the wood itself, and for that you might want to look at local tourism approaches. If someone is going to pay extra to put Siberian Wood into their home, they’re going to want it to feel Siberian - and the branding can really sell that. While they’re opening the package and putting it on the wall, what’s unique about Siberia that you want them to be thinking of?
Living in a rural/touristy area of Montana myself, I can definitely tell you that the market for weathered, outdoorsy products is niche, but the buyers are very willing to pay well. Aim high, and upsell the wilderness and (relative) exoticness of your region and you might carve a nice little spot out for yourself.
@Kaegro The problem with Siberia is that it’s not much different from Alaska or northern Canada. It’s cold, snowy and wild, but so are the other two regions. There’s nothing truly distinctive about it.
It would take a really clever marketing story to convince someone to choose second-hand planks from Siberia over ones from Alaska or Canada.
The fact that most of those planks probably are from the Soviet era isn’t helping the least bit.