“We are better when we're not just the [8,800] employees, but the people all around us in our ecosystem, our suppliers, our partners who help us develop products and communicate about them, and get us the right raw materials,” Rendle said. “We leverage their capabilities and their digital prowess to do that. And part of being in the Bay Area, we've tried to take advantage of being local.”
By being “us plus everybody else,” Clorox drops the costs of having to develop all tech in-house. (Though it still does selectively build certain things in-house.)
More than 60% of the company’s marketing spend today is online, and in developing its digital marketing strategies, the company remains focused on finding new customers, better understanding them, and serving more relevant content. As part of this, it’s shifting, and will continue to shift, trade spend more heavily on the digital side, though Rendle noted Clorox still sees traditional media like TV and radio playing a role.
She pointed out that the company doesn’t buy shelf space or screen space, instead allocating retail dollars toward introducing new innovation, capturing consumers during moments where they might forget to purchase products, and driving repeat sales.
“And that's the exact same thing for online, and we don't see it being any more expensive online to operate than we do in-store,” she said, adding: “We're building plans with retailers to grow categories. And that's how we approach all of the spending. And I think what we're always focused on is helping retailers solve problems that others can't.”
E-commerce is also providing Clorox with the opportunity to grow its international presence through affordable testing and learning via real-time data in countries it hadn’t entered in the past because of a lack of lifetime ROI.
“You can expect for us [to activate and execute] in the same way, but we're going to be aggressive about where we think our brand can add value for people around the world,” Rendle said.
And, make no mistake, Rendle and Clorox are nothing less than thrilled by the recent encouraging news regarding a COVID-19 vaccine, uplifted by the thoughts of being able to see their teammates in person again. The company also doesn’t view a vaccine as a detriment to its business opportunities, as past pandemics have indicated that many of these health-focused consumer behaviors will become ingrained.
People “tend to approach future pandemics or cold and flu seasons in a different way, and that has been true for a number of years,” she noted. “That's how we built the disinfecting wipes business that we invented and launched 20 years ago, is helping people in those moments of time where they were tested.”