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CSR During a Pandemic

We Chatted to Kruger's CMO to Learn About Its Rolling It Forward Initiative

— April 15, 2020 — Business
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kruger Products, Canada’s leading tissue products manufacturer, is using its resources and platform to make a difference where it matters most. Partnering with Mercedes Benz, Kruger launched the Rolling it Forward campaign, which delivered essential packages to frontline healthcare workers across Canada. To learn more about the initiative, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the brand, we interviewed Kruger Products’ Chief Marketing Officer, Susan Irving.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your role within Kruger?

From 9-to-5, I’m Kruger Products’ Chief Marketing Officer, a role I began in March of this year. As CMO, my responsibilities include overseeing the vision, strategic direction and performance of all Kruger Products brands ― which include Cashmere and Purex bathroom tissue, SpongeTowels paper towels, Scotties facial tissues White Swan napkins and the White Cloud trademark ― and their respective marketing activities in Canada and the United States. I’m passionate about connecting with consumers, and look forward to the opportunity to do so in a purposeful way with our strong brands.

Can you tell me about how the #RollingItForward campaign came to fruition?

Giving back has always been an integral part of Kruger Products’ DNA. Given the circumstance, we felt strongly that we needed to do our part to thank the frontline healthcare professionals who are working so hard to heal Canadians, and we also wanted to lend a helping hand to those most in need. Our hope was to give frontline healthcare workers one less thing to worry about, by gifting them care packages of bathroom tissue, facial tissue, and paper towels. The Mercedes-Benz Canada partnership came about from a quick phone conversation regarding both of our companies wanting to give back to our communities, and their team was able to quickly and seamlessly respond to our need for distribution at several hospitals in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The opportunity for a fitting campaign presented itself, and we knew that “#RollingItForward” perfectly encapsulated our shared desire to do good for Canadians.

This project is unique as it's brought two brands from adjacent industries together. Can you tell me more about Mercedes Benz role in this initiative?

Mercedes-Benz Canada plays an essential role in the #RollingItForward initiative by transporting and delivering tens of thousands of care packages to hospitals in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. It’s been amazing to see so many companies across Canada (and the world) step up and give back during this time, and that’s truly the spirit of #RollingItForward. While Kruger Products and Mercedes-Benz Canada are both leaders in our respective industries , what we share is an unwavering commitment to quality, care and to Canadians. Both companies felt strongly about responding to the situation at-hand by supporting our frontline healthcare workers, and we’re so grateful to the incredible team at Mercedes-Benz Canada for working quickly and smoothly with us to bring this initiative to life.

Can you speak to the importance of brands taking a stance on social issues, such as helping frontline workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Now more than ever, it’s a crucial time for brands who are able to give back and say “thank you”. As a Canadian company that produces tissue products, we recognize that personal hygiene is of paramount importance to individuals and to our communities right now, so we want to do our part to say “thank you”. It’s inspiring to see so many brands work and shift their focus to support those who are healing us, and ultimately, that’s the sentiment behind #RollingItForward. We’re proud to be one of the many Canadian companies stepping up during this time.

What has been the consumer response to Kruger's participation in supporting frontline workers through this campaign?

Although this initiative just launched earlier this week, we’ve heard great appreciation from the hospitals and healthcare professionals we’ve been able to deliver to already. Both our, and Mercedes-Benz Canada’s team members, have so enjoyed bringing a small act of joy to these frontline heroes. These hardworking Canadians are the focus of this initiative, and we hope that the spirit of #RollingItForward is one that’s embraced by all Canadians during this time.

What changes in your industry do you anticipate in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic?

This situation is truly unprecedented, and it’s hard to say what the exact impact of COVID-19 will be, long-term. I believe that moving forward from COVID-19, the industry will place a greater focus on communication with consumers regarding CSR initiatives, building community, and crisis response. As we’ve seen already, COVID-19 is changing the way Canadians shop.

What was the biggest challenge in creating Rolling it Forward and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge in creating this campaign would definitely be the logistics of the deliveries, thankfully with the support of Mercedes-Benz Canada we’ve been able to distribute seamlessly to the heroic front line workers who are keeping us safe.

What's next for Kruger?

As a Canadian company that produces tissue products, we recognize that personal hygiene is of paramount importance to individuals and to our communities so we will be sure to continue to place staff, customers and Canadians at the forefront of our decision making, and our brand messaging, and look for ways to continue #RollingItForward for years to come.
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