The British bathroom industry has essentially promoted the same message for the past 15 years. UK consumers do not spend enough money on bathrooms, in contrast to their counterparts in the rest of the EU who spend the same on bathrooms as kitchens.

Through promoting one message consistently the bathroom industry has boosted UK consumer spending almost to Continental levels. And it has helped manufacturers, merchants and retailers promote better quality fittings, achieve more adventurous design and introduce technical advances.

Bathroom manufacturers quickly realised that rapid product development and creative design in turn justified them raising prices. Consequently a sink tap can cost up to £160.

Years ago I was involved in launching one of the first disposable contact lens systems into the UK. It was called Sequence. At the time optical products were presented in a clinical way, but Sequence took the brave step of packaging theirs as a fashion accessory. As a result they quickly took share from market leaders Johnson & Johnson.

The slightest of steps in product development can differentiate your product and increase sales, providing the market is ready for it. And dealing with the likes of B&Q, Focus and Homebase you soon learn that many products only have an eight-month life and, once they’re developed, marketed and sold, you need to move onto the next.

My point is this: when we’re all striving to increase sales, why can’t the timber industry also communicate a message that is both consistent and differentiates its products from the competition? For example, there is still a consumer misconception that the timber sector is an industry that exploits a natural resource. Instead it should be seen as one which helps the environment through well-managed forestry and supplies a product with inherent ecological benefits.

If a consistent message was presented from the timber industry, as in the bathroom market, timber manufacturers and merchants would have a stronger foundation from which to develop and market their products.