Q&A with 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 what other marketers had to ask Troy Warfield and Andrew Bienkowski

Marketing Week (MW): What do your roles entail?

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Troy Warfield, vice-president of family care for Europe Kimberly-Clark

Troy Warfield (TW):

Family care includes bath tissue, facial tissue and kitchen towel. I look after a variety of brands including Andrex, Kleenex and Velvet across Europe. My responsibilities are for strategy, communication, innovation and delivery of the family care profit and loss account.

The accountability for this division’s marketing strategy lies with me. We agree
the strategy as a European leadership group, and execute that through our regional teams. The brand and innovation strategy is conducted centrally, and brand activation and execution in the market is done through our regional teams.

Andrew Bienkowski (AB): I look after global brand development, which involves doing the research on each of the brands to understand who the targets are and their unmet needs, and using that to lay out visions for our brands.

MW: How do you continue to innovate across categories that are functional?

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Andrew Bienkowski, vice president of global marketing and innovation Kimberly-Clark

TW: We are starting to innovate from the outside, to get ideas from consumers. One of the initiatives we have put in place is rewarding entrepreneurial mums, providing them the resources and support to bring to life their ideas that we could then commercialise.

We have established the same concept internally, creating an Entrepreneurs Fund where anyone in KC Europe can present an idea to a panel and they could win some funding to bring it to life. It’s not just the domain of marketing; we have had manufacturing ideas, ideas to rationalise the supply chain, ones about product innovation and concepts for using social media in a more commercial way. We have literally just awarded the first two projects that we are going to invest in.

MW: How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy on the company’s bottom line?

TW: We work closely with our agencies JWT, Mindshare and Engine on this. We also think about penetration and awareness, and in digital we look at click-throughs and reference points. Return on investment drives a lot of our marketing thinking and the challenge in the digital world is how do we get to an ROI model that is as robust as what we think we have with, say, television. We’re pushing the industry as hard as anyone else to ensure we can get there.

MW: How have your relationships with the retailers that stock your products developed over the past two years?

TW: Whether it’s Carrefour or Tesco, it’s about understanding what’s important to them and bringing that back to your business – so that not only your frontline sales team, but marketing, the supply chain and manufacturing team also understand that. Brands like Andrex are huge moving items and by working more closely with our retailers, we can find out on, say, Friday night in which stores our products are out of stock and what processes we could change to alleviate that. That is beneficial for both of us and that is where alignment between the two makes ultimate sense.

MW: The KC parent brand is visible in many public and corporate washrooms around the world. Is driving the link between the corporate brand and individual brands such as Kleenex on your agenda in the same way that Unilever now puts its parent brand on messaging for individual brands?

AB: For the most part consumers do not buy a consumer brand because of the corporate brand. It’s very rare to hear consumers say they bought Kimberly-Clark rather than Huggies. People tend not to have a high awareness of that connection.

KC as a corporate brand has a strong reputation with customers [like Tesco] rather than consumers. But in terms of people seeing the brand in a washroom, we don’t think that has any impact on what consumers feel towards our individual brands. We don’t see communicating the KC brand directly to consumers as a priority. It’s important to drive our company reputation, but this is better done through actions rather than talking about it.

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