- COLLABORATION: Works jointly with retailers to devise long-term category goals.
- SHOPPER INSIGHTS: Understand shopping behavior and need for multi-benefit products.
- MARKETING: Employs integrated marketing approach both in and out of store.
IN A VERY COMPETITIVE oral care arena, Colgate bares its teeth and maintains a category leadership position.
The company's strategies to category growth are accomplished by long-term, joint planning with retailers; understanding consumers and how they shop; and employing integrated marketing to demonstrate the benefits of new products.
The introduction of the Wisp portable mini-brush, which was voted 2010 Product of the Year and marketed through online video and social media, increased Colgate's market share of the U.S. manual toothbrushes to a record 32.2% last year. In the toothpaste segment, Colgate took the leadership position with 36.2%.
Earlier this year, Colgate introduced Wisp Plus Whitening with over 15 million impressions in the second quarter. Articles in Fitness and InStyle magazines and mentions on “The View” television program and numerous blogs further promoted awareness of the product as did sampling at colleges and conducting a Facebook fan drive.
Colgate works closely with the professional dental community, which ultimately drives consumers to retail. The company's sales staff is trained as oral care consultants who provide scientific information to dental professionals and communicate the science behind dental products to increase endorsements. Such recommendations from the professional community give Colgate a competitive advantage.
Last year, dental professionals played an important role in building credibility and consumer awareness for new Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief. The desensitizing polishing paste was first launched for in-office use by dental professionals in April 2009 at International Association for Dental Research, followed by the consumer launch.
Colgate also has been successful in building goodwill through its “Bright Smiles, Bright Future” oral health education and community outreach program, which has reached over 100 million children since the program began in 1991.
In its 2009 annual report, Ian Cook, Colgate's chairman, president and chief executive officer, points to the contribution of Colgate Business Planning in generating efficiencies when it comes to promotional spending. CBP, described as an “end-to-end commercial planning and execution process,” supported by SAP software, measures actual performance against goals and plans for each brand.
Colgate assembles cross-functional customer teams made up of members of customer development, marketing, customer service and finance to develop category-building plans with retailers and provide value to shoppers, according to the company's report.
Retailers voting online for SN's category excellence in oral care gave high marks to Colgate for understanding shopper trends and having a broad range portfolio of quality oral care products, many with value-added features that carry a wide range in price points up and down the spectrum. New product introductions are supported by integrated marketing communications, both in and out of the store.
Colgate declined to comment to SN about being recognized for its category building efforts at retail.
“We remain extremely focused on understanding today's consumer mindset and on delivering value-added new products at all price points globally,” Cook stated in the company's annual report.
COMPANY TO WATCH
PROCTER & GAMBLE: It's the blue Crest over the red Colgate toothpaste color on retailers' shelves that Procter & Gamble fights to establish and maintain. The company's oral care strategy is to expand through product innovation, regimen use and creative marketing concepts. “P&G is proactive in bringing new products to market,” said Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Marketing Group, Libertyville, Ill. He noted that P&G has been aggressive when it comes to co-op advertising with retailers. “P&G flier-supported coupon ads direct the consumer back to a specific retailer like Kroger or Jewel,” he said. Late last year, P&G launched the new Outlast trio of products: Scope Outlast mouthwash, Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast toothpaste and Oral-B Floss Picks Plus Scope Outlast. This year, the company introduced its Crest 3D Whitestrips, which work as a regimen to whiten teeth and provide health benefits. The line includes boxed kits. The Professional Effects formula retails for a suggested $55.99. Tom Vierhile, who follows new product trends and is director of product launch analytics for Datamonitor, Canandaigua, N.Y., called these new products “interesting and innovative.” The company is targeting the “tween” market, children aged 7-14, to combat tooth decay and gum disease with a new range of products under the Pro-Health FOR ME collection that includes toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwash and floss all specially designed for children. In conjunction with the new line, Crest and Oral-B have introduced a new iPhone and Android app, called “Yuck Mouth,” aimed at informing children of poor oral care and prevention.