Yesterday evening we received a phone call from Jean-Baptiste Santoul, General Manager Laundry & Home Care Benelux at Henkel. “Are you still in Amsterdam?” He asked. “I want to share with you the new sustainability strategy that we developed. It’s called Achieving more with less. Can we meet in Wash & Coffee?”
We have known Jean-Baptiste for quite some years already and we spoke a lot about Henkel and sustainability. But we knew something new was coming up. “Amsterdam? I asked, “have you moved your offices to Amsterdam lately?”
“No, not really,” Jean-Baptiste said, “but I would like to meet in our Wash & Coffee store in Amsterdam, “it’s a laundromat re-imagined. Next to the washing part, there is a part coffee shop and a part community hub, with events that include everything from stand-up comedy to live music to charity drives. A perfect place to meet and talk about Achieving more with less.”
“That sounds like a plan,” I said, “see you tomorrow.”
Well, tomorrow is today and we park our bikes in front of the Wash & Coffee in the centre of Amsterdam. We stand in front of this laundromat, look inside where we see a very stylish interior. People sitting at the small tables having a coffee, eating a sandwich or surfing the web while waiting for their washing cycle to finish.
As we enter the store we see Jean-Baptiste sitting at a table observing the screen of his laptop. As we come closer he looks up and a smile appears on his face. “Welcome to Wash & Coffee,” he says, “how was your trip?”
“This is a real cool concept,” I say making a large movement with my arm. “What is the idea behind it?”
“You could call it a kind of brand extension,” Jean-Baptiste replies. “Traditionally we put our products in the supermarket and wait for the consumers to come and make their pick. Wash & Coffee gives us the opportunity to be directly in contact with the consumer.”
“Consumer engagement?” I say.
“Yes… engagement, interaction,” he continues, “but not only about our products. By organising events like meetings or live music, we play a role in the local community. It gives us the opportunity to work our way up in relevancy. From a low interest product, like a detergent, to high involvement as a local meeting place.”
“So you’re moving from global to local?” I ask.
“In a way, yes,” he answers, “but we’re expending to other cities, as we speak. Amsterdam has the second Wash & Coffee concept store, after Munich, but more are in the making.”
“By the way, would you like a coffee?” Jean-Baptiste says, “so I can tell you about our new sustainability strategy, Achieving more with less.”
“Cafe latte would be nice,” I say, “but the Achieving more with less story would be even better.”
Tags: Jean-Baptiste Santoul, Jean-Baptiste, Santoul, Henkel, France,