Brand retreat for NIVEA: How a detox treatment brings more focus during growth

08. Aug 2022 | ID Unternehmensmarke, Presse-Publikationen

The NIVEA family

The brand is withstanding the economic challenges of our time: NIVEA is one of the fastest-growing brands in the mass market for facial care. Their revenue increased by 5.5 percent in 2021. But can the cow be milked indefinitely? We took a close look at the NIVEA brand management for Handelsblatt magazine.

“In this current age dominated by the energy crisis, war and inflation, consumers look for brands that promise security.”

Christopher Spall
Handelsblatt magazine

Why NIVEA is considered an iconic brand

NIVEA with its 130-year history is the world’s oldest skin care brand. No other skin care brand enjoys more trust around the globe. An unsupported awareness rate of nearly 100% is a testament to this success story. It’s worth it to dig down a few levels and take a look at the inner workings of the brand.

NIVEA has a clear positioning on skin care. Very few brands can express their essence so clearly in just one word. The brand is getting some help from an old culture code: an archetype that clearly anchors the brand. In this case, it is the archetype of the caring mother. It provides orientation, from new product development to the direction of brand communication. In the brand’s marketing, for example, women aged 30-50 are seen much more often than what is usual in the cosmetics industry. This archetype of the caring mother is also what makes NIVEA especially popular with families.

In addition, the brand is always clearly recognisable. The brand colour blue, the iconic logo and the round shape are expressions of exceptional reliability. Particularly interesting: The product lines often appear as identity variations, e.g. NIVEA BEAUTÉ, NIVEA SUN or NIVEA MEN. All sub-brands consistently support the umbrella brand NIVEA.

Why is NIVEA a top brand particularly in times of crisis?

Crises are when strong brands reveal their true potential. They are trust magnets and guarantee revenue. That’s good news for Beiersdorf and especially for the brand NIVEA.

What pitfalls must be avoided?

In the past, the NIVEA brand has been bloated to an incredible size – over 500 products. Excessive diversification muddies the clarity of a brand profile, which in turn negatively impacts attraction. High time, then, for a brand retreat.

The Handelsblatt picks up on this statement in the article “Beiersdorf: Weniger Produkte, mehr Marge” (Fewer products, greater margin).

“Nivea needs a detox treatment.”

Christopher Spall
Handelsblatt magazine

Consistency is more important than creativity

When it comes to brand success, consistency is more important than creativity. The CEO of Beiersdorf AG, Vincent Warnery, understands this. Hence, the corporation decided to strengthen the global presence of the brand: In the future, product launches and marketing campaigns are to be controlled globally to a greater extent. Fewer, but better and larger product launches and campaigns are planned, he says.

To support and implement this new strategy, a separate executive position was established: As “President NIVEA”, Grita Loebsack took on global responsibility for the brand in December 2021.

2 things that are now crucial for the brand NIVEA

  • Concentration on few but clearly positioned products that have the potential to become the market leaders in their segments
  • Focus on key innovations

Is NIVEA going green?

Like all brands, NIVEA is addressing the two great megatrends of our time: sustainability and digitisation.

Example: dynamic messaging for NIVEA SUN: Consumers are informed about the right type of sunscreen based on weather data and their personal usage behaviour. Then they receive direct offers for matching products.

However, consumers expect more from a market leader like NIVEA.

The skin care pioneer should play a leading role with a clear and transparent positioning on sustainability. A few social activities like establishing a Corona vaccination station and supporting climate protection projects are not enough.

Some initial representative results are, for instance, the market launch of the first climate-neutral NIVEA products and the completely plastics-free manufacturing of all NIVEA products since the end of 2021.


Going forward, Beiersdorf should check new products even more critically with regard to their brand fit. Main goal: Securing or strengthening the brand’s monopoly position in some market segments. A consistent “No” to dubious line extensions will hone NIVEA’s profile back to a point.

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