Canadian Grocer just published a flattering piece on Kruger (originally lumber and B2B products, they later moved into B2C tissue products- Cashmere, Purex, Scotties, SpongeTowels, etc).
Undoubtedly the article will eventually disappear; so be it. Tissue is used once …and discarded. But props to Kruger succeeding, when many counted them out. Tissue is an industry I worked in- familiar with the manufacturing methods, mills, brands & competitors! So I watched closely & wish to bring attention to a few things Kruger, a B2B firm, did shockingly well when they got into B2C.
- They hired Consumer Marketing professionals, rather than try to ‘convert’ B2B Industrial Sales & Marketing pros to (vastly different) B2C. Many B2B firms err here; B2B giant Cisco created amazing Flip cameras that had potential, but B2B giant Cisco firm was weak at marketing to consumers. Same for Blackberry- adept at B2B marketing to carriers, inept at B2C. 3M invented an ace performance golf glove, then bypassed sports/boutique stores altogether to launch in… Mass Merch (?!) … because it’s the channel the current Marketing & Sales team was familiar with. Ouch.
- Kruger transitioned brands (as required by law in this case) with brilliance; Scott TowelsTM became SpongeTowelsTM; CottonelleTM became CashmereTM in elegant steps of evolution; I bet there was doubt, stress & chaos behind the scenes, but consumers saw a smoooooth change. Props!
- They spent– as competitors cut media spend on tissue, Kruger was spending, building brand identity, awareness.
- They’re bold; they sponsored World Fashion Week events, hiring designers to create daring outfits … in tissue! Their TV campaign ‘Only Human’ (yes that tune, by ‘Rag’n’Bone Man) is imo a refreshing message of earthy reality, in stark contrast to the continued idealistic KleenexTM messaging about caring in a broader context, or their current call-to-action, an invitation to ‘nurture’ with a tissue.
- They believe in QA; the leading tissue brand took decades of ‘base sheet reductions’ (cut cost by taking length, width & thickness from each tissue); their 2 ply tissue is tiny & transparent, while Kruger’s tissue, Scotties, is built for actual human use (see Point 4 on Kruger’s current ad campaign)
- They put money back into the community- investing in Crohns Research, supporting curling across genders at Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and more. Canadians notice such moves – values matter!
Of course, it didn’t hurt Kruger that top US-based competitors (Kimberly-Clark & P&G), took attention off the tissue market & made some baffling missteps, but credit should be given; Kudos to Team Kruger. You’re only human- but your success is still an absorbing story.