As a former P&Ger, it was a great pleasure to write a blog reflecting on AG Lafley’s opening address to the 2006 ANA conference. It was a brilliant tutorial on the fundamentals of marketing and how they are evolving and becoming even more relevant in today’s world.
AG began his speech with a reminder that the fundamental principles of his message from his address to the ANA in 2000 remain the same today.
- The consumer is boss and is becoming more demanding and selective
- Need for big ideas and great advertising
- Push to pull marketing is accelerating
- Key consumer questions:
- Whom is our target?
- What is the brand promise?
- How do we communicate with the consumer?
Although the fundamentals have remained the same, there are several marketing elements that have evolved significantly over the past 6 years.
- Media fragmentation
- Technology explosion – “We only have to look in our pockets and purses to realize that”
- Overwhelming choices for consumers
- Consumers own brands – manufacturers need to stop thinking about brands from their own point of view
“These changes provide a great opportunity for Marketers to touch consumers’ lives at every major touch point”. AG then outlined the roles of various consumer touch points and showed some incredible examples that illustrated his points:
- TV – most powerful, highest reach medium; best vehicle to visualize and dramatize your brand’s distinguishing characteristics
- AG showed the new Pampers commercial that focuses on emotional vs. functional benefits. It shows the empowerment that a little boy feels when he knows when he has “gone”. This enables the relationship between Mom and child and Mom and Pampers to be closer
- Print – this medium is all about the power of the big idea.
- Examples illustrating this point were Ariel and Vicks print ads.
- In-store – this is where most purchase decisions are made
- P&G is placing Prilosec in the snack aisle because that is the “first moment of truth” (where they are making their decisions)
- Packaging – primary communication and equity vehicle. It has arguably the highest reach, highest GRP and is almost free.
- Folger’s and Pringles are some great examples of how to make packaging work hard
AG made some very insightful comments about the role of large corporations in the world today. P&G serves 3 Billion customers world-wide. Of the world’s largest economic entities, 42 are now corporations! P&G’s challenge is to figure out how it can make the most meaningful difference. AG then showed an initiative from Israel that illustrated P&G’s efforts to provide laundry detergent to Orthodox Jews, people that are “virtually unreachable via traditional media”. Through guerilla marketing and PR, they achieved great success.
P&G is providing clean drinking water to communities that are overlooked through its Safe Drinking Water initiative. P&G is conducting this effort in many countries across multiple continents. P&G has purified over 500 million liters of water since this program began.
Some additional ways of touching the consumer:
- Cause related marketing – consumers care about this. They expect brands to do good. A two-way conversation with the consumer enables the consumer to be in control. A great example of this is what P&G did with Pampers.
- Influencer marketing – builds credibility and trust. An example of this is Olay. They used a UK celebrity stylist to tout the attributes of Olay Regenerist.
- Sports marketing – all about shared passions and interests. The Prilosec NASCAR campaign is a great example of this. P&G launched a program in which consumers could win a coveted NASCAR “experience.”
- Place-based Marketing – reaches the consumer when she is on the go where and when she is most receptive. Cover Girl launched a successful campaign for their Outlast lipstick (lasts 16 hours). They placed mirrors in key places (like women’s restrooms) asking women if their lipstick was still on. This increased market share +25%.
- Consumer generated advertising – very credible, reflects passion but requires we let go of the brand. A great example of this is the UK Pringles YouTube. It was actually on equity!
- Holistic (P&G for “integrated”) – must be at all the right touch points with one idea.
AG said, “This is an exciting time to be creating and building brands. The consumer has been, is and always will be at the center of what we do. We have greater opportunity to move beyond transactions to relationships than ever before. Capturing this opportunity requires that we form higher-quality relationships that are more collaborative and more giving. There has never been a more challenging and exhilarating time or place to be in the advertising, communication and brand-building industry."
This marks AG’s 30th anniversary at P&G. AG said that he didn’t realize it when he started but this work is his Passion and Purpose in life. "I’m a Brand man and proud of it."