TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2016: it’s Only Good at API Consumer Brands

The challenge

API Consumer Brands already has a few well-known brands under its umbrella, including Cancer Society, Health Basics and Home Essentials, yet it gave itself the challenge of launching yet another beauty brand. 

As there is a lot of competition in the personal hygiene category, where customers often have a ‘lowest price’ mentality, often driven by supermarkets’ price mark downs, API realised the health products sector was becoming a constant competition of share grabbing led by short-term discounting tactics.

As a small New Zealand manufacturer, its margins were already lower than its global counterparts and with price as a key selling point, those margins were on a downward slide, which hindered API’s ability to take on global competitors head-on. 

Because personal wash is one of API’s biggest production lines, these market dynamics meant the very livelihood of its manufacturing facility was at stake.

API needed to rise above the existing brand rat-race to play a new game to achieve a higher margin and prove that local manufacturers were more than just viable.   

It also recognised to achieve its three-year strategy to become the number one manufacturer in body-wash in New Zealand, it could not rely on one brand alone. It needed to devise a marketing strategy that would provide consumers with new choices but that would not hinder the sales of its other brand Health Basics. 

The response

To do all this, it created Only Good, a line-up of natural and palm free body and hand washes. Realising that there were no automatic passes for being a New Zealand brand, it made sure the ingredients in its new product were free of parabencolour, synthetic fragrance and any nasties. 

But natural ingredients aren’t enough to make someone want to buy your product, it also knew it needed to make Only Good beautiful. It opted for a sleek amber bottle with apothecary cues to communicate natural, a beautifully modern yet simplistic label design to not over-complicate its key messaging and a colour palette to fit seamlessly into the home and stand out on the shelf. 

The name Only Good was also important, as in the FMCG space, quick, clear communication is important and the name was key to representing the ‘all or nothing’ compromise range. So, the packaging communicates immediately that the range is good for consumers. 

To spread word of its new product and reach out to its target market – young consumers with more disposable income – it partnered with New Zealand sisters and influencers Julia and Libby. A TVC was created featuring the sisters and shot in a New York style apartment where they reviewed the product and a series of behind-the-scenes videos created with Julia and Libby were used within a digital campaign to educate information-hungry consumers on why Only Good was so good. An in-store experiential campaign was also conducted to catch consumers at point of purchase. 

With ‘scent’ still a primary purchase driver and ‘foaming’ a subconscious view of product efficacy, consumers were able to truly experience Only Good before purchase by washing their hands in-store. This strategy allowed API to keep customers engaged for longer.

The results

API successfully introduced a ‘department-store-type’ brand that is price competitive, aimed specifically at the highly competitive personal care aisles of the nation’s supermarkets, that has achieved remarkable success and without cannibalising sales of Health Basics. 

In less than a year, and with just four products in the range, Only Good has become the market’s fastest growing brand in category, now ranked third behind Palmolive and Health Basics and it’s still continuing to grow exponentially. 

It has also broken new ground on a number of other fronts with the grocery environment with its use of natural ingredients, the stance against using palm oil, the introduction of a new level of aesthetic and premium cues to the category, the simplicity and effectiveness of the design approach and new apothecary style bottle and the re-set price point. 

All of these shifts and more came from a deep understanding of the consumer and a commitment to deliver the natural, responsible and integrated lifestyle product they were looking for that represented unbelievable value. 

With competitors now rushing to emulate what Only Good has started, the range has transformed the experience and changed expectations for consumers. It has provided consumers with a new level of personal products and it has proven beyond doubt that a small New Zealand manufacturer can more than hold its own against the global behemoths. 

In a category where uniformity is the norm, Only Good successfully broke all the moulds to deliver a distinctive brand that is redefining consumer expectation. 

Emerging Business/New Brand
Company Name
API Consumer Brands
Judge’s comment
“Only Good is a classic marketing success story and should be lauded as such. It has given API two out of three of New Zealand’s top body and wash brands, growing margin and avoiding cannibalisation of product along the way.”
Marketing Partners
Milk, BrandWorld,  Julia & Libby, Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund
Eat My Lunch, MediaWorks NZ, The Warehouse Group Financial Services

  • This story first appeared in the Awards issue of NZ Marketing.
  • To read more on the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2016, click here.

About Author

Comments are closed.