The Lenzing Group is charting “a bold new course” that takes it from a B2B company to a B2C brand and its proprietary Tencel fiber is leading the way.
Harold Weghorst, director of global brand management, said the major new brand repositioning will place Tencel as “the textile specialty brand” within the Lenzing portfolio.
“We are charting a bold new course to simplify our product portfolio and elevate our brand to bring more value to consumers and industry partners,” Weghorst said. “As Lenzing’s flagship brand in the textile sector, Tencel will grow beyond fiber types and functional characteristics, it will become a true consumer-focused brand with a promise of something more functional and emotional.”
The Lenzing Group, a leading supplier of high quality, botanic cellulose fibers for the textile, nonwoven and industrial application industries, has been migrating into a specialty fiber business with a strong focus on innovation, technology and sustainability since the introduction of its sCore TEN business strategy in 2015.
With more active brand discussion and ongoing consumer education, Lenzing is set to enable B2B customers to maximize marketing effectiveness and enable consumers to identify products made with sustainable materials.
The redefining of the Tencel brand is a key milestone of Lenzing’s new brand strategy to enhance product brand offerings, foster connection with customers and consumers, and drive consumer demand, Weghorst said.
Designed and based on the findings and insights of extensive market research, the fresh approach is an important step for Lenzing to transform its brand architecture.
“Through this research we came to believe that focusing on the B2B value chain was not enough to sustain and achieve the growth we wanted,” Weghorst said in a phone interview. “We wanted to go from a B2B brand to what we call a B2me brand that speaks to our customers in the value chain and to consumers, and also address the benefits that consumers are valuing by elevating the Tencel brand.”
For the first nine months of fiscal 2017, Lenzing saw consolidated revenue climb 9.4% year-on-year to $2.04 billion, as earnings rose 23.9% to $469.07 million.
Under the new brand strategy, Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell fibers will be key ingredients in the Tencel branded product portfolio, whereas modal and lyocell had been sold under their own monikers within Lenzing.
Derived from certified and controlled wood sources, Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell standard fibers are produced through responsible production processes and are compostable and biodegradable.
“This is important for Lenzing to communicate because consumers want to feel good about the choices they’re making,” Weghorst said. “That’s one reason we created the brand promise of ‘Feels so right,’ meaning Tencel brings a greater degree of comfort and higher performance to consumers while making them feel good about the choices they make.”
Enabled by industry innovations, including Refribra technology, Eco Soft technology, Eco filament technology and Micro technology, textiles produced under the Tencel brand offer premium standards of sustainability and natural comfort to meet evolving consumer demand.
He said by elevating Tencel to a promise to the consumer rather than a product message to the value chain, “we can start to excite consumers, retailers and brands about the holistic benefits of botanic fibers.”
“We hope to create a stronger connection with the industry value chain and consumers through our expertise around sustainability, especially in Tencel Modal and Tencel Lyocell fibers,” he said. “In the long run, we plan to build Tencel not only into a trusted B2B brand, but also a preferred consumer brand, which provides B2B customers with ease to maximize marketing effectiveness and enables consumers to identify ‘feel-good’ products made with sustainable materials.”
Moving beyond fiber to distinctive everyday usage or applications in consumer-focused-branded offer, Tencel Active, Tencel Denim, Tencel Home, Tencel Intimate and Tencel Luxe have been created under the Tencel portfolio.
As for getting the message out, Weghorst said its starts with the launch and communicating the brand strategy internally and to Lenzing’s partners in the supply chain. A new website, Tencel.com, has been created, and media and public relations mediums are being addresses. Social media will be an important vehicle to get the message out to consumers, Weghorst noted, and trade and consumer advertising will also be employed.
Overall, he said the brand repositioning will be ongoing over the next two years or so as Lenzing fulfills licensing and business obligations within the existing brand architecture.
“Probably the most important aspect will be co-branding with retailers and brands, since Lenzing, as an ingredient provider, does not make a product that is sold directly to the consumer,” Weghorst said.
He noted that new swing tags and marketing materials will be launched on a retail level to provide clarity on product benefit claims containing Tencel branded fibers. This will also include point-of-sale materials and marketing initiatives with brand partners.
The swing tags, along with more detailed guidelines on B2B and B2C usage, are now available on Lenzing’s new e-branding service platform, which caters to B2B customers and retail partners, offering faster, more sustainable and more user-friendly solutions for certification and licensing.
The company noted that this is the first step of Lenzing’s new brand exercise, where the same approach will also apply to nonwoven and industrial applications that will be announced at a later stage.