Unhealthy branding: Health & hygiene ranks among the worst sectors in brand intimacy

by | Jan 14, 2022 | Public Relations

At a time when personal health is among the most important human quests, the health & hygiene industry ranks near the bottom of all sectors, according to the latest Brand Intimacy COVID Study from marketing intimacy agency MBLM. The industry ranks eighth out of the 10 industries analyzed in the study, which analyzes brands based on their emotional connections during the pandemic.

But some brands are driving the industry by driving those personal connections. Dove moved into first place in the latest rankings, while Olay dropped from first to second. Lysol rose to third place, as a focus on sanitization continued during year two of the pandemic. Brand Intimacy is the emotional science behind the bonds we form with the brands we use and love. The remaining brands in the top 10 for the industry are Colgate, Pantene, Listerine, Ivory, Purell, Scope, and Head & Shoulders.

Unhealthy branding: Health & hygiene ranks among the worst sectors in brand intimacy

In 2021, the Dove brand was valued at approximately $5.1 billion despite a decline in skin cleansing compared to the prior year, while Olay benefitted from parent company Procter and Gamble’s push to bolster e-commerce sales in the third quarter. Consumer preference for Lysol and Scope increased, reflecting the overall trend in hygiene product sales trajectories. Preference for Pantene and Head & Shoulders meanwhile declined.

“Given the intimate nature of health & hygiene products, often used on our bodies or ingested, as well as the critical role many products play in keeping us safe during the pandemic, we believe the industry has an opportunity to establish stronger emotional connections with customers and achieve greater brand intimacy,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM, in a news release. “Focusing on how they’ve helped consumers through this difficult time, how they enhance our lives and highlighting their ability to keep us protected and healthy would help the industry achieve ultimate relationships with customers and attract new ones.”

Unhealthy branding: Health & hygiene ranks among the worst sectors in brand intimacy

Additional notable health & hygiene industry findings include:

  • The industry has an average Brand Intimacy Quotient of 38.3 and has increased its performance this year by 2.5 percent.
  • Health & hygiene brands perform better with women than with men, and with consumers older than 35 versus those under 35.
  • Compared to our 2020 COVID study, more than 40 percent of consumers have an increased positive emotional connection with health & hygiene brands.
  • The category also improved its performance on the “willing to pay 20 percent more” and “can’t live without” measures, which increased 27 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

MBLM also wrote an article examining the health & hygiene industry entitled “Health & Hygiene Brands Stay Relevant During COVID”. The piece discusses the industry findings of MBLM’s study and looks at how the category as a whole has evolved communications in year two of the pandemic. Messaging has shifted from broader themes of assistance and care to a more detailed focus on product efficacy and scientific testing.

To view the health & hygiene industry findings, click here, and to download the industry report, click here. To download the main Brand Intimacy COVID Study report or explore the Rankings, click here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter