As a focus on sanitization continued during year two of the pandemic, consumers had the strongest bonds with Dove, Olay and Lysol in the health and hygiene industry, according to MBLM.
Overall, the health and hygiene industry ranked eighth out of the 10 industries studied in MBLM’s latest Brand Intimacy COVID Study, which analyzes brands based on their emotional connections to consumers during the pandemic.
Brand Intimacy is the emotional science behind the bonds we form with the brands we use and love, according to the company.
Hygiene product segments related to combating virus spread continued their upward sales trajectories.
The remaining brands in the top 10 for the industry were Colgate, Pantene, Listerine, Ivory, Purell, Scope, and Head & Shoulders.
In 2021, the Dove brand was valued at approximately $5.1 billion despite a decline in skin cleansing compared to the prior year, while Olay benefited from parent company Procter and Gamble’s push to bolster ecommerce sales in the third quarter, according to the study.
Consumer preference for Lysol and Scope increased, reflecting the overall trend in hygiene product sales trajectories. Preference for Pantene and Head & Shoulders meanwhile declined.
Given the critical role many products played in keeping consumers safe during the pandemic, the industry has an opportunity to establish stronger emotional connections with customers, says Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM, who says he's surprised that performance has not improved more significantly.
“Most health and hygiene brands in our study have not significantly advanced the bonds they have with their customers or have not been able to effectively grow or deepen emotional connections,” Natarelli tells Marketing Daily.
Health and hygiene brands perform better with women than with men, and with consumers older than 35 versus those under 35. Compared to MBLM’s 2020 COVID study, more than 40% of consumers have an increased positive emotional connection with health and hygiene brands.
The category also improved its performance on the “willing to pay 20% more” and “can’t live without” measures, which increased 27% and 48%, respectively.
“Marketers in this space need to think less transactionally and in a more relationship-focused way,” Natarelli says. “They need to establish more personal bonds with users. In an industry as intimate as health and hygiene, they should find ways to connect and leverage the shared experience we have all been through and highlight their ability to keep us protected and well.”