Best known for its household bleach, The Clorox Co. now wants consumers to think “green.”
In January, the company introduced Green Works, a plant-based line of seven natural cleaning products. It’s the first brand launch in 20 years. Sales for six of the products as of July hit $15.9 million, according to Information Resources Inc.
Experiential events, like the Better Homes & Gardens “Living Green Tour,” which ends next month, are being used to spread the word about Green Works. But all has not gone as planned. A prominent partnership with the Sierra Club has been criticized. Promo spoke with Tiffany Tan Kohler, group manager of promotions for The Clorox. Co.
PROMO: When did Clorox decide to jump on the “green” bandwagon?
Tan Kohler: Clorox has been working on natural formulas for several years now. As we developed that formula, we wanted to set a high bar. This is Clorox’s first line of green cleaning products.
P: What challenges did you encounter in product development?
TK: Consumers told us there were four main barriers to buying natural cleaning products. The first is a high price point. Second, they are in limited distribution. Third, consumers are not familiar with a lot of the brands. The biggest barrier is the perception that natural cleaners don’t work. We addressed all the barriers.
P: How did you do that?
TK: Natural cleaning products can be priced at a 100% premium, whereas Green Works products have a 20% to 25% premium. The fact that this comes from Clorox gives consumers the confidence that the performance will be there.
P: What is the latest addition to the line?
TK: We just announced our Natural Dishwashing Liquid.
P: How are you marketing the products?
TK: We launched a Green Works grassroots tour. We wanted consumers to directly interact with our product so they could actually see it, touch it, smell it and try it for themselves. We wanted to make a personal and emotional connection with the consumer when she’d be open to our messsage. We also have a strong TV and print campaign.
P: Are you handing out any takeaways?
TK: We are giving away a paper flower embedded with wildflower seeds. On the back is information about the Green Works line, and it drives consumers to www.greenworkscleaners.com.
P: What is the strategy behind the marketing plan?
TK: We made a conscious effort to bring the consumer a personalized experience. So there is less of a focus on traditional consumer promotion tactics.
P: How are things going?
TK: Overall, the entire launch has been successful. Since we launched, the [national] natural cleaning category has grown 300%. We have taken up volume estimates multiple times. We are encouraged by the response.
P: Who are you targeting?
TK: Our target is a group of consumers who prefer natural-based products. She isn’t a ‘dark-green consumer.’ She is kind of on a journey to a natural lifestyle. Thirteen percent of consumers fall into this category.
P: Why did Clorox choose the Sierra Club as a partner?
TK: Our brand team wanted to give back to the environment. We wanted to work with the Sierra Club to help us with our objective to take natural cleaning mainstream.
P: How does the group benefit?
TK: It receives proceeds from our Green Works sales for general conservation efforts.
P: Some Sierra Club members resigned over the partnership, which puts the club’s logo on all packaging, saying that Clorox makes products that include toxic chemicals. What’s your response?
TK: It’s not fair for me to comment. The Sierra Club should be the one to address this.
P: What’s coming up next?
TK: We’re going to continue to focus on our core business in terms of innovation and key trends: sustainability, health and wellness, multicultural and convenience.
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