Using Content Marketing To Build Brand Authority

Building Brands Ep 30 - Jessica Hickman Fresch - Using Content Marketing To Build Brand Authority

Jessica Hickman Fresch, Marketing & Sales Director at Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring talks about her approach to building brand authority through multiple content outlets as a way to reach, educate, and motivate the company’s target audiences.

Episode Links
Find Jessica on LinkedIn
Visit Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring Online
Visit Hickman Woods Online

Episode Transcript
Tim
Welcome Building Brands listeners. For Episode 30, I’m joined by Jessica Hickman Fresch, Marketing and Sales Director at Allegheny Mountain Flooring. Allegheny Mountain Flooring is trusted by top installers across the country for museums government buildings and as the flooring of choice for builders and installers personal homes. In this episode, Jessica talks about her approach to building brand authority through multiple content outlets as a way to reach educate and motivate the company’s target audiences. Enjoy the episode.

Tim
If you’re an owner or marketer in the building materials, manufacturing, distribution, or contracting spaces, looking to set up your brand for success now and in the future, this is the podcast for you. On this show, we talk about brand and market strategies used in the real world that grow companies and truly connect with consumer audiences. So sit back listening and let’s get to it.

Tim
Okay, welcome Jessica Hickman, fresh marketing and sales director at Allegheny mountain flooring. Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Jessica
Yeah, excited to be here. Thanks, Tim.

Tim
Yeah, I always like to start with easy questions. So why don’t you tell people a little bit about you and your professional background and how you got involved in the building materials and building products industries at Hickman woods and Allegheny mountain floor?

Jessica
Sure, yeah. So I am involved in a family business that then a men so I was born into it never, never really expected to be part of the family business growing up. I mean, it was a sawmill. My my great grandfather has started the sawmill. And then my grandfather and my dad ran it. And it was it was a guy’s world for sure. You know, and that was nothing that I really had much thought and so I went to school, I studied international business and Spanish at a double level major and that and I thought I was going to be, you know, working some corporate international jobs somewhere, you know, and never never had any intentions of getting into the family business. So graduated college in 2009. You know, not a great time for any buddy housing market wasn’t good. So it was you know, there was not really anything going on and lived in Atlanta for a while work from laws and and jobs, some traveling and then in about 2012 my dad asked me to come back and help update the website and just going to get some marketing out there. You know, so the flooring company at that point was relatively new Allegheny mountain hardwood flooring started in 2000. So in 2000, half the housing boom, easy to sell flooring, my dad was a you know, any idiot could have, he could have made flooring and made money, or nearly 2000s. But we we survived the down housing market. So he decided then, you know, around 2012 when things were starting to pick back up, he decided, Okay, let’s go ahead and invest some money let’s, you know, get some more equipment, let’s grow the flooring side of things. And so that’s where I came on. And I told him, okay, I’ll give you you know, I’ll give you three years I’ll help with the website kind of help with sales kind of get our name out there a little bit more. But yeah, you know, it’s been a while now. So I’ve been I’ve been in an IV I kind of fell in love with it. The industry and with working with the people in the flooring, you know, the hardwood flooring industry in the sawmill side of things too, that I really enjoy, enjoy meeting with architects and designers. So that’s kind of how I got into it.

Tim
Yeah. How about your role at Allegheny mountain flooring? What are you charged with doing as marketing and sales director?

Jessica
Yeah, yeah. When when I first started basically my dad told me you know, find rich people and sell them wood flooring, and that was my, that was my assignment. Right? I was like, Okay, what do I do? So my title, you know, marketing and sales director so at the time, my dad was the only other salesperson and so I kind of started doing the sales working on the website working on the marketing, you know, totally updating the website. I do, you know, all the trade shows. Now I do all the trade shows, I meet with architects and designers do lots of lunch and learns. We have two other sales guys on the team right now as well. And so I kind of help update price sheets and analysis and, and all that fun stuff that goes along with with sales. So that’s kind of my my position now.

Tim
And how long was Hickman was around before Allegheny mountain flooring came about?

Jessica
Yeah, so my, my great grandfather, Harry Hickman, he started the sawmill. Hickman lumber in 1930. In the 30s 38, I think was a first like official year was the business. And then my grandfather, you know, really grew the sawmill. When my dad started in the 80s, full time, he kind of got the dry kilns up and running. And so, you know, the cool thing with our story is that we’ve got such a vertically integrated process that we actually manage the forest we have our own was that we cut we manage other companies, other landowners properties, and then we cut the lumber ourselves, we dry the lumber and that’s what we use to make our flooring. So we have a really cool story talking about it. I’m a fourth generation then with a family business. It’s not that uncommon in the hardwood industry, there’s a lot of sawmills that are family businesses, but I think you know, kind of my marketing has taken it and putting They’re more aware, a lot of people haven’t done in the industry and getting that message across. We’re also FSC certified, which FSC is Forest Stewardship certification. And that basically means it was a third party party audit that we get once a year that basically we’re growing more trees, and we’re cutting. So there’s a whole, there’s a lot of points involved with that. But it gives the consumer an understanding that, you know, we’re doing this in a sustainable manner, we’re cutting down trees, we’re not just clear cutting and, you know, building strip malls on our property.

Tim
There is a little bit of a debate in North American building materials and what how important sustainability is versus like European markets. But I think it is something that’s very much still ramping up in people’s preferences to work with companies that aren’t just stripping forests. And, you know, they’re doing proper management techniques and all that stuff.

Jessica
Yeah and you know, and this isn’t the main thing you want to talk about with this, but that’s really important, you know, with the whole thought of keeping the forest as forest having it properly managed, having there a market for that. I mean, as as land owners, it’s expensive to own a forest, you know, and so having been able to get a return on that, and so for people to own forests, and keep them as forests, being able to have a market that people want local American hardwoods, and keeping sawmills here is really important. You know, it’s just, it’s not easy. So it’s just kind of keeping that market alive is really, really important for a lot of different aspects.

Tim
Yeah, let’s talk about your transition into coming into Allegheny mountain flooring, which was you mentioned that the website was one of your big first projects. And I see this a lot with multi generational companies where especially the ones that are suppliers versus manufacturers or product delivers, where the the website and the digital work had lagged a little bit behind the sales strategy in the sales network. So it seems like you came in to kind of like bump the strategy on that since you know, Hickman, as a wood supplier, it was a little bit more b2b, direct sales, like typical, like, hey, you’ve got you need stuff, we’ve got stuff, we’ll get it to you. And we’ll keep our relationship, the the flooring company seemed a lot more it needs to be more outgoing need to go out and find the market bring the market to itself. So that seems like where a lot of times the digital presence starts to have a bigger need to make a bigger impact.

Jessica
Yeah, definitely. And that’s, you know, building the website, you know, a lot of it, I was learning too. So it was a lot of me getting started with it. Like I understood the woods stuff a little bit in the sawmill a little bit, but I didn’t understand it completely. So that first summer I started, I would spent, you know, couple days a week out in the woods with a forester as I was walking around, like we talked about which trees were going to harvest and why and sometimes some loggers and then I spent the past at the sawmill like understanding how we cut the logs and how the numbers dried, and the importance of all that. And so as I was learning that I was just kind of treating it like a school paper, you know, I wrote a blog, I was like, Hey, this is what I learned. And so I was just kind of documenting all this stuff for a blog for a website. And, you know, I remember after the probably three months or so, my, my grandfather who’s still very involved with the company, and he kind of came to me and he’s like, so all this internet stuff you’re doing, you know, Have you made any sales from it yet. And I kinda was like, Oh, you know, I don’t think I’ve had anybody call and say, Hey, I saw this blog on how you, you know, cut down your trees, I really want to buy flooring from the you know, so that definitely going to happen in those first three months. But I think as the years have gone, and having this that history in the archives of all those blogs and stuff, you know, we are found a lot more on the web. Now with people searching us, and I think, you know, kind of having that just that information to educate people on it, people are finding it, they trust us, because we can see that we’ve been around for a long time. And there’s a difference in how we’re doing things. And you know, some people like to geek out, I mean, an investment, like wood flooring is a big investment for your house. So it’s, it’s something that people aren’t going to make an impulse buy with. So you know, giving them that education, I think can really make people feel comfortable, because it amazes me how many people call us from, you know, that have never been to Pennsylvania never been to our showroom, they call us and you know, we send a couple of samples out to them, and then they send us a purchase order for 3000 square feet of flooring, you know, and it’s it’s incredible that we’ve created that much trust with people with, you know, our presence online, and you know, our sales, attitude and customer service with them. But I love the word that you said for us.

Tim
I think that’s a big fat facet of what you’re trying to do with the company and with its digital content, ecosystem, everything like that. You mentioned that you worked with architects and designers, you’re also trying to reach the homeowners to that. Are you trying to build two channels to bring people in?

Jessica
Yeah, we kind of have our system set up. Mostly our sales are within the US. I mean, we try to do about a third of our sales go to distributors, and we have about a third that’s like the contractors and builders and then about a third that’s probably split between like homeowners and then that designer ARPANET, you know, kind of do that. And so we have it kind of separated like that which I think is works pretty well it’s kind of safe depending on what happens in the market, you know, I mean, if things slow down distributors kind of, you know, they don’t want to talk anything but having that market with the homeowner because that’s ultimately the end user are the one making the decision. So that’s kind of my marketing is towards them. So even it’s a tool for distributors to sell our stuff because they’re selling to the homeowner. So you know, all of my website, I try to make it very, like, Hey, I know nothing about wood flooring, but I know I need I like the look of it. And I needed my house, what are the steps and I spent a lot of time on other websites and what, you know, what else is out there? What information they’re presenting what questions I would have, you know, whenever I’m doing it, and there’s, there’s a lot of not information out there, I feel like, you know, it’s like, if I’m working on something else in my own house, and I have just the research that I put into it, you know, I want to know about where it comes from, like, how it’s gonna hold up, how are the reviews, you know, how are other people thought of this product? And so that’s, you know, my made that website. And so it’s on the, it’s on the second phase. Now, and I’m actually working on a third kind of website Update, I’m in the process of now. Like, that’s kind of my thought process, like, how would somebody that knows nothing about this, go into it and love this very simple. So so the marketing ultimately is all towards that homeowner. But it’s, I tried to make it a tool for all those other steps with the builders, or architects or designers to use as a tool for them.

Tim
I love the point about the distributors as well, because you can lose a lot of brand differentiation and product differentiation through another selling level if you don’t provide the right materials for them to use as resources in their selling process and their customer interactions.

Jessica
Yeah, that’s, that’s something I mean, that’s something that we really struggle with. And because we’re on the, you know, we’re kind of on the higher end, we specialize in Griffin quarters on cutting, so it’s more of a specialty cut, we’ve got the green the FSC certification. So for most distributors, they’re like, you’re too expensive, right, you know, or, you know, or it’s a really a lot of holding hands and a lot of understanding because homeowners they get it you know, I mean, there’s a reason some people drive a Mercedes and some people drive you know, you don’t use use cars the same way.

Tim
You didn’t want to throw a brand under the bus.

Jessica
Yeah, I didn’t want to do that. But um, you know, same with them with anything bourbon, you know, there’s top shelf bourbon, there’s lower self bourbon, it’s still bourbon, ultimately, the you know, it does the same job if you drink enough of it. Same with the wood floor. But there’s a reason that people will spend more money on that top shelf product, and that’s what we are. But if you don’t understand it, if you don’t know the difference, what, you know, Northern Appalachian plateau is different in southern Appalachian biochar, what the difference between rich and quartersawn is in plain sight, if you don’t understand that difference, someone said, here’s a way to poor for a buck 50 a square foot, here’s a way to pour for $15 a square foot, it’s still a white oak floor, but there’s a huge, huge difference. And so under getting people to understand what that difference is, is what’s so important to me to be able to sell our flooring to people to realize like why is it more expensive, and not everything that we have is $15 a square foot? I mean, that would be like the ion crazy premium premium stuff, you know, seven to 12 foot long, clear, eight inch wide lifting quartersawn

Tim
It sounds like there’s a lot of educational content that you’re putting together. What other types of buckets of content Have you been putting together trying to put out there’s resources for people?

Jessica
Yeah, so I mean, the website, definitely the the big kind of the catch all bucket, but you know, kind of just like keeping fresh on people’s mind, you know, so we do a lot of social media, I do Facebook and Instagram, and I kind of treat each one of those a little bit differently as well. I mean, Instagrams, definitely all photo, just like, you know…

Tim
a lot of inspiration

Jessica
… just oh, that was pretty I like the look about where Facebook, I use more as a tool to kind of more the education and be like, Hey, this is here’s an article to read about this, or here’s, this is why it’s important to use real wood products in your house instead of plastic floor. Is this what it’s doing to the environment type of thing. So that’s, that’s my Facebook toolbox. You know, I do like the lunch and learns, you know, is that like, with architects, I do, you know, used to be in person now and doing a lot of zoom lunch and learns.

Tim
Have you seen interest in that grow? Since it’s gone digital? Did you? I mean, is there any difference between like, 2019 webinar demand in 2020?

Jessica
Yeah, well, and so I teamed up, I’m fortunate to have with Bona which is a finishing company, and they and they have a full time person, that’s all he does is lunch and learns. And he’s, he’s awesome. The guy that does that, and he’s kind of brought us on board because we we go well together, you know, like he’s trying to sell their finishing products they need like they want to quality wood product, you know, and some, I kind of do the education on that and he’s been through the roof busy, you know, because you know, and it’s a lot less expensive as a presenter for traveling all over. And even as an attendee, it’s a lot easier to log on and listen while you At home, you know making lunch or doing something you can listen, they can still get their credit, he’s found that he still has the lunch and learns, we would always buy lunch or buy drinks in the evening or whatever for people. So he’s still doing like, if people log on, he’ll still send a, like a $15 gift card to Panera Bread or something. So he’s found the, like, the rate of people actually showing up is really high because of that. And yeah, I’ve done some, you know, I could be busier if I had more time, something like that, probably, if I was pursuing it, I could easily be doing one one a week with different architects and contractors.

Tim
I like that point that you I know, it’s a side note. But that, you know, with your webinars, you’re there’s two aspects that I think they’re very interesting to you, we’re partnering with someone that had a lined product. So it’s, you’re able to build a bigger audience, because you have two different ways to bring people into it, which is great. But the follow up i think is great, too, and that you’re providing sure like something like a Panera gift card is completely outside of the industry product realm. Right. But you’re providing some little value back to someone as a way to say thanks for your time. Yeah, here’s something in return. I take the same approach when we talk about like, you mentioned samples earlier. Yeah, I will give you my information. If you give me some value back for me giving you my information samples, yes, cost money to mail out and of course, the product cost of goods to do that. But it’s a nice way to get people sticky to you because you’re providing them value back. And that could turn into long term value. And it’s a very small investment to make in the short term for a long term client relationship.

Jessica
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I agree with that.

Tim
And it sounded like just to recap a little bit, you had a couple of different you were using your channels differently, which is great, because now you’re not repeating content through everything. And it sounded like some of it was inspiration. Some of it was education. And some of it was just talking about, like, the the actual direct education, like the webinars interactive, I would say. And then you also mentioned the blog, where you were posting a lot of this stuff to you. And you were talking about how you’re early on how like your grandfather was pressing you about sales and things like that I’ve seen, you’ve seen traffic and interest start to come to the company because of some of the things you’ve written and put out there. So you must be seeing some, if not direct sales benefit, some sort of exposure benefit from posting that type of content online?

Jessica
Yeah, yeah, definitely, you know, it will catch up in searches. And the other thing that I’ve even more recently started with the blogs that I think is really beneficial is, you know, you find yourself in sales, having the same conversation over and over again, the same thing, right. And so, you know, and this has helped with the sales, my sales team, where it’s not just me, we’ve got the whole, you know, a few other people doing it, it’s like, Hey, here’s some points. But here, here’s an outline, here’s a quick, easy way to help you understand it, I can afford you this link, you know, and that saves a lot of phone conversations. And, and at least let them read and then they have more questions on it later, then you can you know, dig deeper and stuff with it. So it’s something that I can use as a tool to send if someone has questions. But also, a lot of times I find people that are calling by the time they actually make the phone call. They’re like, Oh, okay, this, I never understood this before. But now I understand. So by the time they’re making the phone call, because I’ve had enough information out there that they’re like, this is not a product I’m going to buy from some big box store, it’s different. They understand somewhere that it’s different. And they’re already expecting that it’s going to cost you more, you know, so it’s not like, Oh, wait, I can get it from this box store for, you know, 299 Why are you Why is your price at $6 a square foot, you know, and it’s like, they kind of already know that before they call us. So I think it’s ultimately lead to time saving in the sales process. I mean, it’s, it’s a lot of time upfront. And you know, and it’s still something now that I’m like, I don’t have time to do this, I need to be doing more of this than I need to do it. And I’m not doing enough. But I think putting that legwork in initially has helped us get to the point where it’s like, hey, the phone keeps ringing a lot. And the phone calls can be a little bit shorter, because I have some of this information. Are there more qualified leads?

Tim
Well, if you’re trying to overcome a price objection than having the position of being a higher quality helps move past a price. objection to so that’s great. And when you’re trying to bring people through into a sales process, it’s much better to say, Hey, you know, we had a early conversation about this one topic, we’ve got this new article up, I just wanted to send it to you in case you want to check it out rather than Hey, remember when we talked two months ago? Do you like to talk about buying things? Again? It’s a much different sales touch point. And I think sometimes we forget the value of content generation is that it aids more than just the putting out something that could be found through search or something that is supposed to immediately sell content isn’t supposed to be a sales piece. It’s supposed to be something that helps the sales process so it’s a support role. It’s a player.

Jessica
Yeah, yeah. 100% agree with that.

Tim
How else have you gone outside of your digital aspect. I know this because We talked early on, but it seems like you’ve even extended into media placements or getting involved with other types of partnerships where your product can be represented as, you know, something that’s part of the the bigger community.

Jessica
Yeah, and that’s something that you know, me kind of getting into it with just not a whole lot of direction either. It was just like, hey, figure it out, get out in front of people. And so when I would go to do a lot of trade shows, and with the industry trade shows, and I started to, you know, know people, like with the the flooring is NW fa, so, you know, I started talking to people within the in the NW fa, and they have a magazine, and I’m like, hey, anything you need, if you if I can ever help, you know, like, I have this, you know, wealth of information based on my family’s history and the production side of things and the forestry side of things, if I can ever help. And so that was something early on, they, they wanted an article about the the difference in the cuts, the difference between written quartersawn and lifesong, and planes on and what it was, so I was able to write an article for that. And, you know, we did some diagrams and stuff, you know, and so it’s crazy now that like what I wrote, that can do 1013, whenever I search, Google search, you know, so many other companies that using my diagram that I made, and stuff on their website, and you know, whatever, it’s good, you know, more information, you know, if more people understand what rifting quartersawn is, with a lot better than if, you know, if you just keep all that information to ourselves, you know, and want people to understand what it is and why it’s better and different because we make a good product, and it’s easier to sell and more people are looking for

Tim
well, and there’s something to being involved with a third party that adds extra validity to what you’re saying. Right? That’s information that you likely have on your website, too. But that’s a self contained content delivery system. Now you have now you have a publication saying yes, we believe this is good content to also put out too. And you’re the face of the one presenting that. And that adds to your, you know, some people call it thought leadership or whatever industry ability. Yeah,

Jessica
yeah, yeah. And so so that was that was a big one on the first kind of publications that I got. And then, you know, we’ve been fortunate working with contractors and people that find us that basically, I mean, we’ve gotten a couple TV shows now. So this old house, one of the contractors up in the Boston area, has done some projects with this little house before and they were working on one with our flooring, and they were like, Hey, this is cool flooring, and they started the story. And they’re like, we need to come down there, you know, so they sent Kevin who’s the host and the production team, they came, we spent, you know, a whole day out shooting, you know, shooting in the woods. And that whole story was was pretty cool. And I got a lot of publicity. It’s It’s cool. Even now, like, you know, I can go find that video on YouTube. And there’s like, 50 comments. And last forever, and it’s crazy. And it’s and it’s funny, you know, like, not really celebrity status. But to that point where like, oh, people are commenting on like, making comments about me like that.

Tim
He will not even know me, you know, and stuff. And it was just like, it was just kind of weird. But I was like, wow, this is cool. It’s not even celebrity status would, you could say like, there is a very vain portion of human psyche, right? And to say, there’s a big difference between saying, Oh, yeah, we found these floors on a website versus, oh, I saw these floors on this old house. And I had to go look up what they were because I because that’s a much more conversation when you’re talking with your neighbors about your suite, new floors. Yeah, it’s a different type of credibility. So of course, it costs more money, and it’s higher quality, because it was associated with this program that I was,

Jessica
yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yep. I agree with that. And so that and then HDTV is a Pittsburgh design team restored by the Fords. They were another one that that came and did. So they’ve done that going on a couple projects that went

Tim
off to Pennsylvania. region, right.

Jessica
Exactly. Yeah. Look, one so. So that was kind of cool getting on getting on TV. And oh, actually, then this this year, and this one kind of just fell into place with the local PBS, the W QED in Pittsburgh, ended up doing a story and I was working with a film crew independently to do a virtual tour, because typically we do or have a sawmill and the foreign plant. And we’ve done, oh, man, it’s been like, what, eight or nine years or so that we’ve been doing it. And we do it with a Pittsburgh green building Alliance. So we came up with them. So they helped with that marketing, kind of kind of put it out to their community of the green builders in Pittsburgh. And then we’ll do a tour that we host and they would come up and we go out into the sawmill in the woods with the forester and the flooring plant. We do it’s a whole day thing. And then we do dinner and kind of more q&a questions and stuff at the end of the day. So this year, obviously, it was like, you know, we don’t we’re not going to do that last summer 2020. We’re not going to have a, you know, 30 people come up. So I wanted to continue doing it. So we got a film crew, we came up and we basically did the tour on film, which was kind of something that we’re like, oh, this would be neat to have. This would be good for the website, but it was just taking the time to do it. So right Cuz we kind of do the platform person, it kind of forced us to do it now it’s going to be a tool for our next update on the website, we’re gonna have a lot more video content because I’ve got all this professional video and stuff with it. Well, one of the camera guys was also works with w QED and the local Pittsburgh PBS channel. And he was like, Hey, this is a really cool story, do you think like you’d want to do like, we can make like a mini story on this and put it on, put it on their TV show, or you know it right. I’m not sure I’ve ever aired on TV or just on the web website. But that was another, you know, it’s like a little eight minute story. You know, and it’s more family base that talks about my great grandfather was an artist that kind of talks about more of that feel good, warm story, and less about the technical kind of stuff. But I mean, it was another, it’s another thing that now I can put on our website and other people like, find us from somewhere connecting my story. Oh, this is neat.

Tim
And when it comes to brand, the creation story and the path to get to where you are now is still very important. That’s that’s the warm and fuzzy side of why someone would want to connect with a company. Yeah, the easy comparison to this is like the Steve Jobs and the Bill Gates of the tech world, right, or, or Ilan must now have like, you know, whatever industry you want to. It’s like, I love this person that they told them right approach, I believe in what they did, I believed in what their vision is moving forward. I love it. So that’s a big part of a brand too. So that’s really good content as well.

Jessica
Yeah, yeah, I agree. And so I, you know, and I think a lot of our generation, I mean, it’s and building products, especially like stuff’s expensive. And if you’re going to do it, you’re going to, you know, I want to make sure what I’m buying. And I hope it’s a trend, I hope I’m not in the total little bubble, where I’m like, I really care about what I put my house and how the health affects the health and stuff. And I hope it’s not a bubble, because, you know, the increase of these plastic floors scare the hell out of me. You know, and it’s just such a throwaway market and like, cheap, and you know, and that’s a big part of what our society is like, hey, how can we do things quicker, faster and cheaper. So that’s where I still, you know, my, my goal is to provide that education is like, hey, a wood floor is gonna last 100 plus years is storing carbon in your home, it’s, it’s a carbon negative product, it is good for the environment. And if you get if you care at all about the environment, then you should probably care about something as big as what you put in your house and like using wood is really good for the environment. So but that’s my job is anybody in the wood industry is to get that story and that education, the people who make the let them make that decision themselves. And if we don’t do a good enough job at it, then we’re just going to be putting plastic floors in our house that last three years and then throw in a landfill because it’s cheap. And we’re the throwaway society, you know, so, yeah, so anyway, so we’ll see what happens, you know, it’s a never ending, it’s a never ending project to keep that get that message across, you know, it’s not like ever, you’re never going to be done.

Tim
Yeah, the interesting thing, just to kind of like wrap up what you were just talking about with everything that you had in terms of even these media connections with local PBS, the HGTV that this old house, you were also sort of aligned with organizations that were revolving around those programs to when there’s a certain type of builder or a connection that you had, or legitimately like, the forestry organization or something like that. So it wasn’t even like a gratuitous product placement, it was legitimately like we’re involved with this for this type of reason. And that’s a very good way to do a soft sell PR type of arm of content marketing. So it’s, I think that’s a really good complement to the other things that you’re doing that are more direct education and direct placement type stuff through social media, which is really great to it’s a nice way to have a full spectrum of content going out there and hitting people in all sorts of different ways.

Jessica
Yeah, cool.

Tim
And you also sort of segwayed into what I think my what might be the next question, I don’t want to lead you into it. But how might you see the industry for building products changing over the next five or 10 years? You even just started alluding to some things about how the pandemic might be shaping that or different new technologies, interfering or infiltrating markets? What do you think’s going to happen in your forward?

Jessica
I mean, you know, I could see it going, you know, I mean it right now, it’s crazy with the, the market of wood is insane right now. And the demand is high, you know, and people people are doing construction, you know, so it’s exciting, but it’s like, production kind of slowed down a little bit last year. It’s maybe part of it, but the demand is, I mean, like the standing timber price of oil has doubled in the last three months. You know, it’s no, it’s, it’s kind of scary as somebody that I would like to build a home in the next 10 years. Like, oh, what, what are things going to cost? You know, is this even gonna be realistic? So I hope things bounce I think with a pandemic, possibly in different there’s new studies with like the biophilic design and the impulse wondering. Yeah, I think I think it’s really interesting. I think the the idea of A healthy home. Yeah, there’s a lot to that. And we are spending a ton of time indoors. And we have for a while now, and that’s not going away, you know, I mean, we all we work inside, we’re on our computers, so the be healthier, and they’re finding different studies and hopefully we can keep researching and doing more of these studies where it’s like having a wood products and natural products, having plants having, you know, who knows Himalayan salt rocks it’s the the feel good feelings that you get from going a walk in the woods, you know, there’s, there’s, they’re able to get science behind that and say, like, hey, there’s a reason you feel good. When you spend some time in the woods and you go for a walk, right, there’s actually energy that they can actually measure and track in. And so they’re actually seeing that the blue products and having these natural products in your home, can help give off that same feel good effect and help with relaxation, help with creativity. So just help, you know, a better healthy environment for your health. I mean, the, you know, I mean, it’s long known that, like, hardwood flooring is better for the air quality than carpet because it doesn’t harbor the indoor allergens, right, but wood flooring compared to a plastic LVT type of floor, having these natural wood products and not a manufactured plastic oil product in your home. You know, so it’s, you know, and who knows, I mean, I’d like to think like, Oh, just a little bit, and really makes a big difference. You know, who knows how much difference it actually does, but anything helps, right? So I hope it goes the direction that people are wanting to start building products and houses again, because it is expensive. So let’s, let’s make something that lasts for 100 plus years, right? Let’s not, it’s too expensive. Like, you know, I’ve had this attitude, like I am too poor to buy cheap things, you know, I would rather buy, I’d rather buy something that’s good, like, pots and pans that are gonna last me for 20 to 30 years and buy pots and pans I have to throw away every five years because that gets a lot that gets really expensive. So hopefully in the building world people, you know, kind of get that attitude like, Hey, I’m too poor to buy cheap things. Like let’s buy something good. Looks nice. And that last. So that’s that’s what my hope is, but who knows, who knows what’ll happen?

Tim
And if there’s anything anyone should be doing for their brand right now? What do you think that is?

Jessica
I think just putting the education out there letting people you know, I mean, I mean, I think I’m fortunate that I was born into an industry that has like a real I mean, it’s good for the environment. It’s a good I mean, it’s like a very easy for me to sell this right? Because it’s like, I mean, I remember growing up thinking like, Oh, you know, watching Captain Planet, loggers bad guy cutting trees down, but, you know, like, I was like, Daddy, a bad guy, you’re cutting down trees? And he’s like, no, he was,

Tim
I mean, there’s a vast majority of the country that still doesn’t understand the cyclical nature of harvesting

Jessica
There is. Yes. And you know, and I see that a lot on you know, things I follow online, where it’s, oh, like, Don’t cut down trees, let’s use hemp, you know, and it’s like, well, hey, if you have a, you know, properly managed forest or working for us, then you can have a diverse ecosystem. And we have wood products, and you know, it’s not, are not bamboo and grass or something, you know, so yeah, so there’s a lot of education that needs to go into that. And for just in general branding, it’s just, you know, keep your message out there. Just stay, you know, like, you know, you what you do you do the best that you can, and what you’re saying that you’re going to do, make sure you do that, like as far as even just like hey out, you know, we can out call you back tomorrow, like don’t forget to call back tomorrow, you know, I mean, just simple things like that, I think are us putting information on line staying, staying present, staying active with, with your customers trying to create conversation online, but in person as well. Yeah, who knows, hopefully, things get back to in person still. Yeah, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope, you know, like change still, but I think it’s gonna get back. So keeping that relationship with people visiting customers and stuff like that. I mean, that’s always important.

Tim
But yeah, 2021 will be a big year for making sure we maintain the relationships that we’ve held on to through 2020 that might have dipped and are looking to come back into the fold for active projects or, or whatever. So, you know, being active and creating those touch points in interactions, like you’re talking about is definitely something that will be important this year. Mm hmm.

Jessica
I agree.

Tim
Before we wrap up, where can people find more about you and more about Hickman and Allegheny mountain flooring?

Jessica
Yeah, so our social media tag is Hickman Woods HSC KMNWODS and pickman was calm or Allegheny mountain hardwood flooring, calm. So our websites so those are going to be all converging together in one but yeah, that’s the other thing keep update, keep the website updated. I mean, like things change and nothing’s like old so if you’re not updating that, you know, I think that’s that’s important as well.

Tim
Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks for having the conversation. This was really cool and I appreciate your angles on all the content. generation and content marketing topics.

Jessica
No problem. Thanks for having me.

Tim
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