Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Brand Autonomy

In these days of globalisation, it's always refreshing to see brands that haven't succumbed to international "consistency", despite being bought up by a global corporation.

The Elmex dental care range is a good example in Germany. It's made by the Swiss company GABA International AG, which is, in turn, owned by Colgate-Palmolive, although you wouldn't know it. It would have been tempting, when the brand was bought in 2004, to stamp the Colgate name on the brand and let the Elmex name fade out. Or, worse still, an "Elmex is now Colgate" campaign.

But, sensibly, the brand has been allowed autonomy, which reflects local values and sensibilities. Elmex is a serious brand. While the P&G, Unilever and Colgate brands push their luck with "whitening" on the German and mid-European audience, Elmex isn't having any of that. It remains single-minded on caries prevention, with a range of products that covers just the necessary - and does not veer into the cosmetic.

The un-gimmicky children's range and recommendations from dentists during kindergarten visits means that customers are locked in early, and the worthy and dependable tone appeals to German mothers. There is even a menthol-free range for people on homeopathic treatment - which touches the German or Swiss psyche much better than the promise of Hollywood whiteness.

Elmex is a brand that shows how global ownership and local relevance can be compatible.

No comments: