Toilet paper has been used often as an example of a product that is bulk and very difficult to brand without spending huge amounts of marketing money. Well, for most people this is true, but could you make toilet paper a very unique experience for the consumer? Of course, and there are number of ways to do that.
Why toilet paper is considered bulk?
This is quite easy. Toilet paper has one value add purpose, that that is “wiping things in the toilet”. The basic features are pretty much the same for that purpose. The buying decision is based quite much on pricing and very little on features or brand image. Very few people show off the brand they’ve chosen.
How toilet paper is being differentiated in marketing?
Yes, we have 2-ply, 3-ply and even 5-ply. “Will not make your finger go through the paper”. Then there is the perception of softness. One toilet paper used to have a campaign featuring a lamb skin softness as a perceived attribute to the roll.
But in the end, it all seems to come to price, reduced price campaigns and lower margins.
Is there something more or new one could do?
Yes. Let’s think about it. In my opinion there are two different ways to make a toilet paper brand to stand out from the crowd and make people to choose
1. Storytelling. I haven’t come across any toilet paper that has a real story that is meaningful to the people. Yes, there are some “environmental” standards being used in the marketing, but not as a story. Where is the legacy “since 1894” story? Where is the “Your local paper” story? Who is the “king of wiping”?
There are april fool joke about storytelling, but you could make it real as well.
2. Extend the product and product offering. Why there hasn’t been any reinventing in this category? Where is the portable toilet paper? Or moisturized? Do we need to use paper? Why we need rolls, instead use squares or even bags? Oh, and is there a way to store your stuff in the product and take it with you?
There have been some good experiments like tissue paper in a tablet (see below)
As a conclusion, there is a lot that could be done to create something new and amazing in this category.,
Do you have an idea how to make something amazing? To support people in their reinventions, I challenge people to reinvent things. If you want to be challenged in this or some other category, let me know!