Philips Domestic Appliances: empowering families by turning houses into homes

Alessandro Michele is leaving Gucci

After a successful seven-year run, Gucci announced that its creative director Alessandro Michele was leaving the company. “There are times when paths part…

Philips Domestic Appliances: empowering families by turning houses into homes

Home just used to be a place where people could go back to, plop into a couch or their individual beds to rest their weary bodies after a hard day’s work.  Now, home has evolved into a dynamic all-in-one dwelling hub where parents work, where children learn, and where more and more families get entertained and even shop from.  But while the Covid-19 pandemic has changed people’s concept of home, it has not altered the fact that it remains to be a special space where families get together over fresh homemade meals, celebrate milestones, and make memories together.  Indeed, home is still where the ‘hearth’ is, that is why it is imperative that families go through lengths to nurture and protect it at all costs.  

Philips Domestic Appliances recognizes the basic need to secure and nurture all families who—for two years now—have been stuck at home trying to eat healthy, shop, watch movies, study, and learn, and even work.  To foster health, and safety, Philip’s Airfryer and Air Purifier have provided the solution to every family member’s desire to eat healthy, while being protected from the threat of COVID-19 virus. 

Healthy and fast family meals 

The Airfryer has become a staple in every family kitchen during the pandemic that in October 2021, the word ‘air fryer’ has earned a spot in the Meriam Webster dictionary—11 years after the very first air fryer was introduced by Royal Philips in 2010—a proof of its current immense global popularity.  

Philips Domestic Appliances

Filipino foodies have a certain love affair with fried food, and fortunately for those who have resolved to start eating healthy without compromising flavor and experience, Philips Air Fryer saves the day.  Philips is the brand that started it all and pioneered the air fryer craze and its Airfryer is a heavy-duty but convenient multi-function cooker that can be used to fry your favorite fried food sans the guilt, as it cooks with 75% less fat than the traditionally fried dishes.  Philips boasts of its Rapid Air Technology for faster, healthier cooking using less to no oil.  It features a non-stick coated drawer with an easily detachable bottom ensuring quick cleaning.  Its user-friendly digital interface allows you to adjust the temperature and set the timer, so you could lessen the cooking time while taking your frying experience to the next level.  The handy Philips Airfryer could also be used to bake, roast, and grill, and is perfect on any kitchen countertop.   

Ipek Akinci, Philips Domestic Appliances’ Country Manager for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Emerging Markets, shared the company’s interesting Air Fryer journey. “Our Airfryer has been so popular over the past two years especially during the pandemic when people started to eat at home and be more health conscious by preparing fresh home-cooked meals.  In the Philippines, we have seen a 900% increase in our Air Fryer sales from 2020 to 2021.  That’s a tremendous increase and it is here to stay,” she said.  

In the Asia Pacific region, close to two million units of Philips Airfryers were sold from 2019 to 2021.  Now that more people have discovered the benefits of the Airfryer and its ease of use, more inner home cooks in every family are getting into the trend, while others are upgrading to new models and specs thus, Philips Domestic Appliances are forecasting a double-digit sales growth in its Airfryer. 

The air we breathe

Clean air is crucial.  Taking care of the family and putting their safety first includes ensuring the quality of air that they breathe even inside the home.  Studies show that indoor air quality is two to five times worse than outdoors air due to the gas, dust, and other elements that create indoor pollution.  Thus, families now have been turning to air purifiers, as it can refresh stale air and lessen the odds of health issues triggered by the presence of the Coronavirus, and other indoor pollutants that could cause allergies, infections, aggravate respiratory concerns, and could even exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms.      

While most air purifiers have only gained popularity at the onset of this global health scare, Philips Air Purifier has already been around even pre-pandemic, as the company has always been an advocate of Clean Air.  With the Covid-19 virus, Philips has efficiently pivoted its Air Purifier to disseminate information and awareness about how it could help mitigate COVID-19 transmission. 

Philips Domestic Appliances

“During pre-pandemic, we marketed our Air Purifier as an effective device against bacteria, viruses, and dust mites, and focused on increasing awareness about the quality of airHowever, because of the Covid health crisis, we emphasized that our Air Purifier has HEPA-filters inside them and has a high-efficiency particle air filter which can filter bacteria and viruses, similar to those that are used in the hospitals,” Akinci said.  Philips Air Purifier has proven its breakthrough technology to be most the effective against the unseen enemy.  “Numerically, the heap-filters of Philips Air Purifier can filter even a particle as small as 3 nanometers, and studies show that the COVID-19 virus is 50-140 nanometers.  So, if our air purifiers can filter 3 nanometers of virus, it is capable of filtering anything bigger than that,” she accentuated. 

It is undeniable that most families had one or more members who were struck by COVID-19, and Philips Air Purifier has played a critical role during such circumstances to keep the virus at bay.  Being able to remove 99.97% of all airborne pollutants up to 0.003 microns in just six minutes, Philips Air Purifier boasts of its Wi-Fi, Alexa, and Siri connectivity.  Since the COVID-19 crisis is far from over, and with other bacteria, allergens, and pollutants everywhere, it is safe to say that next to the massive purchase of the air fryer, the sales of the Philips Air Purifier have also increased tremendously during the pandemic, particularly in the Philippines. 

Philips’ woman-on-top is breaking the bias

Turkish-Dutch Ipek Akinci is the ideal epitome of a woman who challenges assumptions and pre-conceived notions by being one of the corporate Thought Leaders who has dominated the retail landscape, despite the health and economic crisis, and has successfully broken stereotypes and biases about women’s capability to lead any industry. 

Prior to being Philips’ Domestic Appliances’ Country Manager for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Emerging Markets, Akinci was the Consumer Marketing Director for Male Grooming with Royal Philips and was responsible for developing and managing global marketing and product development strategies for Philips FaceTrim category with a focus on India, USA, Germany, France, and the UK. Akinci also held various roles in Royal Philips since she joined the company in 2008, merely as a Management Trainee and then moved to hold various roles including Junior Marketing Manager, Marketing Manager (Garment Care), and finally Senior Consumer Marketing Manager (Male Grooming).

“I was born and raised in Turkey but in the past seven years, I lived in The Netherlands when I was already with Philips, and I have been working with the company across different countries including Turkey, Germany, Netherlands and now in the APEC Region responsible for Singapore, Malaysia and emerging markets operations, and based in Singapore,” she said.  Akinci holds a Masters in Science Degree in Engineering Management Systems from Columbia University, School of Engineering and Applied Science New York and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Bogazici University, Faculty of Engineering Istanbul, Turkey.

As Philips Domestic Appliances’ frontrunner, Akinci admits that her leadership style has transitioned during the pandemic as she has become more involved and more emphatic of her team. “Pre pandemic, I was not as involved in the lives of our employees. Relationship was more like a day-to-day-in-the-office basis. The circumstances have taught me to be more compassionate, to listen and understand the challenges that people are facing, and to go deeper than just the business relationship with them, because at the end of the day, people are our biggest assets. If they are not motivated, if they are not happy, how could your business succeed?” she challenged.

As a wife with two children, Akinci admits that becoming a mother has changed her general perception of life, even outside of motherhood, as she is now expressing more empathy and care for her employees and teammates. Her parenthood style?  “As a mom, I am firm but loving but I love to listen to how my kids express themselves when they can or cannot. Because of them, I have become more aware of things that are not expressed, and I try to apply this with my employees so I could be able to understand the underlying issue without them being able to say it. It is a very important gift that I have gained after becoming a mother, and I also see myself using that gift every day,” she smiled. 

March, being the International Women’s Month, Akinci shared thoughts about equality and inclusivity as keys to achieving a more diverse and healthier workplace. “We all need to cultivate a positive work environment starting from: how do we recruit people? Do we define certain roles for certain gender? Do we also have personal biases? Or practical things like sharing your gender ratio in your company or what is your goal to improve it?  Are we willing to raise the general awareness of gender equality in the office? Are you talking about this openly? Are you warning your colleague if you sense there is inequality?” Akinci said and encouraged the corporate industry to support women.  

As a corporate leader, a woman, and a mom, Akinci had this to say: “The pandemic has impacted the working women more than it did the working men. That is because women are expected to do more house chores, which should not be the case. What is really important is to show compassion, to understand people’s hopes, fears, what motivates them, and what their circumstances are,” she said. Akinci believes that the proverbial glass ceiling is being increasingly broken, as more and more women like her are walking into higher ranks in the companies, proving that while women are not completely ‘there’ yet, they have started walking the journey to #BreakTheBias, one step at a time.

The Philips’ legacy

Philips Domestic Appliances, a 130-year-old start-up company, is guided by its basic but powerful objective to help families turn their houses into homes with its anthology of innovative digital products across kitchen appliances, garment, coffee, and a breadth of other home care products.  Apart from the celebrated Air Fryer and Air Purifier, it has a roster of other successful product ranges including the Fully Automatic Espresso Machine (with LatteGo), the Perfect Care Elite steam generator, and the SpeedPro Max vacuum cleaner.

During the pandemic crisis, Philips Domestic Appliances has seamlessly pivoted its sales and marketing efforts to the use of the digital space or e-commerce.  “As consumers started to shift their behavior toward online shopping, the APEC region has seen the biggest shift globally.  80% of our customers say that online shopping is convenient, safe, and they will stick to it. Thus, we believe that e-commerce will continue to expand, and 60% of full retail by 2025 in the APEC region are expected to come from the e-commerce platform,” Akinci explained. 

The company is currently reorganizing its system and strengthening its e-commerce. The shift of consumers in using the internet for information and shopping has also created a very dynamic digital marketing effort.   According to Akinci, marketing now is based on user-generated content, compelling the company to have an entirely different approach to marketing because it forces the brands to be, not only data-driven, but also to be more authentic.  Its marketing strategy, therefore, has also included working closely with key countries and key opinion leaders so it could be able to create that authentic voice, and make sure that the company reaches the right audience.

Philips Domestic Appliances is not only exemplary in its products but also the way it treats employees and even Mother Nature. As the thin line between work and life has blurred, Philips puts premium in the employees’ work-life balance by initiating an employee assistance program, a hotline that runs 24/7 to support our employees when they need help.  

“We intend to keep our flex-working hours even after the pandemic by adopting a 3-2 hybrid working arrangement.  This means that employees could work three days from anywhere, and two days from the office, so we could have some teamwork together. We also have our “Oxygen Friday”, where our team don’t take any meetings, unless it is for coaching purposes or training related, to give them breathing space so they can fully focus on the work to be done, and think of strategic initiatives, while minding themselves, too and how they can evolve as an employee,” Akinci revealed.

The catchphrases in the new businesses-as-usual is innovation with compassion and sustainability, and as Philips Domestic Appliances is looking into its 2022 initiatives, it also wants to achieve growth in a sustainable way.  The company has recently launched its Eco-conscious breakfast collection, a range of products that are 100% from bio-based plastics from used cooking oil.  With this breakthrough innovation, the company is contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions by 21%.  The collection includes the stylish, minimalist, and nature-inspired kettle, toaster, and the coffee maker which are built to last, for everyday use.  

“With the launch of this Eco-conscious breakfast collection, we have partnered with EcoMatcher in the Philippines, an organization that champions tree-planting and for every purchase of the Eco-conscious breakfast range, they will plant a tree in the Philippines,” Akinci beamed.  Consumers can redeem trees and track their tree via satellite maps.  With the ForestSounds, tree recipients can also immerse themselves and listen to the sound of their tree’s location. 

Akinci admits that the journey has just begun but they will continue to be bullish on the economy and grow the company further.  “From a product perspective, we will still lead the way in the kitchen appliance category, especially the multi-cooker Air Fryer and Air purifiers.  These are the key categories which we will focus on, in the coming period.  But this is only just the beginning, and we will continue understanding the Filipino consumers better, so we can better cater to their needs and turn every Filipino household into a home,” she concluded. BrandRoom/JC