Article appearing in March-April 2016 issue of Softwood Forest Product Buyer’s publication.
The SLB Continues to Move the Needle toward Increased Demand for Softwood Lumber
Mike Case, President & CE, The Westervelt Company
Chair, Softwood Lumber Board
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) leads a well-coordinated, effective charge to grow markets for softwood lumber, which benefits all segments of our industry. Since 2012, the SLB’s targeted program investments have identified gr
owth opportunities for softwood lumber and put targeted programs and research in place to capture them: creating over 1.5 billion board feet of new demand for softwood lumber.
SLB investments focus on raising awareness, transforming standards, leveraging markets, driving innovation, and encouraging projects to use wood instead of competing materials. Together, our investments sync to form the SLB’s signature marketing funnel. The marketing funnel has proven effective in helping
the SLB identify and reach targeted audiences and market segments with key messages that ultimately persuade more people to choose wood for their mid-rise residential and non-residential construction projects and appearance applications. Each of our program areas – The American Wood Council, rethink Wood; WoodWorks; Tall Wood Research; Wood, Naturally; and the Tall Wood Building Competition — hinges on empirical research that shows the clear economic, environmental, and performance benefits of softwood lumber, making an emphatic case for wood. Meanwhile, our ongoing evaluation processes help us to identify areas for improvement and untapped opportunities, such that we leave no opportunity unseized now or in the future.
The check-off’s effectiveness in increasing softwood lumber’s market share has prompted competing industries to take notice and devise their own new strategies and marketing efforts to counter our impact. For example, the National Ready Mix Concrete Association recently launched a $20 million, five-year effort to win back eroding mid-rise market share from the wood industry. Meanwhile, the Metal Construction Association has invested heavily in its brand identity and marketing to stem their loss of market share.
Thanks to our efforts and your technical and financial investments in the SLB over the past five years, the SLB has the tested, high-quality tools, technical capacity, and momentum needed to continue to extend our marketing reach, deepen our impact, and reclaim market share in the next five years.
We hope you agree that the SLB has delivered a substantial return on your investment in the check-off. A vote to reauthorize the Softwood Lumber Check-Off program for five more years is to be held later this year. As it has done since the SLB’s founding, the board is committed to providing you with timely and accurate information, so you are empowered to make a well-informed decision when it comes time to renew the SLB.
The SLB has changed what is believed to be possible building with wood. The success we’ve seen has been unprecedented. We welcome feedback and encourage input into SLB-supported activities in order to increase our reach and impact. For more information, visit www.softwoodlumberboard.org.