page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154

many years and we recognised it could not sustain the company for ever. It had become imperative to explore new opportunities and possibilities if Hamilton was not to be left behind," he explains. To date, Hunter sees his most important achievement as spearheading a new drive to strengthen and optimise the Hamilton brand. Improving the marketing and sales functions has been a major preoccupation. "We want the name of Hamilton to be synonymous with a quality product that is recognised far more widely; and that means building on the strengths and values of the brand as well as expanding the product range. We have a well established niche position in the southern African retail paint market, but there is still enormous untapped potential," he comments. There are a number of facets to his plans to take the Hamilton brand forward. "Firstly, we want to find new products and new ways to do things," he says. "We mainly make and sell paint brushes and our strap line is 'the perfect finish', so we are looking for products, services and solutions that complement that proposition." A paintbrush may not seem like the easiest basis for innovation or exciting line extensions, but Hunter believes it lends itself to a number of new variants on the core product that have not yet been brought to market. He does not wish to be drawn on the details, but he believes that Hamilton can take the humble paint brush to new heights with a series of clever innovations that will be unveiled later in the year. He is also determined not to be limited by past experience. Industrial markets represent a new and attractive sales opportunity, but he does not necessarily want to be limited to collaboration within the paint industry. "Other industries, like mining for example, are expanding very rapidly and some elements of our brush technology could be applicable there. We don't want to limit ourselves to a paint environment," he says.As well as moving into new market segments, Hunter is also casting a keen eye towards new geographical markets. He is keen to move the Hamilton brand onto a global platform and the company has just established its first export division. This, he hopes, will quickly see the company extend its reach beyond sub-Saharan Africa. "We are part of the Freeworld Coating Group, which already has a global footprint and could provide us with a ready-made springboard into Australia and China. Meanwhile, we are already in talks to establish a direct presence in Europe," he says. All companies within the group enjoy a high level of autonomy, but Hunter believes there could be a number 80 April 10

of benefits from establishing closer partnerships. Again, this is something he intends to explore in the future. "For example, we have a number of obvious synergies with Plascon, which is the largest paint company within South Africa, because the relationship between brushes and paint has an obvious synergy. Cross-merchandising and cross-branding are possibilities, but we have yet to really look at these in detail. I believe we could both also gain a lot from a better understanding of our markets and customers and sharing that information with each other."This year, he expects to see growth of 25 per cent as a result of the renewed marketing drive. Next year should be even better. "If all our various product and marketing initiatives could be put in place simultaneously, we could easily double the size of the business overnight," he says. Increasingly, Hunter sees the success of Hamilton depending on its marketing and branding strengths rather than its competence as a manufacturer. At present, approximately 50 per cent of brushes are manufactured Hamilton BrushApril 10 81directly, with the remainder outsourced to the Far East, but he has a strong desire to see some manufacturing activity continue. "Social responsibility is very important to us. We strive to look after our employees and over 100 people depend on our manufacturing operations for their livelihood," he explains. "We also care about delivering value to our customers and our impact on the environment. These are long-held core values that we do not want to change, although we do want to change the focus of the business in other ways."For a number of years, this company was far too narrowly focused," Hunter continues. "Now, we are firmly on the map as a vibrant and dynamic company with many exciting new developments on the horizon. Within the next year, we expect to see our strategy for the world beyond sub-Saharan Africa coalesce. We will also see a broadening of both our product portfolio and customer base and the Hamilton brand moving from strength to strength," he concludes. - Editorial research by Jeff Abbott