Founded in the late 19th Century, Beiersdorf is a German multinational company that, despite its prevalence in the skincare industry, is a relatively unknown entity. Paul Beiersdorf, a pharmacist in the 1880’s, founded the company when he registered a patent for the first adhesive plaster in Hamburg in 1882.
Matilda Rose Moir
Although a gentleman of a pioneering nature, Paul Beiersdorf was a creator, not a marketer. He did not promote his business in a way that we recognize today, and the real turning point for the Beiersdorf brand was in 1890, when it was sold to Dr. Oscar Troplowitz – a market oriented entrepreneur. Troplowitz was a marketing and branding genius who expanded Beiersdorf into a leading branded goods company that later became an international enterprise.
The Little Blue Tin
Using the Beiersdorf patent, Troplowitz went on to create other brands, one of which is the internationally recognized and renowned Nivea. In 1911, Troplowitz found Dr. Isaac Lifschütz who identified and isolated the emulsifier Eucerit, that was the beginning of the Nivea creme. And in 1925 we saw the production and launch of the infamous ‘Blue Tin’ that remains, and will continue to remain, as the identifying feature of the Nivea brand.
Pivoting off the success of Nivea Creme, Troplowitz launched all further products under the Nivea name – catapulting Beiersdorf to be the leading manufacturer of branded products.
And, thanks to international expansion that Paul Beiersdorf built back in 1880 (when selling his plasters at trade shows), Nivea expanded on that internationality and post WW2 was present in more than 45 countries.
For some time Beiersdorf lost ownership of Nivea, as Germany had to sell the brand as a repercussion of the war, however Beiersdorf bought it back in the early 90’s. The sale, although initially detrimental, ultimately aided and abetted Beiersdorf, as every country believed that the Blue Tin, and Nivea, belonged to them. As a result, Beiersdorf are very close to their consumers and the short misfortune of selling Nivea turned out to be a long term gain for the Beiersdorf brand.
The Ingredients to Success
In any business you have your ups and downs, but behind every brand is a story that has led to their overarching success. To succeed you need to reach beyond what already exists. Acting on your curiosity, inventing the unknown and demonstrating your willingness to take risks.
With every business there is an element of the unknown. You can identify your product, brand and identity but there’s no certainty in that, or your future. To build success, you need to trust your gut, and believe in what your team is doing – a pioneering spirit and a collaborative team are the integral components to growth. Combine these with courage, curiosity, risk taking, and team building, and you have the ingredients to build a truly successful brand.
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