All in the family
Luke works closely with retailers and dealers, including many businesses which have started and continue to stay in the family – a family which includes the Dulux brand of decorative paints.
“Most of our retail shops are family-owned businesses,” says Luke. “Children who have graduated from their studies are now working with their parents to handle the day-to-day business operations. They’re the second, sometimes even third, Dulux generation. It’s essential to build a strong bond with them – we’re like a family.
“The next generation has fresh ideas and eventually they will be managing the companies in the future. That’s why I organize training especially designed for them. I also hear from the parents that they’re grateful that AkzoNobel sees the value in investing in the future of their businesses. That makes me proud. It’s about us all growing together.”
Improving product knowledge
Of course, not every retailer is family-owned – and those businesses also need tailored support.
“Retailers often have staff coming and going,” says Luke. “We recognize new employees joining our retailers may not be well-versed in paints, and we can definitely help with that. I help train new staff to increase their product knowledge. I also offer refresher courses and introduce new products to all staff.
“Sometimes I ask our color consultants to join. They can talk more about recommending color schemes to customers – as we know that making choices about color is something consumers can find difficult. The better retailers know and understand our products, the more confident they will be in selling to consumers, and together we can be sure consumers are happy with the results.”
Keep on learning
Just as much of Luke’s job is about educating others in their careers, he recognizes that it’s important for him to keep learning and growing as well.
Having joined AkzoNobel with ICI Paints back in 2002, Luke ended up in the position he holds today after answering an internal posting. Now he’s ready for the next step, already in the process of a new transition from Dulux Retail into Dulux Professional.
He says talking to others and finding a mentor can be really helpful: “A few years ago, I participated in AkzoNobel’s mentor-mentee program. My mentor was our country’s Managing Director at that time. It was a great opportunity for me to learn.”