“We need everyone in the organization, every function, to be digitally savvy, because the whole business needs to migrate in that direction, and we are putting a big bet in terms of how we think about technology and digital applications — to whether it’s R&D and predictive analytics, whether it’s sensor technology or forecasting technology on the manufacturing side, whether it’s new ways of developing innovation with direct-to-consumer, whether it’s how we buy media and target media to personalize it, which some of the Hill’s operations are doing exceptionally well. All of that needs to come together to get people to think very differently.”
On driving progress through sustainability: “Take the recent launches we have had in the U.S. on soft soap tablets. We have taken a clear focus on sustainability and where consumers are evolving there, and we are taking significant water and plastic out of the economy through our tablets launch. … We needed to think about the manual toothbrush segment really differently. … Sustainability afforded us that opportunity. We have launched a brush with an aluminum handle that eliminates 80% of the plastic associated with using the toothbrush in the long term.”
On its shifting China strategy: Colgate China has been a drag on the company’s Asia business for the better part of the last five years, Wallace said, so it’s been moving the business to premiumization, ensuring it has a digitally savvy organization, focusing on e-commerce, and better allocating resources to the cities it wants to address. As a result of these efforts, its combined brick-and-mortar and e-commerce share is up for the Colgate business in China for the first time in many years.
The company also has very aggressive plans for a significant relaunch of the Darlie brand in the back half of the year, and it’s implementing strategies to navigate and capitalize on the new community buying networks that have emerged in the region.
On its burgeoning Hill’s Pet Nutrition brand: The brand’s impact on consumers creates incredible emotional engagement, Wallace noted, and presents strong opportunities for personalized digital engagement — especially given the rapidly growing pet category. As a result, next steps include Colgate-Palmolive making more data-driven decisions about the category and how it works with its trade partners.
“We have got great distribution opportunities, both here in the U.S. and globally, and an incredible pipeline of innovation. So, by and large, it’s about continuing to build the brand, invest behind the growth that we are seeing, be choiceful in the segments that we go after, and likewise be choiceful in how we expand the brand internationally, given the significant opportunities we still see here in the U.S.”