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  • Gabi Kriaucionyte

Brand of the Week: The Deodorant Refillution

With environmental responsibility being increasingly at the front of the conscious consumer’s mind, we've seen countless brands pivot their marketing to focus on sustainability. It's no longer enough to ask "how can we be sustainable?" but also, "how can we be sustainable in a different and authentic way?". One such pivot is that of refillable deodorants. It's a trend that holds universalism close, but works alongside other values to make it truly impactful. We’ve seen this trend both inside and outside deodorant packaging, from aluminum free, natural formulas to waste-free packaging. Dove's stainless steel packaging that is meant to last for life and Humankind's paperboard packaging are great examples of this.

Buy once. Refill for life. - The thinking behind Dove’s refillable deodorant launched last year.

So what makes the refillution work?

The deodorant refillution evokes an intriguing combination of values that makes this stand out from other movements - it combines self-direction with universalism, but still retains a real sense of fun (hedonism) that keeps it engaging.

There is an increasing number of us who truly care about sustainability. Watching movies Don’t Look Up have made us start truly questioning brands’ approach to sustainability and our daily habits that affect it. So, the knowledge that the deodorant industry produces over 15 million pounds of plastic waste each year and plastic packaging is one of the greatest generators of plastic pollution should be something that prompts these brands to change, right?

By purchasing these refillable deodorants people can tap into a combination of self-direction and universalism. Not only does it enable people to live ethically and responsibly towards the earth, and contribute to countering global warming but they also feel that they are doing it themselves, hence self-direction. The companies provide the opportunity to be less polluting but people still have a choice to make, in this case usually buying a more expensive deodorant that requires a little more effort to use (e.g. if you are in a location where refills are less widely available). From a purely economic point of view it may not make sense but that’s where the values win...

“I would consciously choose to buy a more expensive refillable deodorant because it’s better for the planet”.

These values are also represented in the designs of refillable deodorants. Whether you choose Dove or Wild, the design is sleek and minimalistic; increasing sustainability and reducing waste while retaining and distinct and attractive identity. The design aspect of the product has to represent what the product stands for - in this way people can create associations faster - minimal and durable design means minimal waste for our planet and durability of its resources.

Caring customers are powerful. They will look for a deep connection with brands that represent their values, and being an ethically responsible brand is especially strong. Here, there’s a huge opportunity - and maybe even a requirement - not only for the deodorant market but also all beauty brands to tap into creating eco-friendly and guilt-free products. With these values growing stronger, it should be an awakening for brands that want to retain their customers.

Have you ever played Lego? If yes, then refillable deodorants resemble the fun of combining and condensing different details into one everyday use product, and you do this every time it comes to switching the refillable part. So, the process becomes more fun, but so do the smells! Refillable deodorants provide a large range of scents from sandalwood and patchouli to strawberry cheesecake. It’s a recipe that won’t get old fast. By taking a product into which people don’t usually put a lot of thought and making it fun and engaging - all while retaining a sustainable model - brands can truly set themselves up for success.

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” David Mitchell

Questions to Ask for Your Own Company

  • How can present my brand's sustainability in a creative way to tap into our customers’ values of self-direction and universalism?

  • How can I involve our customers into the process of sustainability so that it feels fun and indulgent?

From Human to Human,


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