Marketer 2 marketer

Three marketers put their questions to Kimberly-Clark executives Troy Warfield and Andrew Bienkowski.

Click here to read the cover feature – Troy Warfield: Kimberly-Clark’s vice-president of family care for Europe
Click here to read how Kimberly-Clark has removed cliches from marketing Kotex
Click here to read a Q+A with Kimberly-Clark executives Troy Warfield and Andrew Bienkowski

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Rebecca Fay, marketing director of The Carbon Neutral Company asks:

Industry surveys state that as many as 86% of consumers express interest in products that are better for the environment. What do you think manufacturers and retailers need to do to ensure low carbon products become the most popular choice for consumers?

Troy Warfield (TW): Carbon is a complex subject, so we focus on the lifecycle of our products, which means we strive to make responsible decisions about the sourcing of raw materials, the use of the product, its packaging, the manufacturing processes we use and the end disposal.

This broadens the environmental debate beyond carbon and allows us to communicate with consumers according to what is important to them. Buyers of our Andrex and Kleenex brands are reassured to see the Forest Stewardship Council stamp on our packaging because that represents responsible sourcing of raw materials, in the same way that consumers might want to see the Fairtrade logo on a coffee brand or be able to use a washing detergent at lower temperatures.

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Paul Marshall, UK and Ireland marketing director at Henkel Adhesive Technologies, asks:

Your team and people are always key to any success. What is your vision for them and how do you get them to create change in order to fulfil that vision?

TW: At KC we have introduced a Global Marketing University programme to both create a common language and raise the collective skills. We also have an extensive mentoring scheme, where I personally mentor ten future leaders, and we have created an ’inspiration series’ where we bring outstanding members of the marketing community outside KC in to share their learnings.

Andrew Bienkowski (AB): You need to build trust – listen to your people and incorporate their thinking into your vision. You also need to win consistently, because nothing inspires people, or helps them overcome the inevitable resistance to change, more effectively than actually winning.

This means keeping an eye on both short-term victories and laying the foundation for longer-term success.

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Adam Margolin, head of marketing support for retail group Spar, asks: KC has a number of ’superbrands’ that have a distinct positioning and try to stand for something. Have you ever done something with one of your brands that has diluted its brand identity and made you regret the original decision?

TW: Balancing the focus on our core categories versus expanding outside their core domain has been a careful consideration to ensure that we don’t ’dilute’ the very strong equity that these brands have built over the years.

But as we move into a new era of communicating with our consumers via digital media, organisations such as ours will need to be more comfortable with letting go of the natural controls we had around the one-way communications channels in the past. In the very early days we created one of the first sites by a consumer goods business where consumers could openly give feedback on our Kleenex brand, and the dialogue was very open, honest and insightful.

This exercise could have gone in many directions, but consumers were positively “letting it out”, in line with our brand tagline.

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