Philips focuses on communications and customer engagement

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Philips plans to launch several new product innovations in the small appliance category in 2012 and will support them with wide-ranging communication campaigns, revealed Joanna Elliot, senior marketing director, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, to IER.

Over the last two years, Philips has been reorganizing the company and its product portfolio. “From the global outlook we moved our focus to individual countries and became more tuned to the needs of customers there. As a result we have developed products which are specific to the UK and now we are exploring the ways of communicating these innovations. We are also seeking trade partners who can help us do this,” commented Ms Elliot.

Philips Consumer Lifestyle portfolio comprises four main categories: personal care, oral healthcare, domestic appliances and coffee makers. The company plans to grow them so each one is worth over €1billion by 2015.

Talking about the challenges of her new role, Ms Elliot said: “Philips is the best kept secret. It is the 41st best recognized brand in the world, and the company launched several product innovations which were first to the market. The most recent examples are: the AirFloss, a dental cleaner ejecting air and water to maximizing plaque removal, the Xelsis Digital ID, a fully automatic espresso machine with fingerprint recognition, and the Fidelio dock which took Philips to number two in the docking category. And yet we aren’t very good at telling people about it.

“Philips spends 7% of its turnover on the R&D. The company is involved in extensive testing of all its products, and in many cases our products exceed industry standards. We need not only to communicate this to consumers but also to engage them with the brand by demonstrating the benefits of our innovations. Our big challenge is to ensure that consumers make decision about the brand before they arrive in the stores or log online.”

In the coming months, Philips will run a number of communication campaigns, featuring docking, grooming, beauty and oral healthcare. In all these categories the company has increased its market share despite the recession. Philips is also looking to grow its SDA business in the independent sector (from 20% to 30%) “since only independent retailers can do justice to our products,” said Ms Elliot.

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