The phrase “higher order of benefits” is creeping into brand marketing lexicon. It is an expression of value that describes a product’s ability to establish such a deep meaning with a consumer that it cements a personal connection. Leading-edge brand marketers are beginning to leverage packaging in this elevated level of brand communications thinking to differentiate products.
Kimberly-Clark provides a recent example. Its Huggies GoodNites children’s disposable diapers brand is winning back market share it had lost to new national-brand and private-label competitors by moving the brand away from the commodity of a diaper and into a comfort brand that appeases the target product user—kids ages 4 to 10 years who suffer some level of bedtime incontinence. The brand also gains parents’ trust.
“This is a sensitive subject,” says Christine Mau, Kimberly-Clark Brand Design Director. “It has to do with children’s self-esteem. We tried to bring that forward in a way that says, ‘it’s okay.’
GoodNites packaging needed a restage because the previous packaging took its cues from the prints and patterns of children’s underwear and no longer created differentiation from the new competitors in the category, Mau explains. The new design focuses on visual images that represent bedtime bonding moments between parents and kids.
Kimberly-Clark’s new visual language for GoodNites took shape after interviews with kids—both bedwetters and others—as well as parents, says Bill Goodwin, CEO at Goodwin Design. Through interviews and conceptual package testing, the creative team found that bedwetters have dreams and aspirations, just like other kids.
The design challenge was how to communicate what the product does without making it clinical or embarrassing. “We didn’t want a package with “badge value,” Mau says. The brand name provides the path. GoodNites describes an occasion, whereas other diaper names describe products.
That realization led to the important initial step of establishing the brand promise “Lighten the Night.” Photography of children, capturing the happy and confident look on their faces at the moment when mom or dad walks into their room to tuck them into bed, is the dominating package image.
Interestingly, the brand lacks a defining equity color. The decision was made to use blue and magenta colors, but with the sole purpose of identifying products across the line by gender. GoodNites come in HDPE flexible that are flexo-printed by the Milprint division of Bemis Flexible Packaging in six colors and a varnish coating. At the bottom of each package’s front panel, a navigation bar provides information on size and product type, and it also contains a swatch showing the product’s printed pattern.
By focusing on a higher order of benefits, Kimberly-Clark has made a commodity product approachable and confidence-inspiring, two hallmarks that elevate a product to the level of a brand.