Unilever broadens personal care portfolio with brand extensions

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care, Cosmetics

As part of ambitious plans to increase its footprint in the cosmetic and personal care market, Unilever has recently announced a number of significant brand extensions to broaden its portfolio.

The extensions include expansion of the Axe deodorant range - which is also named Lynx in the UK market - into hair care, a new limited edition Lynx fragrance for women and the announcement of the company’s first ever natural certified product – Timotei Organic Delight.

A highly successful global marketing campaign for Axe has helped put the brand firmly on the map for under-30 males, particularly in the mature markets of Europe and the US. Indeed, the brand has proved to be one of the main driving forces behind the company’s improved financial performance.

Now the company is building on the success of that branding by expanding into hair care for younger men, as well as making more tentative moves to promote the brand to younger women.

Expansion of hair care range backed by Alberto Culver acquisition

The move into hair care backs up the company’s acquisition of the Alberto Culver business at the end of 2010, one of the biggest hair care players in the global market, with brands that include TRESemmé, Simple and VO5.

The expansion of the Timotei hair care line also represents a big new move for Unilever, as it not only serves to further expand its hair care portfolio, but it is also the company’s first serious move into the expanding natural and organic market.

Timotei Organic Delight is free from parabens, silicones, colourants and sulphates, and is claimed to contain 100 per cent natural fragrance and 99 percent natural ingredients – factors that helped the company to secure COSMEBIO certification for the range.

The product line contains two shampoos – one for normal hair and one for dry and damaged hair – and both of which are said to contain up to 15 per cent of the ingredients sourced from certified organic farms.

It was introduced in Poland and France at the end of last year, and will be rolled out in other major European countries during the course of this year.

Emphasis on personal care, as food arm is consolidated

In recent years, Unilever has been successfully growing its business by concentrating on its personal care arm, while simultaneously consolidating its food and beverage operations.

The Anglo-Dutch company, which is one of the biggest fast moving consumer product businesses in the world, has also been growing its personal care business through acquisitions and mergers.

At the end of last year it announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Russian cosmetics player Kalina for around €500m, in a move that aims to boost the company’s personal care presence in fast-growing developing markets.

Unilever’s personal care and emerging markets drive has clearly paid off, underlined by its recent financial performance. For the most recent Q3 2011 results, the company posted turnover of €12.1bn driven by underlying sales growth ahead of the market at 7.8 per cent.

Personal care was still the largest business segment during the quarter with turnover of €4.1bn and sales growth of 11.3 per cent, while Brazil and Russia were earmarked as specific market driving forces.

Related topics: Business & Financial

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