Table of Contents
II. Company Background
III. Kleenex Marketing strategy, sales and other company information IV. Competitors’ marketing strategies, & sales
V. SWOT Analysis
Introduction & Company Background
There are few, if any, trade names in the world today more associated with its generic product than Kleenex and facial tissue. Unquestionably, there are parts of the country that refer to all sodas as a “Coke”, and most people call a personal watercraft a “Jet-Ski”, but facial tissues are used by everyone, and the majority of people call them Kleenex. The Kleenex brand is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Of all their brands, Kleenex is the most well-known. Kimberly-Clark was founded in 1872 in Neenah, Wisconsin as Kimberly, Clark, and Co. by John A. Kimberly, Havilah Babcock, Charles B. Clark, and Franklyn C. Shattuck. The company, as much of its business is in today, started in the paper industry operating paper mills. Kimberly-Clark developed a special cotton substitute that was used by military surgeons during WWI that helped Kimberly-Clark become a major player in the paper industry. Army nurses also found this cotton substitute, called cellu-cotton, to be very effective for use as disposable sanitary napkins. Because of this, Kimberly-Clark released its first brand that is known today, Kotex in 1919, to sell the world’s first disposable sanitary napkins. Kotex’s success was more than just a great product, but the result of a clever marketing program as well. At the time, most drug stores carried every item behind the counter, and these drug stores were virtually 100% staffed by men. Most women of the time found it very embarrassing to ask for feminine hygiene products from the men behind the counter. Kimberly-Clark urged these stores to move the items from behind the counter to in front of the counter, so that women could simply pick the products up and surreptitiously buy them from the cashier. Following Kotex, Kimberly-Clark launched Kleenex in 1924 as the world’s first disposable handkerchief using the same cellu-cotton material. Together, the Kotex and Kleenex brands provided the company with a solid financial foundation to see it through the great depression, when many competitors of the time failed. (“Kimberly-Clark,” n.d., History section; Heinrich, 2004, pp. 1-2) From the 1940s to the 1970s, Kimberly-Clark found itself in a bit of an unusual circumstance, its profits were decreasing. The company scrambled in an attempt to maintain the competitive advantage that had seen it though much leaner times than these decades. Kimberly-Clark invested a massive (for the time) $400 million into facilities and R&D. Despite the fact that sales were rising very quickly in the post-war boom, profits were shrinking. Kimberly-Clark’s bread-and-butter, Kotex and Kleenex, were particularly hard hit by resourceful competitors in the sanitary napkin and facial tissue markets. Kimberly-Clark ended the 1970s on the brink of collapse due to poor management, particularly with the attempt to enter the tampon market, and other ill-advised capital investment programs. (Heinrich, 2004, p. 3) Kimberly-Clark needed a new product from the ground up to save it from itself. This product was Huggies. Similar to how the Taurus saved Ford Motor Company, Huggies was that product for Kimberly-Clark. Huggies were an anomaly in Kimberly-Clark’s dark days of the 1970s, in that it was a successful project that was overseen by the company at that time. In a major windfall for the company, Kimberly-Clark was able to take away the market leadership position of Proctor & Gamble in the disposable diaper market. This was particularly remarkable since the disposable diaper market was invented by Proctor & Gamble in the 1960s. The Huggies brand, combined with a major restructuring of corporate policy, brought the company...
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(2010, September 30)
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