TORONTO: Huggies, the diaper brand owned by Kimberly-Clark, has successfully embraced the power of purpose to enhance its position in Canada.

Nadia Malowany, brand team leader for infant care (Huggies) at Kimberly-Clark, explained that many mothers buy their first set of diapers prenatally, and the vast majority then remain loyal to the original brand they chose.

“It’s critically important, therefore, for us to win right at the point of market entry, prior to mom even giving birth,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Kimberly-Clark leaned into planning to discover a huggable position for Huggies.)

Facing intense competition from Pampers, a rival brand made by Procter & Gamble, as well as flat birth rates, also meant that fostering connections at this early stage was essential as a prospective growth driver.

“It was really clear we needed to do something to drive some stability back into the business,” Malowany said at the ‘Purposeful Purpose: How Top Marketers Approach Brand Purpose Effectively’ event held by the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and WARC.

Working with Ogilvy/Toronto, Huggies identified a core insight that could help unlock its potential as a purpose-driven brand.

“‘Hug’ is just not part of the brand name, but, from a much larger perspective, it has always been a loving gesture of comfort,” Michelle Lee, Ogilvy/Toronto’s director of strategic planning, said.

“And the bond it represents is never stronger than it is between a mother and her young child.”

Further analysis revealed considerable scientific evidence about the power of hugs for newborns and infants, with the benefits spanning weight accumulation, body temperature and breathing patterns.

“We were surprised that not every mother was able to hug her baby as soon as it was born, because she was either recovering from a difficult birth, or she had other children that needed [her help],” added Lee.

Through providing online tools enabling pregnant women to specify details about their first hug that could then be shared with medical professionals, and working with hospitals on hugging programs, the brand has gained significant strength.

The Hugs concept “allowed us to actually [turn] these ‘catchers’ into something related to loving hugs,” Lee told the ACA/WARC audience.

And, from there, the connection to boosting the immune system “and all the good benefits that we could bring to healthy newborns” was a very natural extension.

Sourced from WARC