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Honing a Competitive Edge

By: Brian W. Budzynski and Jeff Falk
Posted: April 30, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 6

Among its current studies, the Monell Center is looking at perceptions of body odor and the subsequent effect on fragrance development. According to the center, an increasing number of studies suggests that olfactory information plays a significant role in daily decisions. But before even considering perception and the influence of an odor stimulant, the task of understanding how humans, who possess at least 300 different receptors, can detect thousands of different aromas is a daunting undertaking—which the Monell Center has accepted—along with identifying the genes that encode proteins essential to taste and olfactory transduction and the roles of chemical signals, including individual “odortypes,” in human reproductive behavior and social communication.

As compelling as the actual work it performs, the Monell Center research is open; none is kept proprietary—though the center’s 55 sponsors from government and educational entities who supplement research funding do have certain first rights of refusal for new technologies or applications.

Beiersdorf AG

The recent global economic downturn has spurred many companies, both large and small, to curtail marketing and product development campaigns, in efforts to stabilize profit margins and shore up consumer confidence with regard to corporate fiscal responsibility. Rarer, though, are companies assured enough to recognize their own competitive advantage—and to exploit such advantage with the overwhelming success that Beiersdorf had in 2008 by focusing on and applying marketing and developmental muscle to its flagship Nivea brand line.

Cognizant of economic realities, Beiersdorf is nonetheless focused soundly on the future—one of profitability and growth. Said executive board chairman Thomas-B. Quaas, “We expect the global market to contract slightly. However, we are confident that we shall again succeed in outperforming the market in 2009, and are, therefore, forecasting sales for the consumer business segment that are slightly in excess of last year.”

The company chose a strategy that proved the viability and growth power of an established brand—spearheaded by a clear, focused message and action plan—leads to ongoing, indisputable business success.