In a world where transparency is becoming more important, focusing on a B2B strategy isn’t enough
Just in time of the European Outdoor Summit in Interlaken, we spoke to Harold Weghorst, the VP of Lenzing Global Brand Management. With years of experiences in brand management, he has been driving the leading cellulose fibers company’s transformation from a B2B to a B2B2C company, based on a simplified ingredient brand strategy and brand portfolio.
1. What was your overall Ingredient Brand strategy in order to get closer to the consumer?
Lenzing has been a B2B company for over 80 years. Our fibers can be found in diverse textile and non-woven applications such as jeans, T-shirts, dresses, pillows, bedlinens, towels, panty liners and baby wipes across the world. Yet it doesn’t mean that our brands are widely known. In a world where transparency and sustainability are becoming more and more important, focusing on a B2B strategy isn’t enough.
Therefore, we decided to shift our strategy to B2B2C, or B2ME as we call it, a strategy that doesn’t focus only focus on the fibers and its characteristics, but more on what our products can do for the consumer and end-user. We took the opportunity to rationalize our brand portfolio and significantly reduced the number of trademarks. Our overall ingredient brand strategy is based on a limited number of brands which are based upon a strong brand promise.
2. Cellulosic Fibers are a quite competitive industry, however TENCEL™ seems to be gaining a lot of momentum lately. What are the key elements for that success?
The success of TENCEL™ is a combination of a brand promise that is relevant and delivers. Even though it has been around for many years before we started the new brand strategy, we discovered that the brand awareness was relatively low and those consumers who knew it were not very sure what it stands for. Due to that they were quite “on-the-fence” when it comes to loyalty.
The real benefits TENCEL™ offers in terms of comfort and sustainability are very important purchase drivers for consumers. In our new brand strategy, we made TENCEL™, the premium brand for textile fibers with the brand promise built on ‘feeling good naturally’.
The tagline ‘Feels so right’ reflects the gentleness to the skin, hand-feel and softness on one hand and at the same time gives the consumer the confidence that they are doing the right thing for the environment. Besides that, we have been putting more efforts into co-branding, giving more visibility to consumers on where to find TENCEL™ in the market.
3. Another important topic when speaking about sustainability at the moment are wipes.
You have recently launched the VEOCEL™ brand for wipes, made of compostable and biodegradable cellulosic fibers. How do you see the brand developing in the future?
VEOCEL™ as a brand for natural everyday care made from biodegradable material has high potential. The issue of plastics in nonwoven products is becoming more evident. Take for example baby wipes. Many of them are made from synthetic materials like polyester which create waste and take decades, if not centuries to biodegrade.
The Single Use Plastics directive that the EU is working on, is an initiative which aims to create a stronger awareness around the harmful environmental effect of these and other types of disposable products we are using. With our new VEOCEL™ brand for nonwoven products such as wipes, facial masks and hygiene products we are well positioned to offer our consumers a biodegradable alternative, made from sustainable wood sources.