What Public Health and Social Marketers Can Learn From P&G: “
While many people in social marketing and public health often look to companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike as models for successful consumer marketing to aspire to, P&G stands out among the best and most innovative. What is most attractive to me about P&G is that they have 10 different business areas, ranging from baby care to home care, with 43 brands of over a half billion USD each. If you are in the public health business – not just the obesity, physical activity, breast cancer, HIV prevention or tobacco control business – then the way P&G creates and manages a portfolio of brands, not a unitary one, is where you should go to school.
1. No company in the world has invested more in consumer and market research than P&G. We interact with more than five million consumers each year in nearly 60 countries around the world. We conduct over 15,000 research studies every year. We invest more than $350 million a year in consumer understanding. This results in insights that tell us where the innovation opportunities are and how to serve and communicate with consumers.
2. P&G is the innovation leader in our industry. Virtually all the organic sales growth we’ve delivered in the past nine years has come from new brands and new or improved product innovation. We continually strengthen our innovation capability and pipeline by investing two times more, on average, than our major competitors. In addition, we multiply our internal innovation capability with a global network of innovation partners outside
P&G. More than half of all product innovation coming from P&G today includes at least one major component from an external partner.
3. P&G is the brand-building leader of our industry. We’ve built the strongest portfolio of brands in the industry with 23 billion-dollar brands and 20 half-billion-dollar brands. These 43 brands account for 85% of
sales and more than 90% of profit. Twelve of the billion-dollar brands are the #1 global market share leaders of their categories. The majority of the balance are #2.
4. We’ve established industry-leading go-to-market capabilities. P&G is consistently ranked by leading retailers in industry surveys as a preferred supplier and as the industry leader in a wide range of capabilities including clearest company strategy, brands most important to retailers, strong business fundamentals and innovative marketing programs.
5. Over the decades, we have also established significant scale advantages as a total company and in individual categories, countries and retail channels. P&G’s scale advantage is driven as much by knowledge sharing, common systems and processes, and best practices as it is by size and scope.
6. P&G has earned a reputation as one of the world’s best companies for leaders. We work hard at leadership development because, as a build-from-within company, our future success is entirely dependent on the ongoing strength of our talent pipeline.
Put another way:
Public health agencies should invest significant proportions of their resources in
(1) talking with and understanding their audiences (rather than a few focus groups here and there),
(2) innovating in public health programs (rather than recreating wheels or sitting still waiting for
evidence bases to develop),
(3) creating and sustaining strong public health program brands (not their corporate image),
(4) being the go-to partner for public health retailers or intermediaries (not someone to avoid because of bureaucracy and painful ‘processes’),
(5) having in place common systems for getting things done across disease and behavioral risk areas
(6) developing leaders ratherthan rewarding the status quo.
I believe it comes down to one simple and remarkably constant
factor: the clarity and constancy of P&G’s Purpose. Since the Company was
founded, we’ve been in the business of providing daily essentials that improve
the quality of people’s lives. We help people care for their babies, pets and
homes. We make everyday chores easier to do. We help people look and feel
better. We’ve stayed true to the inspiring Purpose of touching and improving
people’s lives in meaningful ways.