Habits die-hard. But we’ve formed new ones now. In the 1980’s we used to fight hard for PVC-U and robustly promote its benefits. Now we seem to take it for granted that people know that PVC-U is low maintenance, long-lasting and sustainable. They don’t.
When PVC-U started out salespeople had to raise awareness and make the case for PVC-U and its benefits. The message, repeated and reinforced, stuck and most windows today are made from PVC-U. Once the butt of the PVC-U industry’s jokes, timber is fighting back, investing £18 million over the last six years to get its message across. Now many in the media, some specifiers and many homeowners see timber as intrinsically good, and PVC-U as suspect. A combination of spin and misinformation has fuelled their prejudices. Homeowners believe timber to be the healthy option for the environment. Many also believe propaganda that says PVC-U is a bad material, incapable of being green.
Of course we know that many of the ‘facts’ people repeat are half-truths or false. But that’s not good enough. On behalf of the PVC-U industry the British Plastics Federation (BPF) is countering timber’s message with hard facts, but without grass roots support the tide will run in favour of wood.
We need to return to the tactics that won the market in the first place. Promote, advertise and preach the benefits of PVC-U to all we meet. And we don’t need to revert to spin. The facts are on our side. But we do have to tell customers and prospects again and again. Our future depends on it.
Managing Director, Spectus Systems