Collin Francis, global strategic marketing director for Spectra Premium Industries, is responsible for global marketing and branding strategies for North America, Europe and Asia. During his 12 years working in the automotive aftermarket industry, Francis spent the past seven years at Spectra Premium in various management and category management roles. He is a graduate of Northwood University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from DeVos Graduate School, Northwood University.
In today’s AMN Executive Interview, Francis talks about Spectra Premium’s global expansion and branding plans.
You have been in your new role as Global Marketing Director at Spectra Premium for a year. What does that new role entail?
My responsibilities mainly revolve around seeking new opportunities and partnerships to develop Spectra Premium into a global brand. In the past year, we looked to further increase our global presence as a manufacturer and distributor. We turned toward Europe, the Middle East and Africa to reach these important markets, beginning with a soft launch of our new Netherlands offices in spring and the opening of a new distribution center in Luxembourg in the summer. Moving forward, Spectra Premium remains committed to cementing this global expansion.
How does this global presence translate in terms of branding and marketing for Spectra Premium?
Through the years, we built a strong brand as a market leader in the aftermarket. We have always placed a great deal of emphasis on premium quality design, manufacturing, delivery, data quality and attention to detail, and always exceeding customer expectations. In 2017, we introduced two major initiatives aimed at expanding global brand awareness and protecting the brand at the end-customer level: CAPA certification and motorsports involvement. For Spectra Premium, it was an easy decision to work in concert with CAPA to pioneer the new CAPA 601 Radiator certification program. This program answers a real need in the industry from body shop installers and vehicle owners to be able to identify aftermarket radiators with OE-quality performance and lifespan; CAPA 601 provides that key differentiator. We are very proud that our Canadian Laval factory, located on the north shore of Montreal, obtained the first facility certification and is currently working toward the first parts certification.
Concurrently, we continued to expand our involvement in motorsports, specifically with the introduction of our NSCR100 all-aluminum cooling pack solution that optimizes engine cooling and allows for easy replacement. In the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, our high-performance racing radiator performed admirably during testing and obtained great on-track results with three podium, 11 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in its introductory year. We also have expanded our driver development program and continued to recognize teamwork with the Spectra Premium Crew Consistency Award.
In terms of products, what can we expect from Spectra Premium? What is your strategy to become a global leader?
We are always striving to extend our parts coverage with the introduction of new products and lines for all our main categories: cooling system, air conditioning, fuel delivery and engine management. To get ahead and stay ahead, technology is key; the automotive industry is evolving quickly in terms of technology innovation and complexity. For aftermarket manufacturers, innovation and development are important not only to keep up with these new technologies and meet customer demands, but also because reaching the aftermarket first for a particular product provides a clear edge in terms of visibility and revenue. In that race, Spectra Premium focuses on fuel delivery and emission systems, as we did when we acquired Richporter Technologies (RPT).
Speaking of the Richporter Technologies acquisition, how did the integration of their products within the Spectra Premium brand go?
The acquisition of Richporter Technologies allowed Spectra Premium to introduce a complete line of products in the engine management category. At the time of the acquisition, RPT had competitive engine management technologies, which we incorporated into the Spectra Premium process of cutting-edge engineering, thorough quality control and testing and Lean management. Now, RPT has been fully integrated within the Spectra Premium brand and corporate culture. For us, this was a clear success story that helped Spectra Premium gain substantial market share and growth in the engine management and ignition sectors with mass air flow sensors, distributors, ignition coils and, more recently, throttle body sensors.
What is next for Spectra Premium?
We’re always on the lookout for the next acquisition to continue our growth as a global leader. As I mentioned earlier, technology is key to that growth. We are looking at all available avenues for turnkey technology, either through merger and acquisitions like Richporter or through CAPEX such as our new Chongqing facility and tooling investment.
We also invest and develop in-house innovations as with our latest fuel module patent. We are actively searching for potential opportunities in tooling, equipment, technology and design to increase market share, while pursuing the best option that fits our customer base’s needs.
AAPEX 2017 kicks off this week. Anything new?
The theme at AAPEX this year is technology, and we’ll take this opportunity to showcase our mobile application, which was awarded a silver medal at the ACPN Knowledge Exchange Conference, and other online innovations like the geolocation of providers, the new European website and the upcoming link from our eCat to Online store. All our communication technology efforts are meant to facilitate access to our products, information, and education for customers and consumers. We are committed to going the extra mile to continuously improve customer support and service.
We’re also honored to host a conference with Jack Gillis, CAPA executive director, who will discuss the relevance of the new CAPA 601 radiator certification for the aftermarket. We look forward seeing you at booth No. 3033 and hope everyone will have a great AAPEX 2017.