Church & Dwight: Hammering Away At New Brands

How does a 150-year-old brand stay fresh? For Church & Dwight and its Arm & Hammer brand, it's all about innovation and a steady stream of licensing opportunities realized.

Church & Dwight established the Arm & Hammer brand–logo and all–in 1867. It's unlikely that founders Austin Church and John Dwight envisioned that someday there would be 80 brands and thousands of products under the corporate banner, but today, thanks to the strength of the original brand and licensing efforts, Church & Dwight is a nearly $3 billion global business.

 

Eight of the company's 80 brands generate more than 80 percent of its revenue and profits. These "power brands" are market leaders and ripe with licensing opportunity, and include such recognizable names as Arm & Hammer, Trojan, OxiClean, Spinbrush, First Response, Nair, Orajel and Xtra,

According to Church & Dwight's annual report, all eight power brands are market leaders. In 2012, the company grew share on six of these brands, and its licensing efforts landed it on License! Global's Top 150 Global Licensors report at No. 89, reporting $250 million in retail sales of licensed product in 2012.

Of these brands, there is a central focus on one in particular.

"Arm & Hammer is the crown jewel in our franchise among a powerhouse family of brands," says Tammy Talerico-Payne, director of licensing, Church & Dwight.

Talerico-Payne says it is important that licensed product return more of the brand equity than it borrows. To accomplish this, potential licensees are carefully considered and, in the case of Arm & Hammer, each new product must be focused on the deodorization equity of baking soda.

There are four key areas of focus for Arm & Hammer:

  • Baby–Arm & Hammer is a natural fit in the nursery. The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Disposal System incorporates baking soda into a diaper pail and bags, as well as offers supporting products including changing pads and baby wipes. The entire line is in broad distribution across national retail accounts after launching in 2010.
  • Pet products–Arm & Hammer and pet waste management, scooper products, cat litter (along with accessories including liners, matts and boxes) and pet oral care products are a focus for the brand. A new line of Arm & Hammer dog beds began shipping in the second quarter of this year.
  • Air care–Arm & Hammer is relatively new to this category with HVAC filters, car cabin air filters, candles and air fresheners. New products launching this year will include aerosols, gel beads, solid gels, plug-ins and candles from Worldcare Products, a new licensee in 2012. Each of the products will come in five core fragrances with roughly eight different SKUs for each fragrance. Two to three seasonal fragrances will flow in throughout the year, according to Talerico-Payne. The line will soft launch this year and go into broader distribution in 2014, which they are currently pitching to retailers, she says.
  • Household products–Textiles from London Luxury include bedding that reduces allergens, mattress encasements to prevent bedbugs and dish towels and dishcloths with deodorization technology. There are also shelf and drawer liners and cleaning gloves. Fresh Take, a line of food storage products from Protect Plus, rolled out this spring. There is also a co-branded product with Dutch Boy paints.

It hasn't taken long to put together a robust portfolio of outbound licenses. When Talerico-Payne joined the company nine years ago, the division was considerably less established with just three licensing agreements, all of which have since lapsed.

"I was brought in to mine for strategic partners to help drive the business," she says.

The first one came shortly after her arrival with Jarden Consumer Solutions that included small air purifiers and humidifiers with the Arm & Hammer brand. Today, the company has hundreds of licensed products across multiple categories.

 

Church & Dwight also works with licensing agent Brandgenuity. The agency is tasked with exploring opportunities for Church & Dwight's other brands, rising stars within the company like specialty products OxiClean and Kaboom. One such program is a line of soon-to-be released cleaning tools from OxiClean and licensee Kleen Maid that totals 10 products in all.

"Kaboom is a bathroom cleaning product that has tremendous equity, as well," says Adina Avery-Grossman, partner, Brandgenuity. "We are trying to figure out what things they can do in the bathroom and are about to announce a product that will be transformative for that brand and the marketplace."

This will be the first licensee for Kaboom.

Additionally, Church & Dwight has outbound licensing programs for First Response with reproductive health products. The Trojan brand has expanded to include peripheries alongside its core product, while Nair, a hair removal brand, and Extra, a value-priced laundry brand, present additional opportunities.

The Orajel franchise is growing with the addition of a line of teething rings with licensee Munchkin, an extension of the Baby Orajel product line launched in January and currently in limited distribution.

There are also inbound licenses including several with the Spinbrush family of battery-powered toothbrushes. The Arm & Hammer Spinbrush with Tooth Tunes features music from popular recording artists including One Direction and the Black Eyed Peas.

"As a company, Church & Dwight is very supportive of licensing from the top down–this is not an ancillary business," says Jay Asher, partner, Brandgenuity.

Church & Dwight hosts yearly licensee summits to explore opportunities and develop cross-marketing and retail-specific programs.

It can be a challenge for a company, any company, to innovate, but even after 160 years, continuing to develop and launch new products is a priority at Church & Dwight.

"The challenge to licensees is to lead through innovation, but all are focused on the equity of the brand," says Talerico-Payne.

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