Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013
By Matthew Spieler
Style, performance and price are still the main drivers of consumer purchases, but as more Americans express a desire for domestically produced goods it is becoming increasingly important for companies that make their products in the U.S to market that fact.
Flooring is no different, and the industry is starting to take that message to heart with more companies making Made in the USA part of their marketing initiatives.
“Does the industry as a whole do a good job promoting Made in America? asked George Kelley, president and CEO of Kronotex, maker of Formica branded laminate floors. “No. Our job is to market this more aggressively. The Formica brand is celebrating 100 years of U.S. roots; we have to get the distribution and retail community excited and proud to emphasize Made in America as a positive when working with their customers. We strongly believe consumers are looking for reasons to buy American-made products.”
Xavier Steyaert, co-CEO of IVC US, said customers have “specifically asked us to label whether our products are Made in the USA. Price may still dictate a consumer’s desire to purchase a product, but it is clear there is a strong willingness to buy products made domestically.”
Milton Goodwin, Armstrong’s vice president of wood and laminate products, said the company started to market this [concept] for its solid wood products, but because there are rules governing the marketing of a product as being Made in the USA, Armstrong is hoping to soon start promoting the concept on other products as well. “We need to confirm at least 95% of our content is from the U.S. We take the marketing of this seriously and are reviewing each product to make sure it meets the very strict guidelines required to claim Made in the USA.”
According to Neil Poland, president of Mullican, 2012 will be remembered as “the start of the Made in the USA wood flooring movement. “We have seen a significant increase in demand by consumers, builders, retailers and distributors.”
Wendy Wescoat, HomerWood’s sales and marketing manager, agrees consumers are seeking this type of product. “Our customer service department gets inquiries from consumers to verify where the product is made. HomerWood has always promoted we are proudly Made in the USA. We firmly call attention to this and added stickers on samples upon customers’ requests.”
For Shaw, the Made in the USA message is a core component of both who the company is and how it shares its story, noted Trey Thames, vice president of residential marketing and product management. “Telling our story of American pride and craftsmanship is integrated in a variety of ways, from packaging to P-O-P displays and messaging.”
The company has created a Made in the USA P-O-P kit, and Randy Merritt, president, said, “We have received very strong support. Retailers recognize the importance in communicating they are rooted in the local community and are looking for unique ways to share their American-made story with consumers.”
Mannington brought its Made in the USA commitment to life with a campaign titled, “Let’s Make Some Noise,” noted Betsy Amoroso, director of corporate communications, which included a video to show Mannington’s longstanding commitment to U.S. manufacturing. “It’s all about keeping our plants active and noisy. The video shows the stark contrast between our facilities—bustling with activity—and those that have been shuttered.”
For Mohawk, which was founded in upstate New York 135 years ago, Seth Arnold, residential brand director, said ‘Made in America’ is who we are.”
In fact, with the Made in the USA movement picking up steam, Paji Thorn-Brooks, senior director of marketing of Mohawk’s Unilin division, said the company’s Columbia brand went through a “comprehensive re-branding a few years ago to showcase its products are not only made here but come from North American wood species.”
Al Collison, founder and president of MP Global Products, said, “We publicize the fact our fiber underlayments are manufactured totally in the U.S whenever the context is appropriate. We want industry professionals and consumers alike to take note.”