Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Urges CGs to ‘Step Up. Take a Stand.’
The 2020 year was disruptive to say the least, forcing consumer goods brands to accelerate many plans at an unimaginable level. As there is no clear end in sight yet, the best way to deal with it all is to lead it, according to Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard — in a way that is constructive and creates value for all.
For P&G, reinvention is the way forward as it has been making moves to innovate the consumer experience by "stepping up as both a force for good in society and a force for growth in business."
As the second largest consumer goods company, P&G has been hard at work to deliver superior growth, raising to bar with content that consumers care about.
The brand aims to delight people the moment they see the products on their phone all to way to when they use it, and while the company has decades of experience in this arena, it still aims to innovate like a startup.
Case in point: P&G came to CES 2021 with its P&G LifeLab, demonstrating products that are reinventing everyday tasks and important healthy habits. For example, its latest innovation in oral care, Oral-B iO, drives more cleaning energy to its bristles, creating an elevated consumer expectation and experience.
The 50L Home Coalition allows consumers to get emerged in sustainability through water management. And in home care, its Microban 24 product is focused on a "clean that makes a difference." Through innovations like these P&G is brand building and “reinventing media to achieve mass reach with greater precision for experiences consumers prefer,” Pritchard says.
Speaking of media, P&G is also making plans to take control of its full media supply chain to help make it more responsible, inclusive and equal.
So, how does P&G plan to take back control?
- By using opt-in first-party data so consumers can trust that it is being used properly (and trust equals better engagement)
- By bringing more media work in house and disrupting legacy media systems
- By accelerating programmatic media buying
“We’re leveling the playing field to constructively create value together,” Pritchard adds.
It also seems the way forward is by taking a step back at some of the strategies of the past. For example, infomercial-like content now shows the importance of how a product is useful. How-to content is showing consumer how brands can help. For example, P&G has offered free laundry for front-line responders and virtual classes for new parents.
Rather than trying to sell a product, the content is focused on merging the advertising world with film, comedy, entertainment, etc.
There are also soap opera-type commercials constructively disrupting the advertising experience. One example is its Choose Equal campaign, which explains how a pandemic as we’re experiencing is not something new. “This has happened before. In every downturn and disaster in history, gender equality has been set back, as women have stepped forward,” the video explains.
However, Pritchard reinforces that while these times are not unprecedented, they give us another chance to work towards equality. In order to do this, businesses should use their voices to spark conversations which leads to understanding, which leads to empathy, which leads to action.
Historically, the creative and media supply chain has been all about broad reach and low cost. Many say the system is broken, but Pritchard believes it is not. “It was built that way [for the majority].” P&G is committed to a better tomorrow by accurately portraying all humanity in advertising and media, and by eliminating hateful content in online media.
“We’re tired of wasting time on bad content,” says Pritchard. “It’s time for platforms to get on with it.” And while he knows that taking a stand on equality and inclusion is a risk, it is essential for businesses to step up.
“You can do a lot of good because you’re in business. I firmly believe that business can and will be the greatest force for good in the future. There are many problems that need to be fixed, but when we do, it is not only good for society, it is good for growth, for business. Step up. Take a stand. Do what you can to promote equality and inclusion … And we will make a big difference.”