Ines Zirl, brand manager for retail brands, plays a key role in researching the market and keeping up with its constantly evolving needs. As sustainability has become omnipresent in our lives, it is reflected in the newest brand that Ines helped bring on the market: the ULTRA NATURE™ wood care product line by PPG. Because of her dedication and passion, Ines is the ideal person to introduce us to Ultra Nature stains and the story behind this young brand.
When You Love Multitasking
Ines jokingly shares that she worked her way from ketchup to paints. It's because before joining our company, she used to work for the American company Kraft Heinz – where she gathered experience within different departments and responsibilities, such as assistant to the sales director, category manager and senior trade marketing manager.
"At Heinz, I became familiar with many of the daily work challenges within the sales department, learned to handle them, and that helps me very much with my work today."
Ines became our colleague in 2013. For nine years, she worked as a shopper marketing manager. In 2022, she received a much-welcomed offer to join the brand management team – a great opportunity to grow professionally and further develop her skills.
Today, Ines works as the brand manager for retail brands in the DACH region, which includes Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. She is committed to developing innovative, sustainably advantaged products for her region while focusing on unique brand strategies to foster customer loyalty.
"I enjoy being challenged with a wide range of responsibilities. Being a brand manager means taking on a broad spectrum of duties. It requires familiarity with various aspects of marketing, such as product management, PR, design, digital marketing, as well as legal aspects and product stewardship. All these different tasks come together, enabling me to constantly grow, and I genuinely enjoy doing that within the PPG family."
Ultra Nature Wood Care: The 100% Natural Product Range
Ines is helping market several products, but they all have one thing in common: they focus on sustainability because it is "a constantly rising topic where people care about their environmental footprint."
Whether it's related to food, everyday products, or wood care, consumers nowadays consider it very important to use environmentally conscious products.
The Ultra Nature line was launched in 2021 as a wood care brand made with 100% renewable raw materials, such as seeds or nuts, protecting wood "with the full power of nature." Ines explains this further:
The entire product range is built entirely on natural, bio-based materials that are food-safe and vegan. The Ultra Nature line is regionally produced in the northern part of Germany. All these characteristics highlight the sustainable approach of this brand.
Another special feature of the Ultra Nature brand is that instead of synthetic solvents, high-quality natural oils are used within the products. Thanks to this, the Ultra Nature wood care line excels at preserving wood without containing chemicals that could harm the environment.
The goal of Ultra Nature stains is to address and satisfy the newly emerging target group of consumers who want to use products made with consideration for the environment. As Ines says, it's not the simplest mission, as the market is constantly evolving and transforming. Together with her colleagues, she conducts market research to always stay on top of what customers are looking for. Based on the knowledge gained during the research, the Ultra Nature lineup was launched at the ideal moment.
The Rewarding Path of Sustainability
Despite 2021 being strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for products that could be used for home improvement was flourishing due to stay-at-home orders, and Ultra Nature stains fall exactly into this category.
Shortly after its launch, the product received a German Brand Award in 2022, which makes Ines rightfully #PPGProud.
The profound brand concept proved what a strong brand Ultra Nature is. We also realized a unique store presentation that ensured our brand differentiated itself from its competitors. Right now, we are really the only brand in our region that is 100% bio-based. That is a significant selling point.
Walking the path of sustainability as a big company comes with the challenge of striking a balance between business goals and environmental responsibility. Day after day, Ines makes key decisions to guide us in the right direction.
"Our sustainability policies and targets must align with global standards. We set the new 2030 targets to reduce energy use, water, waste, and emissions. We collaborate with suppliers and stakeholders to promote sustainable practices across the supply chain. And last but not least, we use our signature community engagement program, COLORFUL COMMUNITIES®, to further spread education and awareness about the small steps that each of us can take to make this a better planet to live on."