Phillip Kalli from Ideal: How Can You Bring Authenticity to Marketing? The Family Business Voice
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As the son of a PhD in organic chemistry, Phillip Kalli was exposed to the discipline from a very young age. He distinctly remembers coming home from school one afternoon to find a makeshift laboratory set up in his London bedroom. The myriad of Bunsen burners, flasks and test tubes – a father’s experiment to confer his passion for science and entrepreneurship on the next generation – left a lasting impression on the boy. However, it took 25 years before Phillip’s aspirations in the family’s laundry detergent business came to bear.
As a young man, Phillip felt more of an affinity towards painting and music than atomic numbers and redox equations. After art college and university, Phillip managed a rock’n’roll band and worked for Mojo, a music magazine – an unconventional path, considering his current post.
In 2008, Phillip joined Ideal, the laundry detergent company his father began in 1980. Since 2015, he has filled the role of Managing Director. Today, Ideal is one of the UK’s leading independent detergent manufacturers, making private-label products for some of the country’s most prestigious brands, with contracts to some of the best independent commercial laundries.
Phillip describes his father, Mike, as a pioneer. However, he also admits that the founding generation’s marketing practices did not do justice to Ideal’s exceptional products.
With a strategy informed by his experiences in mainstream media (the music industry), digital marketing has become one of Phillip’s priorities as Ideal’s Managing Director. Under his leadership, Ideal’s marginal online presence has been revivified. Their branding emphasises fun, transparency and sustainability – a refreshing alternative to the false advertising claims and stay-at-home-mom stereotypes of the detergent industry’s traditional marketing campaigns.
Today, Ideal’s revolutionary approach extends well beyond the virtual world of digital marketing. One of the company’s most recent achievements has been the launch of an on-site launderette known as the Washeteria, a working factory transformed into a living showroom where consumers can get a better understanding of the company’s processes, see Ideal products in use and appreciate their efficacy first-hand.
We sat down with Phillip Kalli to talk about the early days of Ideal, the importance of authenticity in marketing and the various strengths family members add to the company.