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How Sellotape is using social media to make consumers love it again

How Sellotape is using social media to make consumers love it again

By UTalkMarketing Editor, Clark Turner.

Always there, helping you out in a tricky situation, trusted and reliable, taken for granted… Sellotape and mothers have a lot in common. But while Mums are thanked every year on Mother’s Day, there’s been no love for the sticky tape.

All that is set to change if Sellotape Marketing Director, David McCann (pictured) has his way. He has one mission: To make people fall in love with Sellotape again.

2010 is a milestone year for Henkel-owned Sellotape, one of the most iconic brands in the UK.  The brand launched in 1937 and has led the market ever since.

Now, this October the brand is being re-launched following a £3m investment into the development, repositioning and redesign of the entire Sellotape range.

The new products and packaging follow the newly identified proposition of the brand - 'Simple Ingenuity'- the ability to turn something ordinary into something special.

“The market is tough for all consumer goods and consumers are always looking for value,” admitted McCann. “They are always weighing up the costs Vs the benefits of a product and  for us to demonstrate value against other sticky tapes is core.”

With the brand having such a heritage there’s a high level of positive sentiment amongst consumers. Focus groups presented McCann with some “mind blowing” revelations about how the tape was being used outside Christmas and Birthday occasions.

So, for example, stories of people taping up a fallen hem on a skirt in an emergency before a meeting, or creating a costume for a school play from cardboard boxes and tape the evening before a performance.

“There’s an amazing warmth that people have towards the brand. Now, it’s time to love it again.  We stopped telling people why we are relevant to their lives and need to address that,” added McCann.

“I some ways Sellotape is seen by some as a kindly old gent. But it should be a brand that people care about when it’s found and used everywhere. When I was growing up there was always a roll of Sellotape in the kitchen drawer, like most households in the country.”

He continued, “It’s a brand which needs respect and investment. But beyond consumer sentiment, there’s also the commercial aspect. When you don’t innovate, product categories become mere commodities. If all consumers think all tape is the same, it reflects badly on us.”

‘Simple Ingenuity’ has been conceived as the new essence of the brand. It aims to capture the idea that the product is simple in itself but ingenuity comes from the creativity of the consumers themselves.

It’s now hoped the scale of the range reflects how consumers are using the product. But at the end of the day Christmas still remains the most critical time of the year for sales.

“Sellotape as a business wouldn’t  be the same without Christmas, and  Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Sellotape,” explained McCann.

“There is definitely a seasonal business and Christmas is a peak, but we are always looking for more peaks. In a perfect world there should be a peak everyday with birthdays happening 365 days a year. So we’ve introduced a gifting range to address this.”

The re-launch of the range is seeing a considerable investment in POS with new display bins and free-standing units in bid to create some in-store theatre.

The campaign, entitled ‘Experiment’, also involves a new TV ad which will be backed by press.

Creative involves taking scenarios as flagged up by consumers in focus groups for a series of executions with the underlying message that not all sticky tapes are equal. But that’s just the beginning.

Digital activity includes the launch of a new website and investment in social media.

“The web allows us to manage the brand experience and how the brand interacts with consumers,” McCann explained.

“We want to engage with them, and then for them to come back showing us how they have been experimenting with Sellotape and upload content to the new website site, be it text, a picture or video.”

He continued, “Out of the ideas, we might be able to incorporates some into R&D or even transform them into new creative, which will help us to keep the engagement going.”

Part of the purpose will also be to educate consumers that all sticky tapes are not equal with the marketing boss admitting one of his biggest challenges is to help consumer differentiate between Sellotape and generic sticky tape. And that’s where social media can really come into play.

“As a channel it fits in with our aim of interacting with consumers and gaining feedback. I admit it’s not something that perhaps we have taken seriously enough but we will seriously be building on it in the next 12 months,” said McCann.

“Marketing investment at Henkel is at a level as has never been seen before. It’s a step which marks a radical change in the business. There are going to be some major developments over the next 12 months for fellow brands such as Loctite, Unibond and Pritt.”

Beyond that there’s the B2B side of the business targeting education and offices. But for McCann, essentially the strategic approach is basically the same.

“It’s all about value creation,” he explained. “So in the B2C market it’s about promoting the fact that ‘it works’ and is ‘trusted’, in the office environment it’s about Sellotape working when an envelope fails to stick and in education it’s as simple as kids being able to find the end of the roll.”

So readers, next time you are wrapping a gift spare a thought for the tape. Feel the love and McCann will know he has carried out a job well done.

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