Dial’s Plan To Dominate Your ‘Morning Ritual’

When you build a successful brand, you learn its strengths as you go along. If you buy it, you don’t have that luxury. So what about when you buy three of them?

That’s the issue confronting former SoBe veteran Scott Moffitt, who became Dial Corp.’s svp for personal care and grooming in March. Earlier this month, Dial completed its acquisition of Dry Idea, Right Guard and Soft & Dri from Procter & Gamble’s Gillette division. Dial paid $420 million for the trio, which P&G had to divest to win regulatory approval of its purchase of Gillette.

Last year, the brands accounted for $275 million in sales, according to Dial. The brands will make Dial the No. 3 player in the U.S. antiperspirant market. The buys are the latest for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Dial, and CEO Brad Casper has said future growth for the company will depend on such acquisitions. Moffitt discusses Dial’s strategy.

Constantine Von Hoffman: How much do you have to change or add to these brands?

Scott Moffitt: We don’t need to change a lot. We owe a lot of credit to Gillette for building these three great distinct brands. When you look at Right Guard, it’s a powerhouse brand that’s been very well-nurtured over the years. It will be a prime brand in our portfolio, but I don’t see any major departures in how it’s positioned.

CVH: Do you expect to use these brands as a platform for new products?

SM: Before we even think about where it might go, priority one for us is to make sure that we capture this brand’s rightful share in the market it is already in. Once we feel we understand the brand better and have a solid position, then we will look to adjacent categories to see if the brand equity can extend to other places.

Certainly, body sprays are growing rapidly and have nice margins. That’s an obvious place for the brand if consumers tell us it can stretch there. Certainly, you’ve seen other brands expand into personal cleansing with Old Spice and Axe, for example. If this brand is appropriate there, then that’s a possibility down the road.

CVH: How does Right Guard fit into your portfolio of brands?

SM: First, it gives us a very strong male equity. Dial and a lot of our current brands—Tone and Pure & Natural—are either female-skewing or are all-family brands. So now we have a strong male entry; the male personal-grooming segment is really growing. There’s a growing trend where personal care brands are skewing either male or female, and with this stratification, we want brands that can play in either segment.

CVH: How much of a challenge is it moving into a male-oriented segment when you hadn’t been there before?

SM: We understand a lot about the morning cleansing ritual, if you will. This is just another part of that ritual. It allows us to fill in … I wouldn’t say we had a gap in our portfolio, but we didn’t completely own the morning ritual, and we’re trying to broaden our footprint in the morning ritual. That’s a consumer mindset that we understand fairly well.

CVH: Where do Soft & Dri and Dry Idea fit in?

SM: Soft & Dri is really the female complement to Right Guard. It carries a lot of the same technical innovation that you will find in Right Guard, whether that’s the power stripe or the clear gel.

When you look at Dry Idea, what you get there is a very strong heritage of roll-on, and, as I’m learning now, that’s one of the most efficacious methods of applying protection.

So if you’re in the segment of heavy perspirers, that’s the most efficacious method you can get. Dry Idea has the highest level of loyalty of brand in its segment. It’s not the brand for everyone, but those who have found it and discovered it are very loyal and very passionate about that brand. What we get in that brand is a stable solid niche brand or smaller core franchise that customers tend to love.