“We needed to update the perception of our firm from an industrial conglomerate to a paint and specialty coating company.”
Looking at both the current source of revenue and perhaps more importantly, the future source of revenue, PPG Industries discovered that its identity as an industrial conglomerate was not only outdated, it wasn’t accurate. And the company felt that its impact on communities was not common knowledge either.
It was time for a makeover.
A new tagline – “PPG: We protect and beautify the world”—was released last week.
While the tagline projects a personality and social goal, which will be especially helpful in recruiting future workers who have more than a passing interest in social causes, it’s also meant to reflect the current state of the company.
PPG, which employs 46,600 and reported sales of $15.3 billion in 2015, has changed a lot in the past 10 years.
In 2005, paints and coatings accounted for 55% of sales. However in 2015 that number jumped to 93%. In 2005, chemicals accounted for 23% while glass represented 22%. In 2015, glass accounted for 7% with commodity chemicals no longer a part of the company's sales.
“We are now the world’s largest paint and coating company by sales,” explained Bryan Iams, vice president, corporate and government affairs. “We needed to update the perception of our firm from an industrial conglomerate to a paint and specialty coating company.”
In addition to a different product mix the global reach of the company has changed dramatically as well. In 2005, the U.S. and Canada accounted for 72% of sales, with 20% for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), 6% Asia/Pacific and 2% Latin American. In 2015 the U.S. and Canada contributed 46% of sales with EMEA moving up to 28%. The Asia/Pacific region brought in 16% of sales with 10% coming from Latin America.
Given these profound changes, a new image was necessary to reflect the current condition of the company. While research showed that there was no downside to using the word "industries," Iams explained, it was no longer reflective of the makeup of the company. With the focus on paint and coating and not chemical and glass, they decided to drop the word.
The color palette got a makeover as well. Gone is the gray associated with industry, replaced with vibrant colors.
“The new marketing campaign is people-centric and diverse, and it invites the viewer into a conversation with us,” said Iams. “The creative content celebrates our technology breakthroughs, explaining them in a consumer-friendly way, and highlighting the positive impact we have on people, communities and customers.”
Highlighting the impact on people and communities provides another advantage as the future workforce, both in the U.S. and globally, is especially tied to social responsibility. Many studies have validated that this generation of workers want to be associated with a company that has strong social values and is contributing in a positive way to both the communities in which they operate as well as across the globe.
To demonstrate community involvement the company has begun funding projects based on its Colorful Communities program that was introduced last year. In 2015, PPG and the PPG Industries Foundation donated more than $6.6 million to hundreds of community organizations across 20 countries around the world. These investments focused on: education programs that teach young people skills needed to succeed in studies and careers related to science, technology, engineering and math, such as jobs in advanced manufacturing; revitalization programs for buildings and community spaces; and organizations important to employees through grant and matching-funds programs.
Building a New Brand
A new logo and branding campaign will solidify the company’s image across locations and bring all of the company’s acquisitions under one umbrella. Some of the company’s brands are well-known in markets such as BtoB but may not be as well known in the BtoC segment. There is also a wide range of familiarity across global locations. On the B2B side the company will follow a master brand model using a product brand. And on the B2C side the product will retain its brand name with a PPG connector.
A multimedia campaign will support the new image and branding. Initial ads will focus on the company’s breadth of paint and coatings offerings. Ads appearing later this year will showcase specific paint and coatings technologies, including a coating for cars that helps to resist scratches, and a paint for airplanes that uses chemistry found in the skin of an eggplant to reduce heat in the cabin and, in turn, decrease energy use.
The company will turn to its own employees, who have had a positive reaction to the new image, , to spread the word.
“Employees are our brand ambassadors and we hope they will use social media to let others know that PPG is a company which impacts lives and communities,” says Iams. “Employees are proud to work for a company that has such a positive effect.”