Ecover's makeover

Neil Davidson

The "eco-friendly' detergent Ecover was suffering from the effects of frugal consumers, "greenwash' and market confusion. It had to reposition from a "brand for hippies' to the mainstream.

The Ecover story began in Belgium in 1979 with the development of a phosphate-free washing powder. This was well before phosphate in cleaning products was identified as the major environmental issue it is now — and long before 'sustainability' and 'eco-friendly' became common terms.

By 2011, Ecover had achieved much to be proud of, coming through some difficult times to emerge as one of the few companies with such high ecological standards and a multi-million pound turnover.

However, during this time, the UK market had changed considerably, presenting new challenges for the brand. Ecover and its product range had evolved, but the consumer and the market had also evolved at a rapid rate due to the following four factors.

Market landscape