Domestos – Doubling Sales While Giving Millions Increased Access to Toilets

As a marketeer I love when a brand commits to addressing a significant social challenge at the same time as building relevant and credible brand equity and awareness. Domestos (remember “kills all known germs dead”?) has for the past decade embraced the challenge of helping to give tens of millions of people improved access to toilets.

As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, in 2010 Domestos set out to help 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. They overshot their target, helping 29 million people to have such access and now, working with UNICEF, Domestos has committed to helping 100 million people by 2030.

This is good news for global health. Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene account for a large part of the burden of illness and death in developing countries (source: World Bank).

It’s also good news for Domestos which has seen its business double in size in the last 10 years. Sold in 45 countries (under a variety of names, including Domex in India and Vim in Argentina) it is market leader in almost all markets in which it operates.

Domestos is a brilliant example of a #purposeled brand. Purpose-led brands create a simple, compelling message to educate consumers about the issue at the heart of their mission, and they often use one clear data point to anchor the message – as Domestos does with access to clean toilets.

Here is what Unilever, Domestos’ parent company, says about purpose: “We are driven by our purpose: to make #sustainable living commonplace. It’s why we come to work. It’s why we’re in business. It’s how we inspire exceptional performance.”

Consumers are increasingly seeking brands that have a purpose. According to a Deloitte 2022 global survey:

·      62% of people want companies to take a stand on social, cultural, environmental and political issues close to their heart.

·      63% of people are buying goods and services from companies that reflect their personal values and beliefs.

·      57% indicate that in general they are more loyal to brands that commit to addressing social inequities.

These figures are significantly higher in younger cohorts. According to Bain & Company Millennials constitute 50% of the market for purpose-led brands, yet represent only a little more than 30% of the market for incumbent brands.

The Deloitte survey provides evidence that brands that commit to purpose are gaining a competitive advantage and are growing faster than brands or companies without any social orientation or philosophy. In the case of Unilever, the brands they have categorized as sustainable living brands – like Domestos – grew 69% faster than the rest of the business in 2018.

Finally if you want to future proof your business in terms of talent, purpose is the way to go. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025 and they are increasingly looking for purpose-led employers. According to a Deloitte 2020 report, purpose-led companies have 40% higher levels of retention than their competitors.

This is the tenth in a year-long series of weekly blogs by Jean Callanan telling stories of businesses and brands that are doing inspiring and innovative things in addressing #climatechange . Read the background thinking and the stories of Knorr Future 50 FoodsAn PostGood on YouNotplaLow Carbon Materials , Wren Urban Nest Dublin Companies Helping us Reduce the Energy and Money we Pour Down the Drain and Allbirds.