Kleenex’s Exit from Canada: SMB Retail’s Take

2 min read

Ever had a moment in business that just caught you by surprise? This one surely did. You won’t find Kleenex, the very name synonymous with tissues, on Canadian shelves anymore. Curious? Let’s dive in.

When you think tissues, you think Kleenex, right? That’s the power of a brand. It doesn’t just represent a product, it becomes the product. Now, while Canadians will still have their pick of facial tissues, saying goodbye to this iconic brand will definitely sting a bit. Especially when a brand name becomes part of your everyday vocabulary.

Toronto-based retail analyst Bruce Winder weighed in, stating it’s more about the emotional connection Canadians have with Kleenex than the product itself. Remember, in business and branding, emotional equity is gold.

Now, the million-dollar question: Why is Kleenex leaving?

Kimberly-Clark, the powerhouse behind Kleenex, hinted at “unique complexities” in their business in Canada. No elaboration there. But, if we’re speculating – and in the business world, we always are – private label products might be playing the villain here. Over the years, retailers have upped their game, creating their own private label tissues, potentially cutting into Kleenex’s pie.

Doing business in Canada isn’t a walk in the park. There are challenges: bilingual packaging, a vast geographical spread, and a retail space dominated by a few major players. In the U.S, the scene’s a bit different. With a broader market and more competitors, brands like Kleenex have better pricing leverage.

But here’s the kicker. While Kleenex might physically exit, it’s not going anywhere from the hearts and minds of the Canadians. Winder believes, and I’d bet on it too, Canadians will continue to call tissues “Kleenex.” Brand legacy? You bet.

Remember when Skippy peanut butter took an exit, or Delissio frozen pizza? They left a void, but their names stuck around in conversations. That’s the magic of branding. You might take the product off the shelf, but it’s harder to take it out of people’s minds.

Bottom Line: Whether you’re a startup, an established brand, or just a consumer, there’s a lesson here. Branding is powerful. It’s not just about the physical product, but the emotional footprint it leaves behind. Adios, Kleenex. You’ve left your mark.

SMB Retail

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