Dulux is overhauling its marketing to bring together its trade and consumer brands as it looks to become “more connected, more direct and more trade”.
The changes will sees parts of the business that had previously operated independently – such as Dulux Select Decorators and Dulux Academy – brought under the remit of a central team.
This has meant significant reorganisation across the business to bring together product and marketing teams, with the company asking employees to reassess their roles and view them within the wider context, or “ecosystem”, of Dulux UK.
The hope is the reorganisation can take Dulux closer to its roots. It was founded in the 1930s to appeal to decorators and in the 1950s used ‘say Dulux to your decorator’ as it strapline.
Over time, however, it became more more focused on the retail market, using an Old English Sheepdog in its ads to appeal to consumers. And while they are still important, Dulux now wants to become “more trade focused” and “champion the profession”, according to marketing director Kathryn Ledson.
“We set out to become more connected, more direct and more trade,” she tells Marketing Week.
She adds: “We really wanted to get back to the heartland of the brand. As a result of that, we overhauled the marketing operation and looked at establishing what really makes Dulux great.”
The overhaul comes as its parent, AkzoNobel, struggles for growth. According to the company, in the first half of the year its ‘decorative paints’ business saw flat revenue growth.
Ledson admits that part of the problem was a lack of consistency across the brands, which was impacting the effectiveness of its communications and leading to a “level of stagnation”.
“It became apparent 18 months to two years ago that [having a number of sub-brands] led to a lack of consistency for the brand. We weren’t really communicating effectively and connecting all the different parts of our business in a way that was relevant to our consumers,” she explains.
Ledson has been working on the reorganisation since her appointment in 2016. She believes it is “the combination of having the right people, the right ambitions and the right strategy for the business” that meant now was the right time to launch the marketing reorganisation.
‘Promising the best’ campaign
The restructure is accompanied by a new campaign ‘Dulux Promises’, that will see Dulux run advertising across the media mix for the first time, including TV, outdoor, social and digital. It will also see Dulux focus more on emotional stories, rather than products, as it ups its focus on brand building.
Ledson explains: “It’s more about driving long-term brand equity, as well as short-term sales. That was a big step forward for us. We know the services, the tools, the way that we go to market [but] it was about reasserting that position and giving people a reason why they can trust us.”
She adds: “We can imagine, while doing TV is important for us to gain reach, we also really have to look at the way our investment is shaped to make sure we’ve got the balance right as you go lower down the funnel.”
The TV ad, created by BBH, shows people making various empty promises including a sailor promising to come back for his girlfriend and a daughter promising to walk the dog, which naturally is an Old English Sheepdog. It compares that to Dulux’s real promise to replace its products if they do not provide a unified coverage or finish.
Ledson says: “It was really important to people that it wasn’t overcomplicated and it’s a no quibbles, money back statement that you can trust our products, you can trust our services and we are not going to let you down.”
It is also the first time Dulux has featured a decorator, rather than just homeowners, to advertise its products in a TV advert, and a number of professional decorators were on set to ensure it was an accurate portrayal.