For Federico Olivares Velasco, our Head of Industrial Marketing for North America, listening to our customers and examining consumer insights is vital if we’re to maintain our position as a market leader
What does your role involve?
It’s all about positioning us favorably in the markets in which we participate and delighting our customers with relevant market information that is shaped by changing consumer needs. By having a good grasp of developments, we have an early read on meaningful market trends that we can potentially capitalize on before the competition does.
What are your top three priorities for 2019?
Firstly, to deliver strong and sound segment strategies that are focused on our customers, always with an eye on the future. This will ensure we maintain our leadership position for many years to come.
Next I want to develop our team to instill a consumer-centric mindset that brings more value to our customers. Specifically, to drive consumer insight developments that could lead to partnerships and co-creation with our customers on innovation projects.
And finally, it’s important for us to drive more solutions that go above and beyond the products and services we offer today. The world is changing rapidly, and while we have an excellent portfolio, we must be attentive to these changes. They will ignite new opportunities and business models for us to participate in.
Tell us about Consumer Insights and why this area is a passion of yours
I have seen it work at Kellogg’s, GlaxoSmithKline and in a sports technology start-up I founded in 2012. By putting the consumer first – as the driver of our developments – we maximize our propositions and value to our customers.
By leveraging the consumer insight process and tools, which have been used in CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industries, we discover, understand and reveal new opportunities in our markets, driving meaningful value to our customers. This strengthens our partnership with our customers and further promotes Covestro as the partner of choice.
What trends are currently affecting our industry?
We are seeing new generations gravitate to new experiences, creating new business models enhanced by digital experiences. One example is how traditional retailers in the U.S. bedding industry failed to adapt to pain points in the buying process for new consumers.
This allowed online ‘bed in a box’ brands to disrupt the long-standing business model, offering lower price points and ease of purchase. In fact, upwards of 200 different ‘bed in a box’ companies have cropped up over the past decade. We see a similar path for the automotive industry, where the connected experience, driven by software and entertainment, will soon play a larger role with consumers than the physical attributes of the vehicle.
We also live in a time when consumers have more information and power than ever before, and expect more openness from companies. We have seen pricing transparency provide new business models in different industries, ingredient transparency lead to new developments in food and beverage industries, and fair trade practices drive consumers to new brands.
What would you say sets us apart from our competitors?
Our people and our brand reputation are our main differentiators. Our technical leadership, strong portfolio and strong commercial relationships set us apart, and our reputation for being progressive, forward-looking and invested in the future is extremely compelling for our customers.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My dreams – and waking up every day to make them a reality. My family and kids inspire me to be the best version of myself. But technically, the alarm to go to CrossFit at 5am is what wakes me up.