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Tena: How to talk to a Japanese nurse

The story:
Through its brand Tena, Swedish company SCA manufactures and sells the world’s most sophisticated incontinence products. The company has a major share of almost all markets worldwide.

In Japan, of course, things are different. Tena has been present here since the mid 1990s through a joint venture with major Japanese producer (and occasional competitor) Unicharm under the name Uni-charm Molnlycke K.K. (UCM).

While Tena is a superior product, the challenge in the Japanese market is that the use of Tena products requires Japanese institutions to change the way they care for their patients—from very structured, to more individual-focused care.

It's not an easy change to make in any market, and certainly not in one like Japan.

Next Inc. has been involved in a wide range of very different communication projects for UCM over more than 15 years, including web projects, customer magazines and newsletters, products promotions, PR activities and advertising.

The year 2012 saw the most ambitious advertising project so far. We started by looking into the decision processes at hospitals and care institutions. More precisely, this focused on the role of head nurses in the decision-making process. This included focus groups and face-to-face interviews with nurses, as well as testing different advertising solutions on the target group.

Confident that we had a visually attractive and relevant ad campaign that conveyed the correct message, we rolled out a campaign that continued throughout 2012, targeting head nurses through the trade press.

The advertising campaign was just one part of SCA’s growth strategy for Japan, but the end result was that an increase of sales by nearly 15 percent during 2012.