It’s not often that one can position a new product that creates a significant, brand-building opportunity. If you can newly segment an existing category—and capitalize on the ongoing energy of that category—you’re sure to have a winner. The strategy for combining two existing categories, in this case, highly competitive hand lotions and growing hand sanitizers, should be to preempt, create and establish a new category name to minimize future competitive impact! History has shown that it is sure to come, if not from your heated branded competition, then from your mass retailers’ own private label brands—as soon as you present the concept!
Sanofi-Aventis missed an opportunity with its new Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer (yes, that’s the name!). The marriage of the burgeoning hand sanitizer business with an established hand care category is an easy call, but the entry may soon suffer the pains of commodity pricing unless you develop a product name that sets the bar so high that competitors must work that much harder. If you name (and trademark) the category at the starting gate, competitors will have a devil of a time not stepping on your toes. And if your consumer-benefit strategy ties right back to the name, you make it that much more difficult for the follower brands, while precluding the consumer’s need to try any other subsequent product! An additional bonus of combining two categories is the likelihood of dual store positions, with the extra volume benefits of doubling traffic for the brand.
It’s also essential to consider whether the new product offers the opportunity to create a new brand entirely, or even a sub-brand of the existing one. There are differences in strategy. When introducing a new brand name, along with a new specific product as the first entry, it’s important to distinguish between the objectives and functions of a new brand name, with those of its first product. A new brand name should project and embrace the attitude/imagery/benefits—real or imagined—for an entire future brand (assuming that the first product does serve as a vibrant launch pad). In contrast, the name of that first product should project the highest degree of benefit possible, also real or imagined, while ideally, it preempts/establishes a new category. In the case of Gold Bond, it would have been a much stronger strategy to position the new product as a sub-brand under Gold Bond Ultimate, with a preemptive name and packaging graphics for point-of-sale differentiation and dramatic impact.
Gold Bond missed an opportunity with its new moisturizing hand sanitizer.
While theBrandAudit scores are in the effective range with a total of 86.44, its essential flaw—the lack of a preemptive, new category name—will stunt its total opportunity, especially since the sanitizer segment is already a commodity. Within the audit are several key segments. Product scored a stellar 97.60, based upon news value, significant benefit and sanitizer category competitive edge. And since it appeals to both the high-need, and frequent user, it is destined to expand the market, neatly. Positioning (84.50), while good, was hampered by the lack of a preemptive name and little permission-to-believe (PTB), an essential motivating element, to minimize competitive threats. Consumer Appeal, powerful at 94.70, would have been even stronger with a package design to set it apart from the basic Gold Bond Ultimate line and enhance value perception, especially when the product will also be stocked in the competitively priced, sanitizer section. When a product can be placed in two shelving areas, how it fares in price comparison becomes a key element. Store placement presents an urgent need to provide added product-benefit value and visual impact. The CVS entry with some similar claims, is $7.99 for the same 12oz. vs. Ultimate’s $12.99, which sits right next to it (where else?) in the Gold Bond section! Finally, Competition (77.20) and Marketing Potential (77.30); while these categories are challenging for marketers because of competitive factors, the scores would have been higher with more preemptive leadership in a category name and a unique presentation of benefits.
TheAdAudit total score of 88.24 benefited from the high-scoring, all-benefitHeadline (94.10)—“Finally, a hand sanitizer that actually moisturizes!” There’s plenty of “what’s in it for her,” while it also suggests the drying nature of sanitizers, and thereby high need, all in one! The consumer’s perception is, “If it’s good for a nurse who uses it constantly, it will be great for me.” Visual Impact (81.15) presented the high-need user in a nurses’ station, authority setting, but was weakened by the inability to present a breakthrough and memorable product name and non-commodity impact, or a demo to support sanitizing and moisturizing benefits for PTB. Copy (83.30) has less impact without PTB, and also no incentivizing “permission-to-buy.” A little emotional connection does benefit from the slogan, “Kills Germs. Loves your Hands” at the very bottom. And, in very small type, “In Lotion and Sanitizing Aisles,” next to the package. Neat. Consumer Appeal (95.80) is in the powerful range, supported by high trust/fit with the brand image, understanding of her needs, and dissonance with ordinary hand sanitizers.
In sum, if you have created a new segment or category, make sure that you have done the maximum to own it—in every part of the marketing mix—and most especially, the product name! These opportunities do not come along every day.
TheBrandAudit and TheAdAudit are Grayson Associates’ proprietary testing techniques to determine the success potential of new product concepts and execution, and print advertising—prior to approval. For both new and existing products and advertising, the audits analyze their strengths and weaknesses against key competition. TheBrandAudit “keys to success” are based upon analysis of Product, Positioning, Consumer Appeal, Competition, and Marketing Potential. TheAdAudit measures Headline, Visual Impact, Copy, and Consumer Appeal. TheBrand & AdAudit appears bi-monthly. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org