Marketing Strategy and Innovation Pay Off for Plascon. Plascon has over a century of manufacturing firsts; innovations that have shown the brand’s commitment to provide consumers with the very best technologies and top quality products. Similarly, the company has always been known for its memorable advertising campaigns. Take its iconic 40-year-old Double Velvet brand, for example, one of the longest advertised brands on South African television. Now, Plascon has once again been recognised for marketing excellence by the greater industry.South Africa’s leading coatings manufacturer recently received three prestigious awards for its forward-thinking point of sale executions, at the annual Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) awards ceremony in South Africa. POPAI is a global network of more than 1700 members that recognizes innovation and strategic marketing in the retail industry – which is what Plascon always strives to achieve. The POPAI ceremony honoured remarkable point of purchase displays that have lifted sales, made products memorable and appealing, and enticed consumers to purchase. Plascon was nominated as finalists in 3 separate categories and was successful in all 3 categories, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze. Plascon received a much-coveted Gold award for its Custom Colour Creation in Mass Retail, part of the Short Run Category (under 50 units). This was tailor-made specifically for Builders Warehouse Rivonia, a high-end mass retail environment introducing revolutionary displays and areas within a mass space where shoppers can experience and be inspired by brands. Builders Warehouse is typically an environment that has seen a dominantly male shopper focus, is price point driven, and has lacked individual brand experiences. Plascon used this new opportunity to engage with prospective female shoppers and decision makers as they have been identified as the starting point of the shopper journey when purchasing paint. In order to provide inspiration for female consumers Plascon created a paint display similar to cosmetics displays. With elements such as LED backlighting, high-gloss Black Perspex, and paint-filled colour forecast jars, the display was not only clean and eye-catching but also user friendly. The Plascon “colour experience zone” was is manned by trained consultants to ensure the customer service offering matched the aesthetics and colour offering. The zone has been a success not only in the sales out of the store, but aesthetically in terms of the concept, receiving international and local attention. This was a once-off execution, working closely with Builders Warehouse, to ensure a strategically positioned experience that benefited both brands. Plascon earned a Silver POPAI award for its Manchester United ‘Bring Home the Best’ Promotion, part of the Temporary Non Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Category. The focus of the promotion was not on look-and-feel so much as user engagement. Since early 2013, and Manchester United Football Club have been associated through parent company Kansai’s sponsorship of Manchester United. This partnership has proved thoroughly successful. The Bring Home the Best campaign was run in store, on TV and across various social media channels and provided an incentive for consumers to buy Plascon products to stand a chance to win a trip to watch a Manchester United match at Old Trafford in England. Over the period of the campaign from November 2013 to February 2014, customer interaction grew and sales for the participating retailers were boosted by 3.1%. Therefore, although Kansai Plascon and Manchester United are from two different industries, the partnership between them has proved a valuable marketing strategy. The final award Plascon received was a Bronze for its Inspired Colour 2 Stand, in the Permanent Non -FMCG category. In 2006, when Plascon first launched the Inspired Colour Stand, it was the most comprehensive coatings colour system in South Africa. The market has changed since then, and therefore Plascon saw the need to update its colour stand offering. It accomplished this through consumer research and customer feedback. The main finding was that people wanted to locate their paint colour choice quickly and easily. Therefore, the most popular colours were concentrated on and highlighted to make selection simpler and faster. This new Inspired Colour 2 Stand started to roll out in July 2014 and continues to replace the older versions in retail outlets. The three POPAI awards earned by Plascon in November 2014 demonstrate the company’s marketing prowess in the coatings industry and set benchmarks for other companies here and around the world. Says Plascon’s Channel Marketing Executive, Michael van Harmelen: “Naturally, we are thrilled to have been recognized in three categories at the recent POPAI awards, including a Gold award. These awards only serve to prove what our customers have known all along, that Plascon is the brand to trust! But we’re not content to rest on these laurels. As a marketing team, Plascon is already looking ahead to future trends and to further innovation in 2015.” Plascon can look to the future assured by the strength of its past. Since 1889 Plascon has been the force behind the production of top quality coatings with innovative and ground-breaking technologies, making it Southern Africa’s leading coatings manufacturer.