Sales: $2.7 billion
Note: $2.7 billion for household, personal care and I&I products. Corporate sales: $6.2 billion
Key personnel: Benno Dorer, chair and chief executive officer; Linda Rendle, president; Kevin Jacobsen, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Kirsten Marriner, executive vice president and chief people officer; Eric Reynolds, executive vice president, household and lifestyle; Laura Stein, executive vice president and general counsel; Bill Bailey, senior vice president, corporate and business development; Diego Barral, senior vice president and general manager, international division; Troy Datcher, senior vice president and chief customer officer; Denise A. Garner, senior vice president and chief innovation officer; Stacey Grier, senior vice president and chief marketing officer; Andy Mowery, senior vice president and chief product supply officer
Major products: Household: Clorox, Formula 409, Liquid Plumr, Pine Sol and Green Works cleaning products; Personal Care: Burt’s Bees, Renew Life digestive help
New products: Clorox MyStain App, Scentiva disinfectant cleaners, Burt’s Bees Renewal Regimen
Comments: Consumers have been clamoring for Clorox of late. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said sales fell 3% for the first half of fiscal year 2020. Cleaning product sales declined 1% on a 1% increase in volume.
Of course, all of that changed when COVID-19 hit the US in February. CEO Benno Dorer noted than nearly overnight, demand surged 500% for some Clorox disinfecting products. To increase capacity, Clorox began running its cleaning and disinfecting products plants 24/7, refocused its plants to manufacture disinfectants, and accessed additional third party supply. The measures provided a big volume boost. From January through March, Clorox increased its supply of disinfectants by 40 million units, an increase of more than 40%. Still, supply couldn’t keep up with demand.
In an interview on the Today Show in May, Dorer said it might take until July before supply catches up with demand.
“In some cases, we sold as much in one week as we normally sell in one month,” he explained.
According to IRI, for the 52 weeks ended April 19, sales of Clorox wipes jumped more than 18%.
“We have had disruptions due to hurricanes and polar vortex in the past, but never one of this magnitude where there is a pandemic-induced forced economic shut down,” observed Cara Loeys, principal for growth consulting, IRI. “Consumers are not traveling or leaving their homes, airports, restaurants and other public places are closed. Government is spending massively to compensate. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and unprecedented.”
In another coronavirus-related move, within a few weeks of COVID-19 spreading to the US, Clorox created a 55-gallon bleach drum innovation that was delivered to some of the largest healthcare facilities in the US. Each drum cleans up to 14,000 hospital rooms.
The stagnant sales situation prior to the pandemic was mirrored in fiscal year 2019. Sales rose just 1% last year, with slight gains in cleaning and lifestyle segments partially offset by declines in household and international segments; international markets accounting for 15% of net sales. More specifically, cleaning segment sales rose 2%, as lower shipments in home care and laundry were offset by gains in professional product sales. The company blamed the decline, in part, on lower volume for Clorox disinfecting wipes. Growth in Burt’s Bees Natural Personal Care helped lifestyle sales rise. The company said Burt’s Bees gains were due to demand for lip care and face care products.
In December, the Clorox brand unveiled a new global logo that is said to better represent the company’s global purpose: “Clorox stands for a cleaner world where people can thrive.”
“When we clarified that brand purpose, we looked at all the ways we communicate with consumers,” explained Chris Hyder, VP/GM, cleaning. “We felt our approach needed to change, to become more forward-looking and modern. The logo redesign is part of that.”
Elena Otero, VP-international marketing, noted that Clorox first changed its advertising and it made sense to modernize the label and packaging design to bring in the more emotional aspects of the brand purpose.
“Since we’re taking a more human-centered approach to the brand, we want to have consistency in our graphic elements.”
According to Hyder, positioning the brand to be purpose-driven and human-centric, about what clean enables instead of about the process of clean—will unlock future growth.
That future for the brand and the company is laid out in Clorox’s Ignite Strategy, which is designed to accelerate innovation in key areas, even as it puts environmental, social and governance priorities at the forefront of decision-making. The plan is based on four ideas:
- Fuel growth by delivering cost-savings, while leveraging technology and sustainability;
- Innovate experiences by turning data into insights to create purpose-driven, personalized brands and deliver stickier innovation platforms while enhancing consumer shopping experiences;
- Reimagine work by galvanizing employees with a bolder, more inclusive workplace with simplified operations and more technology to fuel growth; and
- Evolve the playing field in and around core business by emphasizing consumer megatrends, including sustainability, and continue to lean in to enhance wellness and natural personal care.