NIVEA: MANAGING A MULTI-CATEGORY BRAND1
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...
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