Georgia-Pacific had created innovative, new FLAX Cloths as a 100%-natural solution within the wiper category under its Brawny® industrial and foodservice brands. After Georgia-Pacific tested the product under a different name in the market, HeavyDuty Branding was tapped to produce a full marketing plan and help launch FLAX Cloths within two very distinct verticals: industrial and foodservice.
Traditionally made from paper, polyester or polypropelene, wipers are towels used for cleaning in industrial and foodservice environments such as mechanic shops, restaurants and bars. However, FLAX Cloths are towels made through a patented manufacturing process exclusive to Georgia-Pacific that uses the stalks of flax plants.
This 100%-natural cloth is soft, strong and absorbent, and performs as well as–or better than–competitor wipers. Unlike traditional polypropylene and other oil-based wipers, FLAX Cloths are sustainable. They also provide a “green” alternative to the rags and rental cloths used by many mechanics and restaurants. Ultimately, FLAX Cloths are disposable, safer and more cost-effective.
For the FLAX Cloths launch, Georgia-Pacific had a list of considerations which needed to be addressed including:
FLAX Cloths would be a product extension of the nationally known Brawny brand, so all branding needed to fit the “family” look, yet still provide FLAX Cloths their own brand identity.
Georgia-Pacific would be selling FLAX Cloths against other Georgia-Pacific wiper products within two very different verticals: industrial and foodservice.
Product features (absorbency, strength and safety) had to be positioned differently to industrial and foodservice verticals.
Within each vertical, targeted messaging needed to be effectively communicated to end-users and decision-makers.
The launch would include an internal rollout campaign to create buzz inside the team through sales materials and training support, and also needed to roll out at a major industry trade show.
Georgia-Pacific acquired vast amounts of rich data since a previous incarnation of FLAX Cloths had already been in the marketplace. However, this information was mainly focused on the distributors and not the actual end-users or the machinists, garage mechanics, servers and kitchen staff personnel who would typically get their hands dirty on the job.
HeavyDuty Branding provided boxes of FLAX Cloths to local automotive garages, print shops and restaurants so employees could engage with the product in real-life, hands-on testing. The results from our test panel showed positive reactions to the product’s performance in on-the-job situations. Employees appreciated the product’s cloth-like feel, strength and durability. Those who tested FLAX Cloths loved that they could simply dispose of the product, unlike the rags and rental shop towels which often contained toxic chemicals and metal shards–even after being washed.
In addition to the knowledge gained from the tests, the team at HeavyDuty Branding needed to better understand distribution of the product in order to impact the way it was sold. The team visited Grainger®, one of the largest distributors of the previous towels, to witness how the product was warehoused and merchandised, as well as ascertain any challenges throughout the sales process.
In comparison to other wipers, the original Brawny® FLAX packaging neither made it easy to understand the product attributes nor established any differentiation from the other Brawny products. Ultimately, it seemed as though the purchasing decision was based solely on price and brand credibility.
The new FLAX Cloth packaging solution needed to be visually appealing on the shelf. However, it also needed to effectively communicate key product features to end-users and decision-makers from two very different vertical markets: industrial and foodservice.
For insights, we deep-dived into market research from our “hands-on” testing. There were several areas where end-users and decision-makers overlapped within both verticals and where product needs varied widely. Our goal–to find the “sweet spot” where everyone agreed.
End-users in both verticals valued the multi-purpose versatility of FLAX Cloths equally.
Industrial end-users cared more about strength and cost-effectiveness.
Foodservice end-users were more interested in absorbency and cleaning properties.
Decision-makers within both verticals focused on cost-effectiveness, multi-purpose versatility and performance.
The surprise finding: while end-users and decision-makers appreciated the product’s “green” nature to differing degrees, it was not a big selling point.
Using both the research gathered through testing and the client’s considerations, HeavyDuty Branding developed a strategy that would ensure a successful launch by designing the new packaging to stand out in a crowd of generic-looking products. Priority was placed on allowing the user to quickly identify the appropriate FLAX Cloth based on the job at hand.
The design solution took several key attributes into consideration:
SUPPORTING MATERIALS AND STRATEGIC LAUNCH CALENDAR
HeavyDuty Branding mapped out a 6-month schedule and deployed supporting materials that were strategically coordinated to ensure maximum results.
Internal Launch Communications
Developed a series of emails teasing the launch, reinforcing key messaging
Sales Tool Kit
Display kit that showcased wider product
range and messaging
Communicated features and benefits,
held product samples
New Product Landing Page
Featured easy-to-use tab system
Illustrated wet strength, oil and water absorbency
ISSA New Product Innovation Award Campaign
Created a campaign to solicit votes for industry
association’s new product innovation award
Trade Show & Event
Featured various product messages
Despite Georgia-Pacific’s early excitement about the sustainable nature of FLAX Cloths, the reality was that
product performance trumps sustainability for the actual professionals using the product at work. In other
words, “green” was not as major a selling point as was believed.
Therefore, the creative solution HeavyDuty Branding developed cleverly addressed both product performance
and sustainability. Imagery featured a “typical” end-user holding up a no-nonsense message on a FLAX Cloth.
The message read: “Finally, a disposable cloth that is absorbent and sustainable.”