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Customer excellence series: Hero Condoms

heroA finalist in the Responsible Impact Excellence award category in the 2016 Inside Retail Customer Excellence Awards, Hero’s social responsibility has attracted a growing customer base.

Describing itself as “global cause-centric”, Hero is dedicated to improving people’s lives through health and education. For every Hero product sold, one is also donated to a developing country to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and contribute to saving lives.

“At heart, Hero is a brand that caters for those conscious consumers who know that buying our product will enable them to make a difference to someone’s life while also meeting their needs,” Niki Carlino, explained to Inside Retail. “The Hero team always tries to understand the customer’s needs and ensure that that experience is always a great one.”

Late last year [November] Hero launched its new natural, vegan-friendly lubricant, which has proved immensely popular.

“We understood the appeal of such a product as there was not a similar product available in most major retailers,” Carlino observed.  “With the recent trend for more natural products and less additives, sugar and fats, we thought why not launch a plant-based lubricant that everyone can enjoy? So that’s what we did in consultation with one of our major customers, as they also saw the gap in the market.”

This product is currently outperforming all expectations, Carlino reported. “Instore demand exceeded our forecasts by 177 per cent in Woolworths supermarkets on launch of the product; luckily we were prepared as we had reserve stock to supply and ensured our customers were kept happy.”

At present Hero is in negotiations with several retailers in China and the UK.

Knowing who its customers are and therefore what they are really looking for, has been a major focus for Hero in its product development. The company has conducted numerous surveys into the recent formulation of sustainable cube packaging – a new and radical change for the condom category. This packaging has appealed to a growing niche of conscious consumers, including organic and vegan.

“We believed a redesign of the product packaging to appear more premium and feature a cooler, more global aesthetic was required,” said Carlino.

“A high-end design would appeal to women and a younger audience and resonate with those 18-34-year-olds. The new packaging is more aligned to our global strategy and conveys three key factors: social responsibility, trust and desire.”

“Our customers are more informed and empowered than ever before.  They feel a greater sense of personal impact through their purchasing decisions but also through their ability to make sacrifices in their own lives to amplify social and environmental change.”

And his best advice? “Listen to your customers [whether] a retailer, consumer or shopper – after all, they are the people who will be advocates for your brand.”

Nominations are now open to enter the 2017 Retailer Awards, presented by Dashing.

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