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Home | Keeping An Eye On Reason Why

 Sunday, August 17, 2008

 

KEEPING AN EYE ON REASON WHY

 

“Chew on This: Dentists Smile on Sugarless Gums’ Impact”
“L’Oreal Wins Big as FDA OK’s Coveted Ingredient”

 

Don’t know if you saw these fairly recent headlines—in USA Today and Advertising Age, respectively. They caught our attention mainly because each story relates the added value of a more competitive positioning element (within Reason Why) for several brands. 

 

The story about the dentists announces the first-ever endorsement by the American Dental Association for three sugarless gums: Wrigley’s Orbit, Extra and Eclipse brands. And, that at least for now, onlythese brands will carry the endorsement. Gaining the endorsement was predicated on a couple of clinical studies that showed significant declines in cavities among consumers of these gums. But the competitive-clincher for the brands is what the ADA seal means to potential gum chewers; as the story relates, “No chewing gum has ever received the coveted (ADA) seal, which denotes the brands provide an oral health benefit.” In other words, while all sugarless gums may be formulated about the same and may taste about the same, now there are three with some meaningful differentiation. And even if it may not be feasible for Orbit, Extra, or Eclipse to make overt oral health benefit-claims, having the differentiated Reason Why endorsement alone gets the job done.

 

In the second story we get a glimpse inside the on-going “ingredient wars” within the skincare business. In particular, the article explains how L’Oreal will bring a highly effective UVA sun blocking ingredient from Europe to the U.S.: “L’Oreal has won approval to bring to the U.S. a sought-after sunscreen technology that could give it a huge competitive edge in other categories, including makeup and moisturizers.” The ingredient? Mexoryl. And with the addition of Mexoryl to some of its skincare products, L’Oreal hopes to out-maneuver brands like Neutrogena, which already has its own, patented UVA blocker called Helioplex. Naturally, marketers at L’Oreal say that Mexoryl is more effective against UVA than Helioplex! But, regardless of which ingredient works better, there is one thing for sure in skincare (where women have been well-trained for years now to appreciate new cleansing, moisturizing, and anti-aging ingredients), having a new, intrinsic Reason Why makes any parity-performance benefit sound superior.

 

As you can tell in our highlighting of these two stories, we have been keeping an eye on what’s going on with Reason Why. And we strongly urge all of our brand-builder clients to do the same. Nowadays, when it has become so difficult to go to market with a truly superior-performing, functionally differentiated product, having a real or perceived advantage in the brand’s Reason Why can imply a superior performance that may not otherwise be demonstrated or proven. One really good way to keep an eye on your brand’s Reason Why is to formally establish an on-going “exploratory” of potential, future reasons-to-believe the brand’s benefits. Specifically, this entails a close partnership with the brand’s R&D Team, meeting formally at least 2-3 times a year to review the brand’s existing benefits, as well as any planned new or improved benefits. Following this, the marketers and scientists should explore or brainstorm in some detail potential new reasons why from such areas as: product design; ingredients, compounds, or recipes; modes of action; sources for materials; manufacturing processes; clinical studies; endorsements and recommendations. 

 

Why is it so important to more consciously keep an eye on your brand’s Reason Why, to explore for and develop future RW options? It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Wrigley’s brands will not always have the only ADA endorsement for sugarless gums; L’Oreal will not always have the Mexoryl ingredient. Today’s differentiated Reason Why is tomorrow’s cost-of-entry. Look at what has happened in toothpastes, where every brand has the same dental association seal, no matter what country you happen to be in. Look even at analgesics and antacids, where so many brands are “doctor recommended.” Even, at some point, adding to a feature that was at one time meaningfully differentiating can reduce its once potent impact for a brand’s benefit. Consider what has been happening in razor blades, where, in the past, adding a second or third blade connoted a closer, smoother shave; but now, with the addition of four, five, and six blades the closer-shave benefit borders on the ridiculous and causes some consumers to question the point of diminishing returns.

 

For sure, then, it makes good brand-building sense to think about the future when it comes to supporting the brand’s benefits with Reason Why. Of course, some brands are more fortunate because they have longstanding reasons why that, while no longer truly differentiating, are so well-known (so well-marketed!) that they still have some competitive firepower. All baby shampoos today have mild formulations so as not to irritate baby’s eyes—but only Johnson’s Baby Shampoo has the “No More Tears™” formula. That’s right, because J&J long ago trademarked that nomenclature and took every opportunity to communicate it. But, even with an “equity” Reason Why such as “No More Tears™” a brand stands a much better chance of sustaining its perceived benefit advantage by keeping an on-going eye on its Reason Why.

 

BOATS & HELICOPTERS:

 

For this week, we challenge you to identify the correct brand to match with these longstanding, “equity” Reasons Why:


Reason Why
Brand?

1.       ¼ moisturizing cream

 

2.      Brand hospitals recommend most

 

3.      Trail-Rated

 

4.      Lymon

 

5.      Mountain Grown

 

6.      Designed by a female gynecologist

 

7.      Sourced from the Alps

 

8.      Rocky Mountain Spring Water

 

9.      Has Ridges

 

10.    Not from concentrate

 

 

Richard Czerniawski & Mike Maloney

 

(ANSWERS TO QUIZ:  Dove, Tylenol, Jeep, Sprite, Folgers Coffee, o.b., Evian, Coors Beer, Ruffles Potato Chips, Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice)

 


Richard Czerniawski


430 Abbotsford Road

Kenilworth, Illinois 60043

tel 847.256.8820 fax 847.256.8847


reply to Richard:

rdczerniawski@cs.com or

richardcz@bdn-intl.com

 

 

Mike Maloney


1506 West 13th

Austin, Texas 78703

tel 512.236.0971 fax 512.236.0972


reply to Mike:

mikewmaloney@cs.com or

mikemaloney@bdn-intl.com

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