LONDON: Diversey, the business cleaning products firm that has changed hands several times in recent years, has developed a new brand identity and culture through semiotic research.

Rafael Echevarria, VP Global Corporate Communications, Diversey, addressed this topic at the MRS B2B Research Summit in London.

The brand had rather lost its way, he suggested, having been part of first Unilever, then Johnson Wax Professional and finally Sealed Air Corporation before being acquired by Bain capital in September last year.

“Who was Diversey? What space did it occupy? There was a lot of tension so we had to do something about it,” said Echevarria. “We decided to rebrand and redesign, re-think the company.” (For more, read WARC’s report: How Diversey created emotional resonance with industrial cleaning products.)

Part of this process involved Sign Salad, the semiotics and cultural insight agency, analysing the semiotics of marketing in the cleaning products sector across five key global markets (UK, US, Brazil, China and India) to understand the sector and help Diversey achieve cut-through.

This work found the standard approach to marketing in this sector featured imagery of shiny white surfaces, people in white suits, lots of removal of ingrained dirt, and comparisons between dirt and cleanliness – an approach lacking emotional warmth.

But semiotics were seen to be shifting in the space, with, for example, the narrative of ‘Abrasive Chemical Efficacy’ being replaced by a growing emphasis on a return to natural solutions and organic cleaning products.

A semiotic analysis of Diversey’s marketing and packaging also identified a number of tensions that were undermining the brand’s cultural and emotional resonance.

All this fed into the development of the new brand logo and identity. “We articulated the emotional and rational benefits of working with Diversey,” explained Echevarria.

“So, emotionally we want to connect with you as a customer, because you can rely on us and you will be completely safe. Functionally, we provide you with the benefit of effective and efficient strategies.

“It’s the most emotional thing we’ve done as a company in 25 years,” he added.

“We are bringing this to life, based on the semiotic research, and it’s fundamentally changing our culture, and how we see ourselves. It’s actually driven many of the decisions we make now.”

Sourced from WARC