An Australian-based company, James Hardie, had a minimal presence in North America. The advantages of cement board were numerous but there was virtually no awareness and little channel support. They asked Brunner to help flip the script and support their plans for expansion.
The whole channel works on demand. Dealers carry what contractors specify; contractors specify what homeowners are demanding. Those consumer tastes were changing. Aesthetics and quality were driving more of the cladding decisions. “Cement board” was a home construction afterthought.
By identifying strong builder partners in key markets, Brunner could build awareness at the consumer level, then be able to leverage demand quickly back through the channel. Market by market, neighborhood by neighborhood, builders were more than willing to up-sell to HardiePlank, thanks to strong, brand-specific awareness.