Nivea re-focus on the core

Nivea in France has benefited from re-focusing on the core, as shown by Helen Willems, General Manager of Beiersdorf France & Belgium, in a lunch organised by The House of Marketing and the Belgian Marketing and Management Association. The full write-up on Helen's session is here in a post by Jean Cornet of The House of Marketing.

Remember and refresh what made you famous

Helen explained how Nivea had stretched too far, trying to be everything to everyone. They looked back at what made the brand famous, leading to a re-focusing on skin care. Looking forward to refresh the brand, Jean reports how Nivea "launched an In-Shower Body Milk, creating a new category reaching women who (still) do not use classic Body care products, increasing brand penetration and generating extra business."

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Follow the money

A brave call was made to dis-continue the Nivea Beauty make-up line of products. This must have been tough to do, given the amount of money and effort invested in this launch. But the result was a re-focusing of money, time and talent on the core skincare business. 

I was also interested to read how Helen and the team drove a focus on the Top 30 SKU’s that accounted for the bulk turnover and Gross Margin. The field sales were incentivised to secure 100% distribution of these Top 30 SKU’s. 

Amplify brand properties

The blue tin is one of Nivea's most distinctive properties. Jean reports how part of the sales strategy was to regularly “turn points-of-sale blue”, with Helen visiting shops herself to check on how this was being implemented. Interesting to read the CEO of parent company Beirsdorf, Stefan Heidenreich, also picking up on this brand property. He refers to "The systematic implementation of our Blue Agenda on Nivea" being part of the reason for company sales growth of 6.6% in the last 6 months.

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Focus is painful

Jean makes a good point in his post about focus being painful at first, with the benefits taking time to show up: "Moving away from Beauty to go to 'Skin Care for life' was a brave move; as with all real focus decisions, that one hurt: impacted by the loss of the make-up range, turnover decreased, and the brand found itself weaker in negotiations with the notoriously aggressive French retailers. However, two years later the total brand was growing again."

In conclusion, the Nivea story is a great example of how re-focusing on the core can drive brand and business growth. It also shows the need for patience and stamina to push through the changes and wait for growth to come.