Online Exclusives

Striking the Right Tone

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | November 15, 2010

The Tone brand has been completely repositioned over the past several years. With a new look, an on-trend ingredient story and targeted promotional campaigns, this middle-age soap brand is attracting a new audience.

It isn’t your mother’s soap anymore. Tone, a soap brand born in 1973—and an early adopter of the “naturals” story—has been revitalized thanks to a much-needed initiative from Henkel’s marketing team.

The reason behind the relaunch was simple: the Tone brand was in a slump, according to Celeste Calderon, brand manager, Tone, Coast and Pure & Natural. Despite efforts over the years to freshen up the line with liquid soaps and shower gels, Tone’s sales were declining. Previous efforts to “freshen up the line” with liquid hand soaps and with body wash were successful, such as with the Tone Sugar Glow body wash. However, it was proving increasingly hard to keep up with the market, and the brand was starting to see declines, even with new innovation.
“Any time you relaunch a brand it is daunting, but because sales had been declining, we knew it was time,” Calderon told *Happi. “Looking at the competition, we knew we needed to differentiate ourselves.”
So starting in 2007, the Tone team set out to give the brand “its own energy,” Calderone said.
That meant talking to consumers to gather qualitative and quantitative data about the brand and the soap/body wash category in general, and updating the packaging to a more sophisticated silhouette with a modern logo and a design that called greater attention to the distinct benefits each SKU offered.
Daily Detox is new from Tone.
Tone also embarked on new promotional campaign to attract new customers.
The relaunch effort, which kicked off in 2009 with a new look for bars, body washes and hand soaps, revved up in 2010 when Tone inked a partnership with MTV and hit television show “The Hills”—mediums that would to younger audience, many of whom may not have been familiar with the middle-age brand, admitted Calderon.
“We had been quiet; the younger consumer hadn’t heard from us,” said Calderon, noting that the brand forged a greater connection with those ages 18-24 via its MTV alliance.
This spring, Tone worked with RedLever to create the Tone VideoBox, an interactive music platform that allowed consumers to watch music videos and behind the scenes content from some of their favorite music recording artists and also provided information on Tone's Daily Detox body wash.
Tone’s marketing team continues to enlist digital and social media to keep the conversation going with younger customers.
In late October, for example, Tone launched its first Facebook page, featuring the Tone Backstage Pass Series, an every other week live chat with emerging musicians. First up was singer Orianthi, scheduled for Nov. 9.
The brand has also created the Tone Music Channel on Pandora Internet Radio.
Tone bars come in a variety of flavors, including blueberry.
“We want to connect beyond the shower—be her inside source to new trends and ingredients,” Calderon noted.
And there’s a lot more to Tone’s ingredients than cocoa butter. Within the current stable are body washes such as Daily Detox White Clay & Pink Jasmine, Blueberry, Tahitian Vanilla & Orchid, Mango Splash, Almond Milk and Sugar Glow; bars in Blueberry, Original Scent, Mango Splash and Almond Milk and foaming hand wash in Orange Blossom and White Freesia.
The hard work has paid off for the brand. Tone has become one of the fastest growing women's body wash brands year-to-date. Tone body wash dollar sales are up 22.6% year-to-date in FDMx and is now one of the fastest growing women's body wash brands year-to-date, based on data from SymphonyIRI Group for the YTD ending October 3, 2010.

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