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Clorox schools Hispanic 360 Summit on affinity groups

Friday, August 17, 2012  
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NEW Board Member Erby Foster, director of diversity and inclusion for The Clorox Company, and David Cardona, multicultural team leader for the company's cleaning division, presented a case history on how the company uses employee resource groups to help develop and market products like their new "Fraganzia" line, Aug. 16, 2012 at Stagnito's Hispanic Retail 360 Summit in Los Angeles. The conference, sponsored by PepsiCo and presented by Progressive Grocer and Convenience Store News, attracted more than 500 industry executives.

The Network of Executive Women sponsored the session, which was introduced by Nancy Krawczyk, NEW vice president of sales and marketing.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) at Clorox do more than promote cultural acceptance, Foster said. They help recruitment,  retention and talent development; enhance organizational capabilities by promoting new products and services; assist in outreach to diverse communities; and provide insights on multicultural consumers.

Foster cited key market insights provided by the company's ERGs, including the successful co-branding of Kingsford Charcoal with Mexico's Las Chivas soccer team, and the development of a highly successful "Red Grand" Brita water pitcher aimed at the growing Chinese-Canadian market.

"Our commitment starts at the top with [CEO] Don Knauss," Foster said. "Diversity and inclusion is not a social experiment. It's about market share." Some 46 percent of the U.S. population under 18 is non-white or Hispanic and  non-Hispanic whites will cease to be the majority by mid-century, he noted.

When targeting the Hispanic market, many consumer goods companies add a lavender scent to their product line and stop there, Cardona said. Clorox wanted to "go beyond lavender" and focus on the real cleaning experiences of Hispanic consumers. The company did extensive market research and leveraged its own Hispanic ERG to gain insights.

Hispanic consumers typically spend more time cleaning and perform the task "in layers"-- cleaning, disinfecting and aromatizing. "Clorox already owns cleaning and disinfecting," Cardona said.

The company launched its "Fraganzia" line to help Hispanic consumers provide "the finishing touch" of aromatizing to their Clorox cleaning cycle and to "honor her [the consumer's] process," Cardona noted.

Nearly 50 executives attended the session, and about half stayed to talk with Cardona and Foster at the end of the presentation.

David Cardona (left) and NEW Board Member Erby Foster of Clorox (far right) presented a case  study on the business benefit of ERGs Aug. 16 at Hispanic Retail 360. The pair was introduced by Nancy Krawczyk (second from right), NEW vice president  of sales and marketing. Joining the trio was Shannon Elliott, Clorox multicultural team lead for specialty sales.


Nancy Krawczyk of NEW joined Art Rosenberg, vice president of industry
development for PepsiCo, poolside at the opening reception for the Hispanic
Retail 360 Summit Aug. 15 in Los Angeles.

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