Magazine article Marketing

Mr Clean

Magazine article Marketing

Mr Clean

Article excerpt

Toffael Rashid

Head of marketing

myhome

On the surface, Toffael Rashid's role as head of marketing for south-west London laundrette/home cleaning service, myhome, may not sound like the cutting edge of British marketing.

But myhome isn't any old cleaner. Backed by the might of Unilever, Britain's biggest FMCG marketer, Rashid's company is probably the best bankrolled local business in the UK. And potentially the most significant brand extension in Unilever's 71-year history.

Born of a two-month brainstorming session in mid-1998, and launched in March this year, myhome is Unilever's first excursion into the service sector. The company offers two services. Jif Home Clean, with its promise of a 'brilliantly clean home' and Persil Service, guaranteeing 'beautifully clean clothes'.

"This is not just a bunch of cleaning ladies using our products," says Rashid. "The business is about delivering a high quality branded service and that means training, specialist products, specialist equipment and building trust through marketing and performance."

Rashid is also keen to point out that myhome is not the dotcom venture it was widely reported to be. "We launched at the same time as the dotcom rush and because we had an internet site I think we just got caught up in the hype. The internet is another way of accessing clients for us, but a web site won't clean your clothes."

During its launch, myhome was described by Unilever as an experiment - "a toe in the water" (Marketing, March 16). The concept is based on three simple principles: people don't want cleaning products, they want clean things; there is a new class of consumer who has more money than time; and a small venture (toe in the water) can afford to make mistakes, take time to learn and be swept under the rug without damaging reputations or bank balances.

Four months on from its launch and that latter scenario is the furthest thing from Rashid's mind. "We are doing well," he says. "This is not an experiment; this a business with more than 140 employees and more than 1000 customers."

If Rashid is bullish about myhome's prospects, then it is obvious that others within Unilever share his enthusiasm. Myhome will receive funding toward the end of this year to finance its geographical expansion. Just how big this expansion will be and how quickly it will happen is still being decided. At the moment it remains a relatively low-key service, covering parts of south-west London near its offices on Upper Richmond Road. But it is not listed in the phone book, because it is not yet ready to position itself as London-wide. …

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