Brand longevity is an admirable trait. There is something to be said of name recognition that spans generations. It’s powerful to see a grandson pick up the same product for his shop that his grandfather used before him.
But for companies and brands that have served the automotive aftermarket for many years, the element of longevity is not the only thing to consider. There is also the concept of change, which perseveres as time passes. For the aftermarket, navigating change takes dedication, innovation and the promise of continuing to deliver.
Purolator Filters is celebrating a major milestone this year: The brand is turning 100 years old. Daryl Benton is the vice president of sales and marketing for the automotive aftermarket at MANN+HUMMEL, the parent company of the Purolator brand.
“Anytime a brand reaches a milestone like 100 years, it is definitely something to celebrate,” says Benton. “It puts you into some pretty exclusive company.”
To acknowledge this anniversary, Benton says Purolator will continue to showcase its value as a brand that has been around for a century. But Purolator isn’t going to shy away from innovation, either.
“When I look at the role that this is going to play for us in terms of marketing and building our business overtime, there are quite a few things we can do,” Benton says. “Certainly [we] can help to reinforce that Purolator is a brand that has innovated and been a technology leader for 100 years, and also one that will continue to innovate and continue to build on that capability for at least the next 100 years.”
Benton explains that one of the goals for Purolator is to help “Purify Your World.”
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of the air that people breathe has been top-of-mind. Purolator has sought partnerships with other brands, such as Febreze to develop a cabin air filter, which Benton explains is mutually beneficial.
“We think that’s a way to really talk about how Purolator will continue to purify your world,” Benton says. “We see it as a way to really enhance the partnerships within the channel, our customers and trade partners, and how we can help them to leverage it as a way to grow their sales and grow their business.”
Benton says Purolator is also focusing on what’s to come for this industry with vehicle technology and electrification on the rise. Benton says Purolator will provide continued dedication to its filtration products while also working to develop technology that can be used now and further down the road.
“There are lots of pieces that are in the works that are going to help us continue to extend this brand into the future,” Benton says.
Know Your Value
Purolator is confident in the value that it can add to vehicles, Benton explains. He says that regardless of vehicle type, the filters play an important role.
“For us at Purolator, the idea of whether you’re in an electric vehicle or a gas-powered vehicle … filtering the air that’s on the inside is going to matter because that’s where the people and the pets are and where we think that we can add a lot of value,” Benton says.
Over the years, Benton says drivers have become more aware of the filters in their vehicles and the need to change them out. This has allowed Purolator to remain relevant throughout its 100 years, as the need for filters is constant. But there is still a disconnect for some drivers, causing them to put off replacing components such as cabin filters. Benton sees this as another opportunity for Purolator to make a lasting impact.
“Based on our data, currently the average vehicle only changes its cabin air filter once every five years. If you think about your heating and air conditioning filter, if you change it once every five years it would be a pretty disgusting thing by the time you pulled it out,” Benton says. “The same is true of the cabin air filters. So, increasing the frequency of when it gets changed and the awareness that it even exists, this is something that we see as a huge part of what’s going to allow this continued growth and importance in the future.”
All in all, Benton says innovation is a necessary part of existing in this industry. It’s about knowing the value that can be provided and committing to continuing that service in relevant ways. Over the next 100 years, there is certain to be more change to come. But Benton says it’s all about the approach, and Purolator is up to the task.
“One thing that I feel very confident about going forward is that vehicles are going to exist and the need for aftermarket service of those vehicles is going to exist well into the future,” Benton says. “So, we have to adapt and innovate how we serve the market and what we do to make that future bright for us because there’s going to be vehicles on the road for a very, very long time into the future.”