Archive for the ‘Strategic Marketing’ Category
Q&A with Pat Kenny, VP, Corporate Marketing, PPG Industries
PPG Industries, the multi-billion dollar supplier of paints, coatings, chemicals, glass, fiber glass, and optical products, recently commissioned global branding research with B2B International. Pat Kenny, Vice President, Corporate Marketing at PPG Industries, shares his thoughts on market research and branding.
What is your role at PPG Industries? What, in particular, are you responsible for?
I’m responsible for leading our corporate global branding efforts in our multiple core markets, providing marketing expertise and support to key growth initiatives across the business units, ensuring PPG has world-class sales and marketing functional excellence, and internalizing leading marketing and growth processes.
What challenges do you face in managing brands within a b2b environment?
There are a number of strategic branding issues that we evaluate in our diverse b2b markets including developing the proper brand architecture strategy, ensuring the brand has relevance and distinctiveness to our customers, and ensuring we deliver on the brand promise through our daily actions and performance.
You recently undertook global branding research. What led to the decision to use market research?
PPG participates in many diverse global markets including construction, automotive, aerospace and industrial sectors. We had not systematically and formally tracked our brand performance in a consistent manner and wanted to establish a uniform methodology and baseline results.
At the outset of the research initiative, what were the potential difficulties and how were these overcome in the project?
Brands have a variety of dimensional attributes, and defining the proper brand metrics and valuation models that can be tracked consistently across both highly fragmented and highly concentrated industry sectors took a considerable amount of upfront discussion and analysis.
What advice would you give people responsible for brands in other companies, who might not have used market research before?
Market research is a means to an end. Make sure you fully understand how the market research will help you make better decisions, create new value, grow faster, etc. before you embark.
Define the strategic impact of the research first and then find a strong research partner that has expertise and the skills to make the project successful.
Emma Flood’s latest Business Surgery looks at differing strategies for success and how market research can play a part
I recently read an article on mckinseyquarterly.com which discussed the different strategies of two global companies. One of the companies followed the same investment pattern of allocating capital to each business unit every year, whilst the other evaluated the performance and potential of each business unit, and shared budgets accordingly…
Although the author is discussing the strategy based on internal factors, the strategies of these two companies immediately took my mind to thinking about segmentation research, and the value this has in both assigning budgets and informing strategy. Segmentation research is all about maximising opportunities, through identifying and evaluating the segments of the market which offer the most potential (and the most profit) to the business. Although the McKinsey article focused on the internal aspects of the business (i.e. the SBUs), there are interesting parallels between the two companies mentioned, and that of our approach to segmentation…
At B2B International, we consider another key value of segmentation research is to inform or create a strategy which differentiates your business in the eyes of customers; therefore giving your business a competitive advantage. When we think of using segmentation research to differentiate our business, we are striving towards a needs-based segmentation.
A segmentation could be based on firmographics (i.e. company size, geographic location, etc), behaviour (i.e. frequency of purchase, products/services purchased, channel), or the third (and most challenging) option, a needs-based segmentation. The needs-based segmentation understands the precise needs by customer group i.e. the need to choose suppliers that offer quality products, suppliers that are committed to the market, and suppliers that can be trusted, etc. Understanding the needs of the market, and segmenting by these, provides knowledge that only your business has access to and, as such, it is not as easily copied as firmographic- or behaviour-based segmentations. Using a needs-based segmentation can therefore provide a differential, and competitive advantage to your business.
Drawing on the point in the second excerpt above, that the vast majority of companies behave in the way that Company A behaves, it is easy to see why using a strategy based on evaluation, rather than tradition, allows the business to better invest its capital, and reaps the benefits of business growth and profit.
To read more about how B2B International can help your business using segmentation research, please visit: http://www.b2binternational.com/research-and-intelligence/segmentation/
Recent research carried out by McKinsey Quarterly with 2,135 executives showed that most companies’ strategies are flawed and not ‘future-proofed’ to make sure that they are adaptable to changing market conditions. With 2012 ahead of us (and no doubt some globally challenging times ahead), we have detailed the main checklist that you should review to see where gaps lie in your company’s strategy and develop a future process for improving your strategy over the next 12 months:
1. Commit to following your strategy (but with some flexibility!)
As documented by Porter and his 5 forces, all companies operate in markets surrounded by customers, suppliers, competitors, substitutes, and potential entrants and all are seeking to advance their own positions. The problem is that most companies continue to do what they have always done and not think about diversifying to beat the market. Remember, if you always do what you have always done then you will always get what you have always got…if you are lucky!
Make sure that you do something different in 2012 to create value and improve your strategy development process.
For a full reading of the article by McKinsey please visit www.mckinseyquarterly.com ‘Have you tested your strategy lately?’
For further reading on strategy development and competitive intelligence click on the links below:
“I want to grow my business – what should I do?” It’s a challenge practically every business faces but, of course, there’s no one simple answer. Yet, there are many practical steps that can be taken, and what better place to start than this year’s Growing Business Handbook?
This annual handbook – now in its 13th edition – is a fantastic source of information, advice and reference for companies with dynamic growth potential, and is available to read online now, as a free e-book, on our website. It’s just the latest in a long line of e-books, white papers and articles which inspire and enlighten our clients.
Why not check out all our publications?
In her latest Thursday Night Insight, Carol-Ann Morgan points out that our best intentions are not always quite as well received as we might hope.
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton compiled his three laws of motion. The third law is commonly reported as…
The environmental story has been hovering around the top of the political agenda for some time now and, consequently, there is considerable attention given to the issues being debated in the press. However, we are having trouble grasping the arguments, as they are so equivocally defined and incalculable to the man on the street. Whilst experts argue amongst themselves as to the level of influence from our behaviours, and even the value of action, most of us are left confused as to what we should do next.
Excited by the idea of developing alternative fuels which reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere and potentially threaten the long-term future of the planet, the growth of some crop-based biofuels has now been shown to carry some responsibility for recent global food shortages. Similarly, engines developed to reduce emissions appear to have created social tensions and increasing hardship amongst communities living and working around the platinum mines.
Examples such as these can be found all around us, and they demonstrate that there can be counter-reactions to most of our actions, particularly so in the commercial environment. These counter-reactions can be both positive and negative; delivering business opportunities or threatening our existing business operations or offerings. This is where research plays a strong role. Testing concepts and new business offerings in the marketplace can throw up any unexpected or unwanted reactions, which then prepare us for the future. Being in possession of this knowledge enables us to take advantage of new opportunities and also mitigate threats to the business.
Change and development are critical to the future of most businesses; spotting the needs of the future before they are in full view, and responding to them, is critical. However, Newton’s law serves to remind us to ensure we are aware of, and give due consideration to, potential unwanted consequences which may be harmful to the future security of our business.