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Q&A with Pat Kenny, VP, Corporate Marketing, PPG Industries

PPG Industries, the multi-billion dollar supplier of paints, coatings, chemicals, glass, fiber glass, and optical products, recently commissioned global branding research with B2B International. Pat Kenny, Vice President, Corporate Marketing at PPG Industries, shares his thoughts on market research and branding.

What is your role at PPG Industries? What, in particular, are you responsible for?

I’m responsible for leading our corporate global branding efforts in our multiple core markets, providing marketing expertise and support to key growth initiatives across the business units, ensuring PPG has world-class sales and marketing functional excellence, and internalizing leading marketing and growth processes.

What challenges do you face in managing brands within a b2b environment?

There are a number of strategic branding issues that we evaluate in our diverse b2b markets including developing the proper brand architecture strategy, ensuring the brand has relevance and distinctiveness to our customers, and ensuring we deliver on the brand promise through our daily actions and performance.

You recently undertook global branding research. What led to the decision to use market research?

PPG participates in many diverse global markets including construction, automotive, aerospace and industrial sectors. We had not systematically and formally tracked our brand performance in a consistent manner and wanted to establish a uniform methodology and baseline results.

At the outset of the research initiative, what were the potential difficulties and how were these overcome in the project?

Brands have a variety of dimensional attributes, and defining the proper brand metrics and valuation models that can be tracked consistently across both highly fragmented and highly concentrated industry sectors took a considerable amount of upfront discussion and analysis.

What advice would you give people responsible for brands in other companies, who might not have used market research before?

Market research is a means to an end. Make sure you fully understand how the market research will help you make better decisions, create new value, grow faster, etc. before you embark.

Define the strategic impact of the research first and then find a strong research partner that has expertise and the skills to make the project successful.

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