It started as a fabric refresher in 1998, but it became clear that Febreze would never become one of P&G's coveted billion-dollar brands in such a limited category. So P&G took cues from consumers to turn Febreze into an air freshener, too, spurring rapid growth. The takeaway: Brand equities can be broader than marketers imagine.
The old P&G model was to build premium brands in the U.S. and export them. Naturella, a mid-tier-priced feminine protection brand featuring the herbal ingredient chamomile, started in Mexico, where it helped P&G regain category leadership. P&G transplanted the concept in Latin America, Russia and Poland within three years. Lesson: Developing markets and lower-income consumers can be launching pads for brands, too.
As the brand fell behind Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Huggies in the 1990s, technical innovations like Pampers Rash Guard fell flat. A product and advertising overhaul built around baby development and seeing the world through babies' eyes revived Pampers globally. Lesson: Emotional connections can trump benefit claims.
Tide and Downy
Detergent-softener combos had come and largely gone before Tide With a Touch of Downy hit stores in 2004. But the co-branded iteration scored an 8% market share and helped push Tide to record sales without significantly hurting Downy or the fabric softener category. Lesson: Roll out the brand matrix; co-branding works. Pantene-Clairol and Cover Girl-Olay products also have recently launched.
A once dowdy brand built around the pink beauty fluid Oil of Olay, the brand has gotten a makeover. The "Oil" is gone, and such products as Daily Facials cloths, Regenerist age-defying products and Quench body lotion have turned Olay into a $2 billion global powerhouse growing at more than 20% annually. Lesson: Innovation can make even "Oil of Old Lady" young again.