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NIVEA, one of the oldest and biggest cosmetic brands in the world has successfully transformed itself from a single skin care brand to a trustworthy and contemporary personal care brand for all family types. The brand stretched itself by sub-branding to many new segments, always nursing the core mother brand NIVEA and its “Gestalt”. [Company Background] Background As 2005 drew to a close, executives at Beiersdorf’s (BDF) Cosmed division [Brand DNA] NIVEA, the largest cosmetics brand in the world, had successfully defended its position during intense competition in its major European markets. Additionally, the company had expanded into many new markets in South and Central America, Eastern Europe, and Asia. NIVEA had created a number of new sub-brands that BDF’s success in establishing NIVEA as a broad skin care and personal care brand primarily driven by NIVEA, grew from €1.4 billion in 1995 to €3.8 billion in 2005. During the 1970s and 1980s, BDF’s Cosmed Division had successfully extended the NIVEA brand from a limited range of products—NIVEA Crème, Milk, Soap, and Sun— product lines had established their own identities as ‘sub-brands’, independent of and yet still connected to the NIVEA Crème core brand. Executives at NIVEA believed that growth would continue to come from product innovation. In 2004, Beiersdorf spent €38 million on its new and improved research and development center in Germany, making it the largest and most modern skin research center in the country employing over 650 scientists. [Brand Roots] Start of the NIVEA brand industrialisation led to the emergence of mass markets and branded articles. Society—women in particular—began to appreciate to a greater degree physical appearance and look for products to both care for and beautify the skin. NIVEA protection at a reasonable price. The NIVEA name came from the Latin word, nives, [Brand Values] NIVEA Crème Brand Identity and Values Over the years, NIVEA—primarily through NIVEA Crème—had acquired a unique, widely-understood brand identity as a ‘caretaker’ of skin. Throughout Europe, most was a product that could be used by the entire family to satisfy all kinds of needs.
2 While NIVEA Skin and Personal Care products are sold in over 140 countries worldwide, this case study focuses primarily on NIVEA’s European market position and brand strategy.
by the entire family. NIVEA Crème was introduced throughout Europe in 1912; in the United States in 1922; and in South America and other parts of the world in 19262. Throughout this period, NIVEA Crème remained the company’s primary product and the carrier of the NIVEA brand name. The famous NIVEA Crème blue tin with white lettering, standardised in 1925, was a familiar sight in millions of households worldwide. In addition to NIVEA Crème, the brand’s other primary products included body soap and powder and two sun care products—tanning lotion and oil.
Understanding the NIVEA Brand By the early 1990s, it was clear that BDF had succeeded in extending the NIVEA brand from skin crème to a skin care and personal care brand.
now presented the company with a new set of issues and challenges. In the process of establishing sub-brands, there was concern that the NIVEA brand image—in particular, the NIVEA Crème image—had been weakened through all the product introductions. Kunisch, former CEO of Cosmed, believed that in preparing to develop a new NIVEA communications strategy, a formalised brand philosophy was necessary. Kunisch explained: “NIVEA is the most fascinating brand in the world, second only to Coca-Cola. The company had done a tremendous job over the last 50 years to keep the NIVEA was a lack of conscientiousness of what it meant to be a brand. In the good old days, BDF had a brand relationship that was highly personalised. Only three people knew how it had all been done—one retired, one left the company and one died. In addition, there were three advertising agencies that did not talk with one another. I began with the basics and asked: What is NIVEA? The data was all there, the feeling was there, but no one had put it on a piece of paper.”
This case was made possible through the cooperation of Dr. Rolf Kunisch and Cosmed Division management, including Norbert Krapp, Franziska Schmiedebach, and Inken Hollmann-Peters for Beiersdorf AG in Hamburg, Germany. Leslie Kimerling and Keith Richey prepared this case under the supervision of Professor Kevin Lane Keller as the basis for class discussion.
NIVEA Visage. communication. and pricing. competition in 60 years. ‘protection’. ticular product class associations to reinforce and elaborate on the image of NIVEA as a skin care specialist. market—an after-shave balsam. BDF performed a study of the NIVEA brand image in the German market. dynamic. NIVEA Baby. packaging. Now that the NIVEA brand represented comprehensive skin care and personal care. and increased its level of promotional activities with the trade and within stores. ‘feeling good’.Because of consumers’ own personal history with the brand and the company’s advertising. BDF introduced larger sized units. ‘high quality’. “We want to build on the image of the blue tin where we are number one almost everywhere in Europe. NIVEA also built a NIVEA Club in Austria in 1995. water-in-oil emulsion available in the world. For an annual membership fee of about $10. 5. however. [Brand Strategy] Extending the NIVEA Brand In addition to strengthening the brand image of NIVEA Crème. public relations. Yet. ‘mildness’. and ‘reasonably priced’. Throughout the decade. The primary means to revitalise NIVEA Crème’s brand image. Kunisch explained. they implemented ‘perfect local execution’ with NIVEA brand appears local but the content remains consistent. The tin simplicity and caring embodied by the brand. the brand had an ‘older’ image and was not viewed as young. Over time. NIVEA was already a global brand with a wide range of products catering to the full spectrum of consumer segments. NIVEA Bath Care. As Norbert Krapp. words don’t”. and a birthday gift. Maintain a leading position in terms of quality Be simple and uncomplicated Meet a basic need: clean and/or protect The company also printed a booklet for internal use detailing its brand philosophy. NIVEA held over 35 percent of the multi-purpose crème market in Germany and a majority market share in Europe. and NIVEA Lip. the NIVEA brand portfolio had grown from six product groups in 1993 to Í Í Skin Care—NIVEA Body. NIVEA opened the in Hamburg. 7. Original NIVEA Crème tins were pale yellow with “NIVEA Crème” in blue print in the centre and a red and blue Art Nouveau border. NIVEA Crème. Because facial skin care represented 75 percent of the European skin care market and was very closely related to NIVEA’s strong association of ‘general skin care’ from NIVEA Crème. There were many opportunities geographically. Personal Care—NIVEA Deo. the company wanted to develop a marketing strategy that would continue to nurture core NIVEA associations while widening their applicability and enhancing their meaning via sub-brands. The study found that the NIVEA brand enjoyed a high degree of goodwill and represented reliability. and ad executions. Personal Interview 96 NIVEA CASE by Kevin Lane Keller 97 . vision. Germany in 2006. Cosmed worked with agencies FCB and TBWA to develop the marketing concepts Looking to the future. In each market. which it leveraged across a range of sub-brands. NIVEA Visage was considered the primary sub-brand to upgrade NIVEA’s image into the 1990s. [Branding Strategy] Marketing Guidelines In the mid-1990s. called the ‘Blue Bible’. Similar to the NIVEA Club. The company’s sub-brand strategy yielded remarkable results: between 1990 and 2000. In the late 1960s and early 1970s. but were changed in 1926 to the now-familiar blue and white design. and NIVEA Intimate Care. This Blue Bible contained basic information about NIVEA’s brand identity. steadily. quality. every NIVEA Credibility Superiority Performance Quality Mild & Gentle Caring & protective Pure Salient . and the role of its sub-brands. calling it the “key anchor” for all brand decisions3. members received a quarterly magazine. 3. 6. ‘Less alcohol. NIVEA had become strongly associated with shared family experiences and had a rich set of other brand associations such as ‘care’. stated: “Pictures travel. as was the case with many of the recently introduced competitive brands. From the beginning. NIVEA nurtured its existing sub-brands and moved into additional market segments by adding new sub-brands. NIVEA executives pondered how best to manage the NIVEA hierarchy and from where the next surge of growth would come. direct marketing. the NIVEA name became synonymous with protection and care for the skin. the company established a set of guidelines that any possible new products had to satisfy: 1. Norbert Krapp referred to the Blue Bible as “the best [branding step] we did in recent years”. The Blue Bible also provided guidelines for products. NIVEA Vital. By 2005. altered its distribution strategy by shifting from special-line outlets to food outlets. and honesty. and modern. NIVEA Hand. ‘reliability’. By 1970. The company had a widely recognised and respected brand. Concerned with new competition. NIVEA Soft. success factors. NIVEA Sun. The product embodied the NIVEA brand extension [Brand Portfolio] NIVEA for Men To clarify the new brand extensions.Multi-forms and purposes personal care needs of their target market segments and contribute back their par3 Norbert Krapp. 2. NIVEA for Men. mission. more care’. sub-brand experienced sales growth and gained market share.” balm carried the tag line. through product innovation and new target consumers. NIVEA Hair Care. 4. NIVEA strategic brand management models: [NIVEA CBBE Pyramid] Resonance Attachment Community Judgment Feelings Warmth Fun Imagery Heritage For family Universal applications [Brand Health] product to provide both an alcohol cleanser and a moisturizer to care for the face. was the introduction of a very aggressive ad campaign aimed directly at the competition. NIVEA’s Vice President of skin care. The brand philosophy centered on maintaining the association of ‘universality’ for NIVEA products. [Brand Extensions] By 2005. promotion. The company’s long-term objective was to evolve NIVEA from a skin crème brand into a skin care brand by providing a range of new products that would both complement NIVEA Crème and broaden the meaning of the NIVEA brand name. NIVEA was a leading international skin care company and voted the most trusted brand in Germany by Reader’s Digest from 2001–2004. BDF’s second objective was to use the recognition and reputation of the NIVEA brand name to introduce new products—both in categories where NIVEA products were sold currently as well as in related categories. NIVEA began standardising its advertising formats to establish a consistent look among its sub-brands. the NIVEA for Men ads emphasised the mildness and caring of Overall Brand Health At the beginning of the 1990s. NIVEA Beauty. NIVEA Crème. between four and six new product samples. ‘gentleness’.
His textbook. Ford. 98 NIVEA CASE by Kevin Lane Keller 99 . American Express. including accenture. Marketing Management. and Carnegie-Mellon universities. (see models above) has been adopted at top business schools with Philip Kotler of the all-time best selling introductory marketing textbook. Duke. and faculketers for some of the world’s most successful brands. award-winning research. B. Intel. Osborn Professor of Marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Strategic Brand Management.[Hypothetical nivea mental map] Scent/Feel Good Value Care Blue/ White Protection Heritage Mildness For Family Gentleness Multipurpose/ Universal Simple Pure Trustworthy/ Reliable Kevin Lane Keller is the E. Keller’s academic resume includes degrees from Cornell. Disney. Procter & Gamble and Starbucks.
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