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Johnson at Cornell University and SC Johnson Kick-Off New Business with a WOW!

03/08/2012

Business pilot test in rural Ghana aims to prevent malaria, meet needs of low-income consumers


Johnson at Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and SC Johnson today announced the launch of a new product concept developed in partnership that hopes to generate a “WOW” from rural consumers in developing markets. Recently unveiled in the village of Bobikuma, Ghana, WOW® is a membership-based club whose products and services help low-income homemakers care for their homes and families.

“SC Johnson is committed to preventing insect-borne diseases as well as to creating sustainable business solutions to help strengthen communities in developing countries,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO, SC Johnson. “The WOW® concept is a tremendous opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of families in these communities.”

The launch is a major milestone in a three-year project.  In 2010, $1 million in funding was dedicated to the project by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the SC Johnson Fund to create a new business model to bring SC Johnson mosquito repellents and insecticides to low-income, rural families in developing countries. In so doing, the venture aimed to reduce transmission of malaria—a mosquito borne disease that caused an estimated 655,000 deaths in 2010, mostly among children in at-risk populations1.

The WOW® Club concept aims to turn the stressful practice of caring for the home and family into a bonding group experience. WOW® Club memberships, which are sold to groups of seven homemakers, include a bundle of four different SC Johnson products in refillable formats; pest control products to manage insects and home cleaning products to keep homes clean and fresh. In addition to the products, the membership includes group coaching sessions around home and family-care best practices. Members also enjoy loyalty rewards for every three consecutive months of membership.

“The WOW® offering and business model are designed to tackle two key business challenges that come with low-income markets,” said Erik Simanis PhD, Managing Director of Market Creation Strategies at Cornell, who worked with SC Johnson to develop the WOW® concept. “The first is to persuade consumers to adopt very new routines and behaviors associated with the products. The second is to generate the margins needed to sustain the high-intensity sales process for acquiring and retaining customers.”

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and SC Johnson have a history of working together on sustainability, including a previous partnership in Kenya to create a business serving urban slum communities.

“The WOW® concept is an exciting development to come out of our unique collaboration with SC Johnson and exemplifies our continued focus on developing competitive, profitable business opportunities that address social and environmental problems.” said Mark Milstein PhD, Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise.

About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR. MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 126-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

About the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise

Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management leverages faculty, staff, and student resources to work closely with business leaders who seek competitive advantage through sustainable global strategies. We are an internationally recognized, top-10 producer and source of relevant knowledge for managers seeking innovative, profitable business opportunities which address global sustainability challenges and help transform the impacts of private enterprise on the world.  The Center offers unique expertise and experience in consumer market creation and new business development. Since 2004, the Center has worked extensively with companies, NGOs, and entrepreneurs to create markets and enterprises that address a broad range of issues, including sanitation, nutrition, access to clean water and health care. http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Center-for-Sustainable-Global-Enterprise.aspx

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