UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of communications in emerging markets for wood products : the case of structural wood products in nonresidential construction Robichaud, François


This thesis investigates the relationship between marketing communications and wood use. This investigation was conducted among architects within the context of the North American nonresidential construction market, where the structural use of wood is low compared to steel and concrete. Among architects, wood was deemed to be the most environmentally friendly material compared to steel and concrete. However, wood products are not perceived to perform as well as concrete in the areas of durability, fire resistance, contribution to building value, and structural performance. Using a common brand personality scale as an exploratory technique, architects perceived wood to be a ‘sincere’, but ‘unexciting’, structural material. Through an experimental design, it was shown that the perceived identity of wood among architects was not altered by any of the communications stimuli that were used. These stimuli, which were representative of common industry practices, were brochures categorized as Advertising, Case Study, and Technical Data. The case study was more influential than the technical brochure, with the advertisement ranking in between. Architects were more likely to keep the technical data for future reference than the other brochures. Important informational needs identified related to design possibilities, regulations and standards, environmental footprints, and sustainable design. These needs suggest that wood products will increasingly be bundled with information, which will require wood product firms to produce knowledge in addition to products. To alleviate the challenge of communicating with architects, it was proposed that wood products firms may implement a branding strategy. As a result, a framework for unveiling the brand identity of wood products organisations was developed. With such a branding strategy in place, the role of communications for wood products firms evolves from the goal of persuasion towards a longer term, communicative intent.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International