I just read another one of the gloomy economic articles letting us all know that Kimberly-Clark will be cutting 1,600 jobs globally.
Below the article, was a series of related links:
- US initial jobless claims jump for second month
- New jobless claims rise unexpectedly to 627K
- Pratt & Whitney cuts 200 jobs
As a brand guy, who specializes in helping companies steal market share, I could not help but think that something is wrong with the Kimberly-Clark brand model. This is the company that sells Kleenex and Huggies, not exactly discretionary items. It’s not like the economic downturn is suddenly curtailing runny noses and messy babies.
This is all about preference, and it is preference that drives great brands in both good times and bad times. Tough times are the great crucible into which we can actually measure our brand preference because it always highlights the weaknesses.
We always tell our clients that product innovation alone does not increase reference and neither does product efficacy. Real brand affinity comes form positioning the brand squarely into the highest emotional intensity of the target market and creating a touchstone whereby the purchase of a product helps the target audience re-enforce their own sense of self-identity.
If Kimberly-Clark is losing sales, they should take this opportunity to reevaluate their basic brand management model. Are they looking only at a brand’s promise of performance and/or value, or are have they really dug into the emotional underpinnings of the very market they wish to dominate?
Losing 1,600 jobs should cause plenty of tears. Wonder if those who feel the pain will use Kleenex?