Church & Dwight: running a diverse global brand portfolio

For the best part of 200 years, Church & Dwight Co. Inc has been producing some of the world’s best known FMCG brands – in fact, it’s still one of the fastest growing Consumer Packaged Goods companies across the globe.

Arm & Hammar, Nair, Trojan and Oxi Clean are just some of the household and personal care products produced by the firm, which operates in international markets including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Mexico and the UK.

Retail Connections caught up with Church & Dwight’s Marketing Director, Michael Benson, to talk about the realities of running a diverse global brand portfolio.

Q: What do manufacturers have to think about when expanding into new territories?

A: Don’t underestimate the strength of local competition. Being ‘international’ is not impressive anymore – shoppers have a strong relationship with long established, trusted brands in their home market.

It’s also very important to be knowledgeable about shopping habits in each market. For example, in the Netherlands, people tend to make small but frequent shopping trips.

Q: What classic mistakes or assumptions do manufacturers tend to make?

A: It’s easy to assume that a product or brand will address the same need in new territories as they do at home. However, they may need to be positioned very differently due to the culture or history of that market.

Equally, if you’re expanding in partnership with a retailer who operates in your home market, don’t assume that they attract the same shoppers either; they may occupy a differing position in overseas regions.

Q: How can retailers better work with manufacturers on elements such as product packaging, labelling, pricing, assortments and promotions?

A: Sharing insights is very important. Retailers have a lot of data, which can help manufacturers create winning products and services. Vast sums of money are often spent by manufacturers gathering this type of information – this could be spent in other areas, driving business and NPD.
This does, however, mean overcoming the current perception retailers have of their data as a revenue stream. In an ideal world, retail businesses would work more collaboratively – like Google opening up Android – so that everyone could benefit from data-driven innovation.

Q: How do you understand the different needs of consumers in new territories?

A: Primary research is the best method of finding out more, which can be supplemented by purchasing syndicated data.

Manufacturers and retailers can help each other here if one party is already established in the market, by sharing consumer and shopper insights.

Michael Benson is an accomplished marketing director with over 25 years’ first class global brand building experience, working both client and agency side for companies including Unilever, Diageo and Interbrand.

He is a passionate about brand building and has extensive international experience successfully delivering growth for consumer brands in UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

Michael currently works for Church & Dwight, leading the marketing of a diverse set of consumer brands including Batiste, Arm & Hammer and Pearl Drops.

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