Architects and designers have long specified wood to bring warmth and beauty to homes and commercial spaces, but unfortunately, many tree species are endangered or threatened. Wilsonart, a leading manufacturer of engineered surfaces including laminate, recognized that most designers and architects don’t know enough about endangered tree species to make responsible sourcing decisions.
Padilla’s research division, SMS Research Advisors, conducted a nationwide survey of architects and designers (A&D) to gauge industry understanding of the issues surrounding endangered and threatened woods. The findings showed a serious awareness gap, as well as resistance to deviating from their clients’ preferences – endangered wood or not.
To bridge the gap in understanding, Padilla planned a “lunch and learn” continuing education class dubbed the “National Day of Learning.” This event would demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability and its willingness to invest in the A&D community’s professional education requirements.
Wilsonart engaged a well-known designer and materials expert, to lend interest and credibility to a presentation, “Global Forestry 101,” which streamed live from the Center for Architecture in New York – a high-profile hub for the design community. The outside expert taught the architects and designers to identify endangered or threatened woods and encouraged responsible sourcing – including specifying sustainable alternatives like Wilsonart Laminate. To attract attendees to the event, Padilla employed a multichannel marketing program, including a landing page with an infographic, white paper, email invitations, social media promotion, a press release and targeted media outreach.
The program exceeded the participation goal by 126 percent and the media placements goal by 110 percent. The success of the National Day of Learning further bolstered Wilsonart’s leadership in sustainable and alternative surfacing solutions – a position it can own in the marketplace.