Branding in the North American wood fiber-plastic composite industry

Jonathan J. Stank, Paul M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The North American wood fiber-plastic composite (WPC) industry has experienced significant growth since its inception in the early 1990s. Consumer demand for durable, low-maintenance, chemical-free outdoor building materials led to 23 WPC producers with 95 total brands of decking, railing, and fencing and a multitude of other WPC products in 2008. These products are differentiated on a myriad of product and service attributes and are defined by branded offerings in the North American marketplace. This study investigates the number of brands, brand name development, and brand strategy benefits in the North American WPC industry in 2008. Data were collected via secondary sources and semistructured interviews with WPC brand managers (response rate = 14 of 23 [61%], representing an estimated 88% of WPC industry sales). Findings indicate that WPC manufacturers utilize a wide array of internal and external resources when developing brand names and perceive branding as an important marketing tool. Product identification and differentiation were the highest rated benefits of a firm's brand strategy, and the proliferation of brand names is largely a result of the proliferation of manufacturers and their desire to differentiate product offerings. This research will help business-to-business marketers of wood-based building materials better understand the strategic considerations of branding differentiated products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-546
Number of pages6
JournalForest Products Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • General Materials Science
  • Plant Science


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