P&G’s Marc Pritchard

October 15, 2010

By Guest Blogger, Telisa Yancy, American Family Insurance

Although the title of the presentation delivered by Marc Pritchard, Global Marketing Officer of the The Procter & Gamble Company, was titled, "Empowering Brands Through Design and Innovation," I believe it could have easily been titled, "Purpose Inspired Brand (and revenue) Building" or "A Guide to the Galaxy for the 21st Century Marketer" because that is exactly what it was. As the world becomes more transparent than ever before and digi-social innovations like Twitter, Facebook, and apps like RedLaser continue to make it possible for any AND everyone to know and influence what the world thinks of your brand in real-time, some brands have simply surrendered to the realities of this new world by leveraging the lowest common-denominator of the consumer conversation—price. 

Not so for the marketers of P&G. Instead, Mr. Pritchard and his team of world-class marketers have leveraged their insights of this new world order to change the conversation to one that centers around the "purpose" of their venerable brands in the lives of the people they serve. Rather than start with the benefits of a product like "Old Spice" (makes men smell like men--in a good way), they started the work on re-energizing the 70 year old, "irrelevant" brand with its inspired purpose—"to help guys navigate the seas of manhood." From this, seemingly simple change in how the brand thought about its role in the lives of the people they serve, came everyone's favorite marketing story and consumer engagement assault of the year—"the old spice guy." This story would be applause-worthy if P&G's marketing led, revenue-enhancing story of the year ended with Old Spice brand, but it did not. Mr. Pritchard went on to tell similar, albeit less chronicled success stories, about both their corporate Olympic campaign and the Always brand. In each example, the inspired purpose of the brand served as a beacon to guide the team to develop big ideas that generated unprecedented consumer engagement and undeniable impact on the bottom line:

  • The Always campaign in Africa is "empowering women to positively embrace womanhood" AND delivering double-digit sales growth and market share leadership
  • The corporate campaign for the Winter Olympics "saluted moms as the unsung hero of the Olympic Games" AND delivered a 10% jump in brand favorability, 6BB PR impressions and sales growth during the campaign

For most marketers, just reading these results and the well-chronicled results of the Old Spice campaign, which included such heady numbers as 20MM views on YouTube for the first commercial, 1.8BB PR impressions from Twitter alone, and a 300% increase in Old Spice's website traffic, makes you want to "pop your collar" and "dust the dirt off" of your proverbial marketing shoulders. However the impressive bottom line results, which includes Old Spice being number one in the marketplace, double-digit sales growth of a 70 year-old brand and the inability of P&G to "keep the product on the shelf" should make the folks in the finance wings of every business, especially those who "man" the ships of staid, seemingly irrelevant brands and still see marketing as an expense rather than the growth, revenue and engagement engine that it is capable of being, join Rihanna in asking all results oriented C-Suite players to join them in asking this venerable brand to "take a bow." Through purpose-inspired brand building, Procter & Gamble they have changed the consumer conversation, engaged them in unprecedented manners for this category AND delivered bottom-line results. 

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