Social Media Is Not A Silver Bullet: Part II

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December 23, 2010

*Today I want to share a post that I wrote last spring about social media, new products, and familiar brands.  You’ll have to check out the original here to see the comments (which were pretty good).  The update is that after writing this, I was in fact swayed to use the new product.  I had purchased several types of the new product and figured I’d try it for several months.  I wasn’t convinced at first, but in the end it was more than just a great use of social media that did it.  Kudos to Kimberly-Clark for being on the forefront of developing great products, having a strong brand, using social media, and having a great sense of humor.  Check it out…

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I want to tell you a story about feminine products, specifically, tampons.  NOW MEN, do not stop reading this.  It’s not going to be a gross post and I can assure you that every time I read posts about how sports compare to HR, I keep reading even though I don’t always feel completely in my comfort zone depending on the sport or the analogy.

I want to talk to you about tampons for several reasons.  The first is that I recently heard a very odd but interesting presentation at the Social Media Meetup by Andrew Meurrer, Vice President and General Manager at Kimberly-Clark.  In this presentation, he talked about how even discussing tampons is taboo, let alone asking a man to go in a store and buy some.  Kimberly-Clark has learned that once young women find their preferred brand, 70% of them will stay loyal to that brand for life.  Think about that.  Is there any other product that can inspire that percentage of brand loyalty?  Probably not.  I thought of other products I just won’t change and one is toilet paper and the other is my laundry detergent.  I swear by Quilted Northern and Cheer, in case you are curious.

But I digress.  Even something like laundry detergent only has about 55% brand loyalty.  So, you can see that in the feminine hygiene products, getting women interested in your product early in their teenage years is very important.  So since the target demographic is females age 14- 24, Kotex (the brand made by Kimberly Clark) decided to do a couple things to promote their new product line U by Kotex:

  • First, make talking about having your period acceptable.  It should not be taboo.  It happens to all of us ladies.
  • Then, create an exciting ad campaign that rips on the old tampon commercials of other brands to show that real women do not dance around in waves or with butterflies at that time of the month.
  • Create fun new packaging to attract the women and girls.
  • Reach out to the target audience via social media. THIS is what will really differentiate how U by Kotex is accepted.  It is reaching the demographic where they are.   Where they spend time.  Where they are comfortable.

So, why do I share this with you?  Because it worked.

I am certainly a lot older than their target demographic because let’s face it, I made my product choice over twenty years ago. I would have never thought about changing even though these ads run on TV all the time.  What caught my attention was that this company is using social media to spread the word.  Bells and whistles went off in my head…I just had to try to support a company that is forward thinking and trying to get REAL and honest about this topic.  If not for me, for my little girl’s sake.

So, I tried it.

I hated it.

I want my old product back.

Why?  I think Kotex spent so much time on what the package looks like, how to tell everyone it’s ok to discuss it, and WOW- using social media and fun new ads to tell about it, that they didn’t really DO anything to make the product better than some of the others. ( *Note on 12/23/10- I learned they actually did change the product makeup and it really is better.  They have information on their site.)

So, forgive me but I’m going back to my old brand.  You know, the one in the plain wrapper.  Now, I need to end this post.  I think I’ll put on some white clothes and go dance around in the rain and pretend that life is full of butterflies.  Goodness knows I certainly don’t want to have to write about my period again.

What do you think?  Can the power of social media make you change some of the tried-and-true products you have used for years?  Tell me in the comments.


2 Comments

  • Trish,

    Sometimes a company does something right but forgets that their product must stand behind the shiny marketing. It’s a lot like the hiring process for new employees. If the interview and courting process is unbelievable and amazing, and the candidates decides to accept the job offer and buy the product, the new employee is sometimes left disappointed and takes the first opportunity to go somewhere else.

    I like this example, and I appreciate you sharing your story. Funny, I am very loyal to the same brand from 20 plus years ago as well.

    Jessica

    @blogging4jobs

    • @Jessica- You’re right about the recruiting process being like that. We often gravitate to the shiny objects of the world but without substance, we don’t stick around. I think deep down people just want products (and workplaces) that are solid and reliable. Thanks for the comment.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

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