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Successful innovations and strong brands go hand in hand. Essity’s innovation strategy is to consistently deliver better, safer and more environmentally sound products and solutions to our customers and consumers. We intend to increase the pace and impact of our innovations as well as capitalize on global economies of scale and ensure that all product segments have a competitive and balanced portfolio of innovations.
During 2017, Essity launched 41 innovations that simplify everyday life for people and strengthen Essity’s brands and market positions. Our innovations result from a well-established innovation process driven by committed employees in innovation teams worldwide that collaborate and share customer and consumer insights with the aim of improving quality of life for people.
As a natural part of our way of working with innovations, we embrace open innovations. We team up with the best players in the world and benefit from external resources and their knowledge to enable us to act fast in a world where trends and needs constantly change.
One example is our partnership with the organization Plug and Play, which offers a global innovation platform that joins startups with larger established companies. Collaborations like this give rise to new business concepts, shorten project lead times, enhance output and value, while being resource effective at the same time.
To ensure that we deliver value-added innovations, we work in many different ways to understand the circumstances, expectations and needs of customers and consumers. For example, we communicate and interact with customers and consumers through social media and on our brands’ websites, including www.tena.com, www.libresse.com and www.libero.com. One example is the Libero Club, an online forum for families. More than 65% of all toddler parents and pregnant mothers in the Nordic region are members of the Libero Club. On the website www.libero.se/nya-liberoklubben, parents can read hundreds of articles about pregnancy and parenthood, share tips and get advice from Libero’s own midwife.
We are working to develop digital solutions that add value and improve service for our customers and consumers. In 2017, we entered into a partnership with Microsoft around the Internet of Things, to enhance our innovation efforts and create market-leading, digital hygiene and health products and solutions. For a number of years, Essity has been working with solutions based on big data and the Internet of Things. Examples of previously launched digital solutions include TENA Identifi™, an innovative digital technology that allows for better incontinence care efficiency, and Tork EasyCube™, a web-connected dispenser for such products as soap and paper hand towels, which provides real time information to janitors and facility managers to ensure that these products are replenished in time.
To ensure successful launches of our innovations and to strengthen our brands, we need to be innovative also in our marketing. Essity’s advertising campaigns are increasingly launched via social media. We want to create stories others like and share. In Feminine Care, under our Libresse and Bodyform brands for example, we are challenging the taboos surrounding menstruation. In 2017, we launched #bloodnormal, a film on digital and social media that use red liquid in place of blue to realistically depict periods. With more than 50 million impressions on social media, the campaign was successful in driving conversations and debate concerning menstruation. In the UK, parallel with this campaign, Essity arranged lectures at school led by experts from “The Self Esteem Team”. The lessons were free and addressed problems related to mental health and self-esteem, and openly talked about menstruation.
All of Essitys innovation work starts with an insight about a customer or consumer need. This insight will guide the innovation work on how to improve existing products, satisfy new needs and build our brands. With leading brands such as TENA, Tork, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo, Vinda and Zewa, improved product performance is essential for ensuring attractive offerings and strong brands.
Innovation drives growth and profi tability and is one of the company’s three strategic priorities.
Innovation creates value for our business by increasing customer and consumer satisfaction and cutting costs. One of the aspects the innovation teams take into account is to improve effi - ciency, for example in how we use raw materials and optimize transportation. This means both lower environmental impact and lower costs. Innovation is also paramount in our marketing in order to fi nd new ways to market our offering.