AkzoNobel’s challenging target to extend sales of eco-premium solutions – which provide sustainability benefits over the mainstream products in the market – involves teamwork across the value chain. Our sales and marketing professionals have a pivotal role to play in engaging with customers to identify products to meet their immediate functional needs, and to deliver against immediate and longer term sustainability requirements.
The global AkzoNobel network Make More with Marketing (MMM) has identified innovation and sustainability as key themes to raise awareness and share successes. This was the focus when 60 European members met under the banner “Catch the customer if you can” earlier this year. A pre-event survey concluded that 92 percent of members believe sustainability is a priority for customers – but only 53 percent have it in the top three – and there are marked differences between the markets where we operate. Members raised their skills and understanding in innovation and sustainability workshops, but above all shared current successes and barriers to success in their markets. Examples included:
- Paper chemicals to help the paper industry speed up paper making and reduce the use of water and wood pulp
- Additives for tarmac to speed up road building and reduce energy and emissions
- Cleaning product ingredients which eliminate phosphates released in water
- Salt which de-ices road and limits the environmental effects
- Coatings which are harder wearing, so extend repainting programs.
These examples indicate that it is not about sustainable products with reduced functionality, but about new functionality which includes sustainability benefits. Marketers play a key role in developing an end-to-end view of value chains and identifying where AkzoNobel can contribute the most with leading, innovative, sustainable solutions.