In its first two weeks on the market in Chile this year, the cloth diaper brand Charlie Banana did not have a single customer. “We were very worried that we did something wrong,” says Marco Gutierrez, disruptive innovation manager on the Charlie Banana brand. “Maybe it’s not the right fit for the consumer?”

It wasn’t the fit, it was the insight. The typical Charlie Banana customer, moms with a great interest in sustainability, wants less of a brand message and more of an education on the product. The brand quickly shifted its communication and started better connecting with consumers, who started buying the product.

The ability to be nimble stemmed from the team’s small size and need to wear many hats. “We piloted it like a startup,” says Gutierrez.

Learn more about the lessons from the launch: 


Marco Gutierrez  00:02

Charlie Banana is an ecological cloth diaper brand previously acquired by P&G, which we’re basically piloting in a startup way here in Latin America and more specifically in Chile.

00:16 We did see Charlie Banana as a brand with a great purpose and very aligned to our corporate values. We identified Chile as the country that has higher affinity towards this sustainability concern, in comparison to other countries. We saw that consumers are more willing to change habits into recycling reutilizing products, and specifically the moms that we’re targeting.

00:46 That I believe it’s a challenge when you operate as a startup, meaning, we didn’t have logistic dedicated person or financial dedicated person, a marketing dedicated person. And for example, I was previously in the market research area. I was not even on marketing. So all of these four areas were like white spaces for me as well. So I believe that what that was the first challenge I personally phased into immersing on how to holistically handle a brand and more exactly like a business.

01:25 We didn’t have any sales in the first two weeks, and we were very worried that we did something wrong. Maybe it’s not the right fit for the consumer. Lots of questions, as you may imagine. Here, what we basically did was, first, we kind of reshuffled our communication plan. We stopped communicating some benefits of the diaper that weren’t so relevant for these consumers, we started focusing on the ones that were performing the best according to our dashboards. And the second place that I would summarize as one of the learnings in this journey is that we have to know our consumer. Our consumers are not like the common disposable diaper users. They are very eager to look for a lot of information of of the product they’re using, because of course, it’s a cloth diaper, it’s a reusable diaper. There are lots of commitments that they have to do. And we had to know this and it was kind of a reality shock for us to understand that because we were seeing they weren’t exposed to the rent, but they were not buying it. Why? Because they take some time to look for information to get in that in a very informed decision as I was saying.

02:40 I’m passionate about sustainability. I hate using plastics and I believe this is more like a personal passion that I’ve always had when I was a kid. I was watching all these documentaries about the Earth’s warming and all these things. So on that side, this was a perfect project because I was afraid we were not getting there yet. But we saw that there’s this brand that goes in line with this purpose and it was sound to our ears for us to start pursuing that passion.

03:21 I believe one tip I would have is to always know your consumers. And this is probably maybe my myself market researcher from four years ago talking. But I believe this is key to first handle expectations. Not all consumers are the same even if they’re using similar products. In the second place, not all consumers are looking for the same thing. So always always know who your consumer is, what he or she is looking for, what are his or her doubts and how you can enable him or her to have an easier experience with your product.

04:04 Not to brag but the results have been very positive up to now. We have had a kind of an explosive world of sales in the last I would say three months compared to when we launched. And right now we are seeing up on the early potential of 10x versus how much we started selling in the beginning or our initial projections.