Monday, July 16, 2012

How to clean up in the U.S.

        The c.e.o. of Clorox has a strategy different from his big competitors. In an interview in the Wall Street Journal, he said his target for growth is the United States --- not Brazil, China, or India.

        Clorox is doing just fine here and in Latin America. Better than P&G and others.

         Don Knauss has gleaned insights from his customers, especially on "natural cleaning" with products such as Green Works. These insights include, "It's about my world, not about the world". Or, "I don't want my kids around traditional chemicals", or "my child has asthma".

        He also believes one of the most important lessons of marketing: "Consumers aren't very good at articulating what they want. They are usually very good at telling us what doesn't work. We're getting much better at talking to consumers about the issues they have, rather than asking them to design solutions."

        I wonder how that would go over in the fashion business, especially with designers. Should designer brands do a lot more consumer research to understand their customers and glean insights from them?

      Or, instead of research,  should designers perform their art and then offer their products and see what happens? If all designers care about is their art --- art that people seem to be buying to wear, to impress, to feel good in, to attract, to fit into a group or stand out from a group, or for a hundred other reasons --- the designers' chances of pleasing people will always be, well, chancey.

      Of course fashionistas will fly to Paris or Milan to see the shows, but will most people go downtown to see their apparel in the store?

    Fashion designers should try to find happiness with marketers. That way they can become as successful as Clorox's fast-growing Burt's Bees.


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