Brand relaunch: No child’s play 

Kimberly-Clark is looking to shake up the kids’ diaper market

Little wonder, Kimberly-Clark has focused its marketing plan around the relaunch of the Huggies brand of diapers and wipes for children on the digital media.
Little wonder, Kimberly-Clark has focused its marketing plan around the relaunch of the Huggies brand of diapers and wipes for children on the digital media.

If your ideal customers are likely to be new parents or maybe even seasoned parents who have a few kids, chances are they have grown up using the internet, cell phones and social media, which would make digital marketing a key component of your overall business strategy.

Little wonder, Kimberly-Clark has focused its marketing plan around the relaunch of the Huggies brand of diapers and wipes for children on the digital media. The brand has just rolled out its digital campaign, “We got you, baby”, promising to make the world “a more comfortable place for babies”. Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the film uses a voiceover of a child complaining about its discomfort with diapers. A Huggies product comes to the  rescue, soothing the baby with its softness and absorption strength.

Huggies will kick off a 360-marketing media plan soon. At the time of the relaunch, Saakshi Verma Menon, marketing director, Kimberly-Clark India, said, “As a challenger brand in India, it is imperative for us to break the clutter and stand out as a preferred brand.”

Being in a high-involvement category, getting out of the rabbit hole of cuteness and offering consumers a compelling reason to buy is non-negotiable. From the looks of it, the first part of Kimberly-Clark’s plan is spot on. “The use of babies who are dissatisfied and want more from their diapers is an entertaining spin on growing up in a world where everyone, including the parents, is more demanding,” says Nisha Sampath, brand consultant and managing partner, Bright Angels Consulting. “The new identity will definitely grab attention.”

As part of the relaunch, Huggies has embraced a new visual language via its packaging design across the range that spotlights the brand’s key attributes such as softness, absorption strength, comfortable fit and so on. Two questions need to be answered here: Is the revamp only about making your voice heard on a new medium? And second, if the whole initiative is more than skin deep, what was the need for that big makeover?

Need for revamp

The relaunch of the brand comes at a time when competition in the children’s diaper market in India is heating up with the entry of a host of new players, such as Dabur India, which set foot in the segment in 2021 as part of its strategy to expand its baby care portfolio. Industry experts note that factors such as rising hygiene awareness, growing purchasing power of consumers, along with a robustly growing middle-class population are pushing the diaper market growth in the country.

As per Statista, revenue in the baby diapers segment in the country will touch $6.51 bn in 2023, up from $5.93 in 2022. But the average per capita revenue remains low — at $4.22 in 2022, going up to $4.58 in 2023. The major players operating in the market are Procter &Gamble’s Pampers, Unicharm’s MamyPoko Pants, Himalaya Baby Diapers, and Nobel Hygiene, with the last brand recently raising Rs 132 crore from its existing investor to accelerate growth. According to the industry estimates, Pampers commands 46% of the market share, followed by MamyPoko Pants at 40%, Huggies at 6%, and Noble Hygiene at 3% share.

The market for baby care products overall is undergoing a rapid change, with parents becoming more aware of the quality, safety, functionality, and trustworthiness of brands. Advancements in fabrics, absorption capabilities, and special user-friendly features keep competitors in the diaper market scrambling to keep up with each other, but the key to surviving in the business, according to experts, will be innovation and cost optimisation with improved manufacturing efficiency. “Young mothers are becoming more discerning and they research brand claims thoroughly and make sure that their babies get the ‘best’ they can afford. In India, we have this belief that natural products are best for babies — which explains the more common use traditional cloth diapers,” says Sampath, adding, “so brands must innovate in the area of delivering products that are natural, safe, and yet effective.”

Kimberly-Clark’s Menon says, “As long as we understand what consumers want, in some sense pre-empt what they might need but are not able to articulate and offer consumers products that they are willing to accept and pay a premium for, that’s when innovation becomes consumer-centric. That’s the approach we are following.”

Sampath adds that for the category to grow fast, brands must offer products at different price points — affordable products that are closer to traditional cloth diapers, as well as more premium ‘green’ options. Allied categories like hygiene wipes and diaper rash creams will also benefit. “Players with an existing legacy of trust and credibility stand a better chance,” she sums up.

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First published on: 27-01-2023 at 08:30 IST