Published: February 28, 2024
Published: February 28, 2024

Natalya Nikitina: Bringing Sustainability and Innovation into Color Presentation

Enter any store that sells TIKKURILA™ by PPG brand, and you'll encounter some of the innovations that Natalya Nikitina has brought about. Aside from overseeing a wide range of markets, she is involved in the development of a new and unique retail concept for our Tikkurila paint brand, piloting a sustainable packaging project that recently earned her an internal award, and she's still not done! Let's join Natalya as she shares her passion for colors, innovation and sustainability in the paint industry!

Initiator, Executor, Innovator

Before reaching her current position of brand manager, Natalya worked in the Tikkurila team in different marketing and communications roles for eight years. In 2018, she relocated to Finland.

It was quite a sudden change in my life. It was a totally new world — foreign language, new culture. In connection with the Nordic spirit of Tikkurila, it was my first significant personal challenge to enhance the cultural heritage of the brand and strengthen the brand on international level.

Natalya has been a part of Tikkurila for over a decade at this point. Three years ago, her role evolved. Nowadays, Natalya is the brand manager of Tikkurila across all markets, involving a broad spectrum of activities.

"I manage various brand strategy aspects, such as TV campaigns, can concepts, or portfolio strategy roadmaps. I'm also responsible for brand names, the visual presentation of a new product, and the launch process."

Is it possible for a single person to keep up with all this? Of course not. Natalya is backed by a very supportive cross-functional team. Together, they discuss strategies and then make them happen. This central team creates assets in English and delivers them to markets such as Finland, Baltics, Poland, China and many more markets, discussing strategies and ensuring daily communication to make things happen seamlessly.


Shaping the Retail Concept

Centralizing processes has also extended to points of sale. Tikkurila brand team, led by project leader, Aki Karttunen, trade marketing manager, managed to transform the way colors are presented in stores. The focus is on allowing the natural look of each color to stand out, which is achieved through a single-colored grey background console and color pockets that enable customers to see the color from different angles and in different types of lighting. The main console consists of 89% renewable materials and is made exclusively from recovered wood.

This new concept is the key to showcasing our color leadership, presenting a broad spectrum of colors in a space concept that can be modeled to fit any store.

Another advantage of stores with this concept is that they are digitally connected, which enables them to present the Color of the Year and other campaigns in all Tikkurila stores worldwide with a single click. And not only that: using digital screens reduces the usage of short-term materials such as paper posters and plastic components, which supports PPG’s sustainability journey — one of Natalya's most important personal values.

A Single Shade of Grey

One of the recent projects, recycled plastic packaging (rPP) of Tikkurila products, piloted by Natalya has earned her and the team an internal Sustainability Award in the environmental impact category.

Switching to rPP cans usually means a switch to darker shades of plastic, which leads to a dramatic visual change from the virgin white cans. While the color black is often associated with premium quality, using black plastic for Tikkurila cans would render them non-recyclable, which was a non-starter for Natalya.

We found a nice middle ground that allowed us to achieve a premium visual without resorting to black plastic. Instead, we opted for dark grey cans, which contain a percentage of recycled plastic.

In just six months, Natalya and her team successfully implemented the change in packaging.

"We were highly organized and optimized the transition. The entire process wasn't just about creating the recycled plastic packaging, but it was integrated with other processes, such as legislation changes and an overall packaging redesign, making it economically sound."

The main goal of the project was to increase the usage of recycled plastic in Tikkurila cans to 90% of product items by the end of 2023. It was a joint effort of many teams working together across marketing, supply chain, product management and packaging.

Natalya has many more goals in terms of sustainability, such as working towards becoming a 100% waterborne brand. However, she recognizes the importance of not overpromising. After all, as she states, it's not just about the benefits for Tikkurila. "It's our responsibility as a brand to nature and society."


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