AkzoNobel set to reinvent digital experience for Dulux consumers

The maker of Dulux paint launches Paint the Future In India – the largest collaborative innovation ecosystem in paints and coatings where startups are invited to share solutions to digitally transform consumer experience.

AkzoNobel set to reinvent digital experience for Dulux consumers

Thursday February 17, 2022,

6 min Read

The virtual or digital space is fast emerging as a strategic point of intersection for brands across segments, with growing number of consumers now preferring to experience products and services remotely from the confines of their homes. With the aim to set new milestones in digital consumer experience, multinational paints and coatings major AkzoNobel, which manufactures the Dulux paint, has kicked off a unique startup program called ‘Paint the Future’.

AkzoNobel’s 2022 ‘Paint the Future’ challenge in India is announced in partnership with NIPP (under NASSCOM 10,000 Startups). The program aims to discover and partner with startups with most disruptive digital consumer experience solutions. For the winners, it’s a journey of growth and accelerated solution commercialization with AkzoNobel’s customized accelerator program.

Making a mark in a growing space

The initiative reflects the growing digital consumer experience trends in the paints and coatings segment.

India’s Paints & Coatings industry is approx. Rs. 55,000 crore market and a fairly structured one, with organized players accounting for over 70% of the industry’s sales. As per Indian

Paints Association estimates, decorative paints’ account for around 75% of the overall market and ‘Coatings’ account for the rest.

The decorative paint market includes multiple categories depending on the nature of the surface like exterior wall paints, interior wall paints, wood finishes, enamels as well as ancillary products like primers, putties, etc.

According to a Mordor Intelligence Report , the Indian paints and coatings market is estimated to witness significant growth at an estimated CAGR of over 8% over the forecast period of 2022-2027. While Paints is a B2C business, coatings is essentially a B2B business and is technology intensive with a diverse set of growth drivers, with strong emphasis on selling a solution rather than a product.

The Paint the Future India startup challenge by AkzoNobel is a first-of-a-kind initiative that brings a new era of collaborative innovation to the growing Indian paints industry. It essentially aims to digitally transform the way consumers’ experience Dulux paint and services. Launched in 2019, Paint the Future has quickly become the world’s largest collaborative innovation ecosystem in the paints and coatings industry. Since its introduction, the program has been further expanded into regional programs. Now in 2022, the program is all set to discover and accelerate some innovative solutions by startups for Indian paint consumers.

Addressing consumer challenges

The ‘Paint the Future’ India startup challenge, which officially opens for submissions on March 1, 2022, seeks solutions that can address key challenges that Dulux consumers typically face in their painting journey.

After all, decorative painting is often seen as time-consuming, complicated, and unorganized by consumers. Their journey is fraught with many questions as they navigate through different stages –

1. Visualizing the product: - Typical questions in this stage include : ‘How will my house look after painting this’? ‘Can I get help to get it painted professionally’? ‘What type of paint does my house need’ etc.

2. Purchase /Planning :- Questions in this stage include, ‘Where and how much to buy easily?’ ‘How much time and money will the whole process take’? ‘Can I do it myself’? ‘Can I get help in monitoring it’? etc.

3. Post-purchase assurance: - ‘Is it within the estimated budget’? ‘Is it as I imagined’? etc., are some common questions in the last stage.

The disruptive solutions being sought by the ‘Paint the Future’ program need to solve consumer dilemmas and come with proven technical feasibility to be further developed for the purpose.

Selected startups will be invited to a collaboration event in late 2022, when the winners will be announced. The successful participants will be offered exciting partnership opportunities as they join AkzoNobel’s accelerator program to support the further development and deployment of their solutions.

Solution pointers

Some of the areas that AkzoNobel sees as opportunities for solutions to be developed under the ‘Paint the Future’ India startup challenge include:

  • Visualization technologies like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Gamification software etc
  • Data driven customer experiences through AI led chat bots, voice enabled engagement tools, curated training content to support Do-It-Yourself projects etc.
  • Cloud based solutions to improve customer support and services
  • Solutions to generate credible customer information / insights on social media to drive business strategy
  • And more such opportunities that are relevant within the paint consumer journey.

A win-win collaboration

Globally, AkzoNobel’s ‘Paint the Future’ initiative has already set the ball rolling with some key outcomes.

Launched in 2019 as our global startup challenge, Paint the Future has quickly become the largest collaborative innovation ecosystem in the paints and coatings industry. Since its introduced, it has been further expanded, with two regional programs taking place in Brazil and China, while two supplier challenges have also been staged. AkzoNobel’s recent 2021 global startup challenge, saw 245 innovative solutions from startups across 62 countries. Till date, 14 startups have already been accelerated through 3 programs.

As AkzoNobel’s CEO, Thierry Vanlancker explains, “We’re excited to share our pioneering spirit and centuries of paints and coatings expertise, work with startups and help to accelerate their innovative solutions. India’s startup ecosystem is the third largest in the world, a real powerhouse. So, we’re looking forward to actively collaborating on disruptive digital solutions and exploring how we can paint the future together.”

Taking a step further from innovation to collaborative innovation, AkzoNobel’s ‘Paint the Future’ is reinventing the paint and coatings industry with startups. There’s a lot that a startup with disruptive solution on ‘Digital Consumer Experience’ challenge theme is set to gain.

Startups can build the best value proposition for their digital solutions by tapping into AkzoNobel’s extensive sector specific expertise. It’s an opportunity to join 3500+ other innovators on Paint the Future platform, get access over 50+ experts to better enrich their own solution and take their innovation to market faster.

Startups, with most disruptive solutions on “Digital Consumer Experience” will win a tailored collaboration agreement that helps them get their innovation to market faster, their way. But Paint the Future is much more than an agreement, it’s a collaboration in true sense. Winners join AkzoNobel’s accelerator program to support the further development and deployment of their solution.

Well, it’s time now for Indian startups to get cracking on breakthrough ideas that can reinvent consumers’ paint journey.

Want to understand how ‘Paint the Future’ challenge works?