K-C: a health brand combining purpose & creativity to create new value

One trait of high-energy brands is purpose beyond profit.

On the purpose front, says Jack Neff, in his Adage.com article Creativity Marks This Spot: K-C Thrives in Tiny Neenah, “K-C’s marketers really do touch and improve lives, and they do it all in a highly creative manner that gets noticed.”

He points to the following examples of K-C’s balance of purpose and creativity. At the same time, however, K-C also delivers on another high-energy brand lever of creating highly spreadable communication. Some examples:

• Whoopi Goldberg creating a series of webisodes-turned-ads featuring women in history with light-incontinence issues (who admits suffering the condition herself)

• fashion designer Patricia Field designing sanitary pads

• Tyra Banks devoting a show to U by Kotex feminine pads

• Oval and fruit-slice-inspired wedge-shaped Kleenex packages that helped reverse a decline in household penetration. And then using traditional and social media to induce a million people to send samples of a softer Kleenex to friends last fall and winter.

• Depend, which is now is replacing what looked like adult Goodnites (which has helped millions of kids outgrow bedwetting with minimal embarrassment) with what look more like men’s and women’s underwear. It adds some dignity to what the marketers describe as a “heroic” brand, and it has its own anonymous social network where experienced users help new ones cope.

• Kotex and Poise, which marketers long assumed no one wanted to talk about publicly, have found quite the opposite. Marketing became the therapy in some cases, as talking openly about “light bladder leakage” allowed more women to recognize they had the problem, that it wasn’t so unusual, and that they could buy the right products for it, said Melissa Sexton, director of integrated marketing planning on K-C’s adult- and feminine-care businesses.

What other health brands balance purpose with profits? And at the same time, create infectious, spreadable communication?

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About The Author

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand strategy and activation firm specializing in helping propel brands and businesses forward across Healthcare, Wellness and Personal Care. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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