Not many higene are known to be very bold in their marketing. With Essity, the scenario wasn’t very different. When Essity reached out to us, they were looking for new ways to strengthen their business, to find something that would give them a new edge against competitors. They wanted to move beyond product benefits and look into societal benefits and new ways to engage modern families, to do this, we had to define their brand purpose. No other company in the sector was looking at purpose, instead all marketing was product-based. We had to therefore dive into the reality of the market discover the potential causes the brand could act on behalf, what battles were worth fighting that were relevant to their consumers and to the company’s product?
One of the biggest challenges of this case was to make sure that the entire Essity team was on board to change. The leader of the team was enthusiastic to do the work on defining purpose, but would everyone agree? Would this new idea move within the company?
In workshops carried out with over 30 consumers in Hungary, Russia and in France, we were able to identify potential social causes that were coherent to the brand. The Essity team however were still not very convinced that we were on the right path. We decided to therefore change the dynamics of the workshop groups and bring in activists, creative agencies and media partners, who confirmed that the battle we wanted to take on with Essity, of gender race, was a cause that not only did people feel personally engaged in but it also played a role in the dynamics of family life. Bringing in the activists gave us and the company proof that we were onto something significant. By using the influence of such a large company, we could potentially bring real opportunities and impacts to society. Together with this group, we co-created ideas as to how the brand could represent this new position – as one of the main challenges would be to consistently root purpose to the brand’s products.
As a consulting and strategy company, we truly believe that our role is to help brands grow with purpose and with positive impact. To us, a business with purpose is one that uses its assets at best, to be useful to its ecosystem and thrives on this because people recognize the value it brings. With Essity, we believed that the brand had potential to go beyond product and because they were open and willing to give purpose an opportunity, we were able to explore the social cause that made sense for them as a brand. 20 months after our initial contact with Essity, the campaign to fight gender stereotypes launched, reaching very high engagement rates. On the month that followed the launch, Essity received over 17k unique visits to the company’s website, over 240k views of the video ad and 2.4k shares of the campaign on facebook. The campaign went viral resulting a 48.9% lift in ad recall, outperforming any other global brand campaign. The campaign also got a lot of good press, improving the brand’s positive image.