We manufacture and import goods that bring more wellness to people’s daily lives. We invest in Finnish product development and production. Our strengths include local consumer insight, marketing and distribution expertise. Our goal is to be the preferred partner in retail.
Berner has its roots firmly in Finland, but we operate in a globally competitive arena. We have felt the impact of mergers between international cosmetics companies. Our principal relationships with several international brands ended following the merger of the cosmetics businesses of Coty and Procter & Gamble. Our outlook for 2018 is substantially more positive with new representative brands.
In late 2017, we acquired Make-Trade Ltd, a Finnish importer and distributor of consumer goods. The acquisition strengthens our position as an importer and marketer of well-known brands of consumer goods. BIC, which was recently added to the portfolio of brands we represent, is a particularly good example of a global brand that is available all over the world in over four million retail outlets. Our strong ambition is to continue growing and developing our own brands and the brands we represent.
Responsible service for our partners
In addition to representing high-quality brands, we have our own comprehensive product development and manufacturing operations in Finland. We will continue to pursue growth in the operations of our production plants in Heinävesi through new investments. We are continuously developing more responsible solutions for our products and packaging. It is important for us to be involved in the development of sustainable Finnish innovations, and our partner Sulapac is an excellent example of this. We provide contract manufacturing and comprehensive sales and marketing services to our partners in Finland and in the global arena.
Sales growth through effective marketing
During the year, we achieved growth in several of our product families through effective marketing and communications. We made extensive use of influencer marketing, for example, and we increased consumer awareness of our responsible and domestic alternatives. The Hai brand saw the most advanced use of influencer marketing, with the pop artist Robin designing his own Hai Low by Robin line of boots.
New products under our own domestic brands
XZ – A strong Finnish brand
The domestic XZ product family has been part of the daily life of Finns since the 1950s. XZ is Finland’s best-selling brand of shampoo. XZ was chosen as Finland’s most trusted shampoo brand for the seventh time in the annual Trusted Brands survey conducted by Reader’s Digest.
XZ Blueberry launched to mark Finland’s centenary
The Finnish brand XZ celebrated the centenary of Finland’s independence with the launch of XZ Blueberry shampoo and conditioner. The development of this seasonal product to mark Finland’s milestone year was inspired by Finnish ingredients and innovation: the product contains Finnish blueberry seed oil as well as Finnish betaine extracted from sugar beet. The centenary of Finnish independence is also reflected in the product’s label, which was designed by the Finnish illustrator Sanna Mander. All XZ shampoos and conditioners are produced in Heinävesi, a place of natural beauty in Eastern Finland. XZ Blueberry shampoo and Berner Ltd were part of the Finland 100 program in 2017.
The beloved XZ Moomin product family was refreshed with three new products and a cheerful new look. Recommended for children’s hair, the new XZ Moomin Shampoo, XZ Moomin Shower & Shampoo and XZ Moomin 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner provide gentle care for children’s hair and skin. Free of silicone and colorants, the products are designed specifically for children’s sensitive hair and scalp.
XZ also launched the entirely new Peach-Nectar series of products. The series includes a sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner and split ends serum that moisturize dyed and treated hair, helping hair color last longer. The new products are manufactured in Heinävesi, Finland and they carry the Key Flag symbol.
LV – Knows your skin
LV revised its strategy and consumer communications during the year. The sensitive skin customer segment was complemented by a new target group in conscious consumers whose buying decisions are largely determined by their desire to reduce the load on their skin and the natural environment. LV’s message, “less is just right”, reached the target group effectively through various channels. The sales of LV products increased by 53 percent and we achieved growth across all LV product categories. Interest in the products grew as a result of a bolder and more effective approach to marketing communications.
The LV product family was also expanded during the year in both the skincare and laundry detergent categories. Early in the year, a new series of fragrance-free and colorant-free sunscreen products was introduced in the LV skincare category. Consisting of three sunscreen products, the series is suitable for all skin types, both face and body. The new products were also certified by the Finnish Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation.
LV’s basic lotion and moisturizer products were also updated late in the year. LV Basic Lotion and LV Basic Lotion Extra were added to the selection.
LV Easy Iron, a fabric softener concentrate that makes ironing easier, was launched in the LV laundry detergent category during the year. It makes laundry softer, less wrinkled and easier to iron. Produced in Heinävesi, the product carries the Key Flag symbol and the Finnish Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation’s Allergy Label.
Herbina – for your natural beauty
The Herbina range of Finnish skincare and haircare products made from natural ingredients was expanded to include Herbina Lip Candy lip balm products that treat and moisturize lips and come in fresh tangerine and raspberry shades.
Herbina also updated its range of antiperspirants and deodorants by introducing one new deodorant and two new antiperspirants. Their fresh and feminine fragrances were inspired by soft natural materials: silk, cotton and cashmere. The new products are manufactured in Heinävesi, Finland and they carry the Key Flag symbol.
Herbina effectively addressed the target group of young consumers with the #tarinoitarohkeudesta (#storiesofbravery) campaign, which the PING Helsinki influencer marketing network recognized as one of the year’s best examples of influencer marketing.
Rajamäen Spirits Vinegar has been manufactured in Finland for 125 years. Today, the Rajamäen product family includes not only spirits vinegar, but also wine vinegars, light balsamic vinegar and balsamic dressings. As part of the 125th anniversary of the Rajamäen brand, a convenient new PET bottle was introduced for the spirits vinegar, wine vinegars and balsamic vinegar.
The manufacture of easily recyclable PET bottles is less energy-intensive compared to glass bottles, and the climate impact of their transport is also lower than that of glass bottles. The spirits vinegar was the first to be sold in a lightweight PET bottle instead of a glass bottle. Following positive consumer feedback, the wine vinegars made the same shift to a more practical package design.
The Rajamäen range of ready-to-use dressings was expanded early in the year with the introduction of an apple cider vinegar dressing. With its fresh apple aroma, the dressing is suitable for flavoring, marinating and glazing food, and it can also be used on its own. Free of oil, dairy, lactose and gluten, the dressing is suitable to a wide range of dietary requirements.
Rajamäen engaged in effective and award-winning influencer marketing during the year; for example, by working together with popular bloggers.
Kyrö Distillery and the traditional Tummeli brand found an unexpected partner in each other. Their cooperation led to the creation of Moisturyeser, a hand cream for bartenders and other professionals whose hands get dry easily. Developed for use by Kyrö Distillery, the hand cream is also part of the rye distillery’s internationalization plan. Tummeli decided to also introduce the product to the consumer market.
Intended for treating extremely dry skin, the hand cream combines Tummeli’s traditional effectiveness with rye extract produced with the help of probiotics.
Child care products and wellness
Ainu faces a challenging market due to Finland’s declining birth rate. Supporting parenting is an important theme for Ainu, and it was a prominent aspect of Ainu’s campaign focused on digital channels and high-quality content.
The Ainu logo was given a new look as part of a brand revamp, and the packaging was also modernized in the same spirit. Ainu’s tone of communication was carefully considered to ensure its emotional appeal. Ainu’s social media image and website were redesigned, and Finnish parenting was selected as the overriding theme of Ainu’s consumer communications. Ainu is part of helping babies grow into children and adults grow into parents.
Omron’s strong growth continued in 2017. Omron is closely involved in wellness trends and offers a solution for drug-free pain relief through a new product category. The launch of the Omron E3 Intense pain reliever was supported by a major marketing campaign that exceeded all expectations. Omron’s sales grew by nearly 20 percent during the year.
Berner is responsible for developing the best local solutions for Omron with regard to marketing as well as sales. The local example of the pain reliever campaign was also utilized globally in Omron’s operations.
“2017 has been a great year for OMRON Healthcare in Finland. We have managed to establish a new category for non-pharmaceutical pain management while also continuing to build awareness of hypertension in society. Our team at Berner has the dedication, creativity and ‘can do’ attitude that has made this extremely difficult task possible. Together with Berner we will continue our work and journey towards zero cardiovascular events, and less pain in life”, says Rasmus Nielsen, Area Sales Manager Nordics at Omron.
Berner was awarded Best Category builder (Pain Management) and as overall best achievement Business Partner in Omron’s annual Business Partner Meeting. The Annual meeting gathers the distributor network of global Omron`s EMEA area.
OUR WELL-KNOWN IMPORTED BRANDS
Our naturally fermented and non-GMO Kikkoman brand is the Finnish market leader in the soy sauce category.
In addition to its well-known soy sauces, Kikkoman also produces tasty dressings and marinades that bring full flavor to day-to-day cooking.
QUALITY PRODUCTS FOR leisure
Nokian Footwear and Hai
One of Finland’s most popular performers and a 135-year-old family company came together when Berner’s well-known Hai brand launched a partnership with musician Robin. Robin designed Hai Low, a distinctive line of rubber boots with strong appeal among the youth market. Robin’s position as an influencer allowed campaigns to reach their key target groups effectively and the attractive and distinctive line of boots was made easily available. The products were quickly sold out.
According to a consumer survey by the Dagmar media agency, Nokian Footwear and Hai are Finland’s preferred brands of rubber boots. Based on the results of the consumer survey, Hai was highlighted as a separate brand alongside Nokian Footwear.
A dedicated online store for Hai boots was launched at Haicolours.com to mark the start of the rubber boot season in August. The online store strengthens the Hai brand’s customer experience and supports sales across all channels both in Finland and internationally.
The Free line of fragrance-free insect repellents against mosquitoes, blackflies, gadflies, ticks and lice were granted the right to carry the Finnish Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation’s Allergy Label in 2017. The label underscores the Free products’ suitability to all members of the family.
The active ingredient in Free repellents, IR 3535, is recommended by the World Health Organization. Free products are equally effective to traditional repellents, but the more advanced active ingredient means they are entirely fragrance-free.
Korrek complemented its range of car care products in the spring by launching the Korrek BOAT line of products for boat care and cleaning. The products feature the Thin Film Coating technology that is also used in the Korrek PRO range of car care products. Designed with Finnish boating conditions in mind, the products are developed, tested and manufactured in Finland.
Korrek continued to revolutionize the traditional car care industry by launching new ceramic TFC coating products and car shampoos. The service network for Korrek’s professional products saw rapid growth in 2017. Korrek’s ceramic coating is now available at more than 70 car care service providers and dozens of the leading car dealerships in Finland. The authorized service partners have been carefully selected and trained, as applying the ceramic coating requires a high level of precision and professionalism.
Korrek’s innovative solutions also have ambitious export targets, primarily in Europe. The product development behind Korrek’s Thin Film Coating technology takes place in Finland, and the products are manufactured at Berner’s production facilities in Heinävesi.
GreenCare launched the environmentally friendly GreenCare Ympäristön Ystävä garden fertilizer in cooperation with the Baltic Sea Action Group and the S Group. The entire production chain of the circular economy-promoting fertilizer is as eco-friendly as possible, from the sourcing of the raw materials to the packaging of the finished product. Many of the raw ingredients used in fertilizer, such as the industrial by-products of grain processing and sugar production, have been left completely unused as a source of plant nutrition, until now.
Plant-based by-products add more carbon to the soil, promote microbial activity and improve the granular structure of soil. Thanks to SOILFOOD INSIDE, a Finnish innovation, plants are able to use the soil’s nutritional resources more efficiently, which leads to more balanced and plentiful growth.
Strong product sales supported a donation to Baltic Sea protection
For every Ympäristön Ystävä product sold during the year, 50 cents was donated to the Baltic Sea Action Group. The fertilizer saw strong sales in its first summer and accumulated thousands of euros in donations to help protect the Baltic Sea. Cooperation with BSAG will continue in the coming fertilizer sales season and the Ympäristön Ystävä product family will be expanded.
Mikael Gabriel helps launch our environmentally friendly product
Having started a collaboration with the musician Mikael Gabriel in 2016, Berner continued to work with him in the marketing of the Ympäristön Ystävä fertilizer. Mikael Gabriel’s own enthusiasm for gardening supports the aims of the cooperation and will encourage younger people to grow their own vegetables.
There were changes in our cosmetics business following mergers between international cosmetics companies. Our representation of international brands, such as Rimmel, Sally Hansen, Adidas and certain well-known fragrances, ended following the merger of the cosmetics businesses of Coty and Procter & Gamble. Our outlook for 2018 is substantially more positive with new international cosmetics brands.
Changes in Coty’s agency arrangements also affected our Baltic cosmetics business in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We developed our brand portfolio during the year and began cooperating with the French company Pierre Fabre in the Baltic countries. Pierre Fabre is the world’s second-largest dermo-cosmetics laboratory and the second-largest private pharmaceutical company in France. We represent Pierre Fabre’s well-known dermo-cosmetics brands, such as Avéne, Ducray, Klorane, René Furterer and Dexeryl, in the Baltic countries. We also provide our principal with comprehensive logistics services in all of the Baltic countries.
Harmonized operations throughout the Baltic countries
We harmonized the operations of the Berner Group in the Baltic countries in late 2016 by having our subsidiaries adopt the Berner name and brand. The Berner Group’s functions were also harmonized in 2017 with regard to management and reporting. Richard Berner is responsible for Berner’s cosmetics business on a Group-wide basis. Dagne Ruta Bitiene was appointed the chief executive of the cosmetics business in the Baltic countries.
New products in Finland in 2017
In 2017, Clarins accepted the challenge of reformulating Jacques Courtin-Clarins’ vision of the world’s best cosmetics product from more than 30 years ago. This led to the creation of the 8th-generation version of Clarins Double-Serum, a product that has a worldwide cult following. The product’s popularity has always been based on its double formula that combines two different serums. The reformulated serum is even more effective in activating the factors that keep skin in optimal condition.
IsaDora launched Stretch Lash Mascara, an innovative product with a brush that can be adjusted by twisting the top of the cap. The user can adjust the length of the brush to achieve the desired result: the long brush gives length, separation and natural volume, while the short brush provides extra volume and high definition.
The philosophy brand launched its new ‘time in a bottle’ serum at the start of the year. The serum provides a comprehensive response to the factors that influence the aging of the skin: it repairs signs of aging, strengthens the skin’s resistance to premature aging factors and prevents new signs of aging from arising.
Calvin Klein reformulated the iconic OBSESSED fragrance. The new product combines the original OBSESSION fragrance with new nuances for today’s men and women. OBSESSED is the first fragrance to be produced and launched during Raf Simons’ time as Chief Creative Officer of Calvin Klein. The fragrance can be seen as simultaneously celebrating the past, present and the future of Calvin Klein fragrances.
SENSAI launched SENSAI FOUNDATIONS colored primer products for creating beautiful highlights and glow. Two foundation products with different color shades were introduced along with a glowing base primer, a loose powder and an illuminator.