LONDON: A smart sweat-tracking T-shirt designed to help the deodorant R&D team at Nivea has had a wider impact across the organisation, including on marketing, according to a Beiersdorf executive.

Matt Marlow, head of global digital activation at Beiersdorf, owner of the Nivea personal care brand, addressed this topic during the recent London Tech Week.

A T-shirt with built-in sensors detects a wearer’s motion, body temperature, and whether they’re sweating or not, and sends all that information to Nivea’s R&D experts to analyse and turn into actionable insights to help product development.

“We have absolutely hundreds of these shirts, so we’re testing with more people. We’re testing in more different type of situations, and we’re getting all that rich data back,” said Marlow.

But more significantly, in his view, “it helps our R&D colleagues to convince our marketers that this product does exactly what they said it’s going to do”. (For more, read WARC’s report: The ‘ripple effect’ of technology at Nivea.)

In turn, he added, that helps those marketers have the confidence to fight for investment, to compete with the other categories and the innovations within them, helps reassure senior board members that it’s going to deliver business growth, and that it’s worthy to be pushed out to all countries around the world.

Local marketing teams can then convince sales teams to get behind the product and to persuade Nivea’s retail partners to give the product more shelf space, he continued.

There is, he stated, “a positive ripple effect, which pulsates through our entire business, that improves our marketing process, and that all comes from one piece of tech”.

Nivea also recruited influencers to wear the T-shirts while testing Nivea products and invited them to tell their communities all about their experiences and how the product was working.

The use of this tech gives the brand modernity, said Marlow, and helps with storytelling techniques (“the topic of deodorant and sweating is not that interesting for consumers”).

“The fact that we’ve got something additional to add into our product benefits makes it a lot easier for them to engage with and allows us to enter into conversations about tech with them,” he said.

Sourced from WARC