Using colour in new product development
An Akzo Nobel case study

Page 1: Introduction

Akzo Nobel’s products are among the most looked at in the world. Its business is colour. It is a company literally devoted to brightening people’s lives. Akzo Nobel can trace its corporate origins back to the 1770s and is now a multi-national, multi-product firm and the world’s leading producer of all kinds of coatings, i.e. paints, finishes, stains, printing inks and...
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Page 2: The paint market

Today, coatings are essential to the modern world, and are used in the most testing industrial environments on the planet and beyond. They provide protection from corrosion - not only for homes and cars, but also ships, bridges, trains and aircraft. Modern technology has provided synthetic ingredients which have enabled a new range of colours and finishes: Emulsion - a water-borne paint, now...
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Page 3: External influences

The market for all DIY products in general, and paint in particular, is highly competitive at both the manufacturing and retailing stages. The coatings industry has to deal with an ever-changing environment and is subject to several important external influences. Economics One of the key factors affecting the total DIY UK market, now worth nearly £8bn a year, is the state of the economy...
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Page 4: ‘Internal’ influences

Not only does Akzo Nobel have to deal with factors beyond its control in terms of external influences, but also the internal market is always changing. One of the main determinants of demand is ‘taste’. The taste for different colours is subject to trends, and therefore predicting what is going to be the next fashionable colour range is crucially important to the manufacturer. Timing...
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Page 5: New product development

Akzo Nobel identified a new trend - consumers wanting to give older properties an original authentic period feel, or give newer properties a feeling of age. When put into the context of a growing interest in antiques and popular period dramas on television, this added up to a clear marketing opportunity as, although it was possible to buy such paints, they were very expensive and difficult to...
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Page 6: Conclusion

With predictions of continued growth in the highly competitive decorative market, Akzo Nobel needs to respond quickly to all changes in conditions to remain the market leader. The market for DIY products is subject to external influences, due to its close relationship with the housing and fashion sectors.  Historically, the housing market is one of the first sectors of the economy to be...
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