P&G’s Pampers completely reframed the diaper category in China, and in doing so created enormous growth for the category and for the brand. It is a good example of how focusing on category competition is a better route to growth than trying to win the “my brand is better than your brand” battle. The story is fascinating and informative, not only with respect to framing a category but to entering a new country with a different culture.
Pampers entered the China market in 1998 with a strategy of making a cheaper version of their Western product. The result was indeed cheap, and also was of inferior quality. The product was perceived as plastic and irritating, and it didn’t go anywhere. In 2006 a revised product, called the Pampers Cloth Like & Dry, was soft, effective and half the cost of U.S. versions. But still, sales lagged. The problem was that Chinese consumers were not motivated by dryness or convenience. They did not see a problem that would merit changing their existing habits. But a solution was on the horizon. …Continue reading
P&G’s “Thank You Mom” Olympic marketing program was a brilliant effort to draw on a universal human value to create a program with energy, relevance and emotion that spanned brands and countries. Plus, it’s ongoing with a life beyond one Olympic Games.
In my book Spanning Silos I noted that brand and country silos have advantages. They are close to market and product technologies, they promote accountability, and they encourage decisive decisions. But they simply don’t work in today’s environment. One reason is that brand messaging, especially as it is spread through global digital communities, is hard to confine to local markets. As a result, a brand that has different local positions can become confused. A second reason is that the necessary scale of advertising, promotions, and big idea brand building are virtually unavailable when local brand building dominates.
So how might firms deal with the silo issue? The organizational answer is to overlay coordination and communication between silos. The brand building answer is to find driving ideas in the form of human values that are universal, that everyone can relate to. That answer could be found in education, health issues, water conservation or others, but it needs to apply to all silos and be capable of maintaining relevance over time.
P&G’s “Thank you Mom” campaign uses both answers to conduct a successful cross-silo global marketing campaign. Applied at the Vancouver games of 2010 and the Special Olympics of 2011, it made its major push during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It’s all about celebrating what moms do and thanking them for their efforts, their care and their achievements. …Continue reading
I was recently reminded of a powerful tool for positioning: the “unlike” statement. A TV spot for Pradaxa, an anticoagulant drug, deliberately highlights that it reduces stroke risk and unlike Warfarin, “there’s no need for those regular blood tests.” This a niche example of direct competitive differentiation but others, like Southwest Airlines’ crusade against bag fees, have been much more visible example of the unlike positioning.
As marketers we are the beneficiaries of the fundamental tools of marketing pioneered years ago by the titans of modern marketing from professors like Kotler to organizations such as P&G and The Coca-Cola Company. The classic positioning statement handed to us from these pioneers includes very specific identification of the target, competitive frame, benefits and evidence. It is this deliberately concise yet deliberate statement that guides and coordinates internal decisions and external execution from brand strategy to pricing to advertising, packaging and service delivery. The gold standard of positioning is to articulate the value of the brand or offering in a way that is feasible for the business to deliver, valuable for the target and, at the same time, clearly differentiated in the market. It is on this last point that our classic statement sometimes fails. …Continue reading
Big innovation happens too rarely. This is the kind that creates real, enduring “must haves” that define new categories or subcategories and is the only path to real growth. One major reason is that the budgets are controlled by the large business units that are focused on their profitable businesses that use incremental innovation to improve the offering and/or reduce costs. Returns to such investments are predictable, and there are organizational and personal biases against risky alternatives even when the upside can more than compensate for the risk involved.
Organizations can attempt to counter those biases by creating an entrepreneurial culture, with centralized innovation budgets that take power away from the existing big business units. The entity controlling those budgets will have to encourage ideas and idea champions to surface, select those that seem most promising, and then support progress toward commercialization. The goal is to overcome the bias toward incremental innovation and allow some big innovations to live and prosper. …Continue reading
With the Olympics approaching, Prophet’s Brand Pulse team will be kicking off a month of posts around “Olympics + Branding.” Like other major events, the Olympics is often regarded as an important platform for new promotions and campaigns. We’ve already seen interesting and compelling ways companies are choosing to “show up” this year at the Olympics. For example, P&G released their “Thank You, Mom” campaign earlier this summer (see the TV spot below). The campaign is not only a touching tribute to moms around the world and the incredible role they have in raising young athletes, but also highlights how P&G equips moms with the tools they need in order to perform the “best job.” This is one of P&G’s biggest campaigns to date, as well as one of the rare examples in which we see them emphasize their master brand.
Stay tuned this month as we post about the partnerships and possibilities between global brands and the 2012 Olympics!
Brands need to re-consider, re-evaluate their customers’ experiences
When marketers map customer experience, they start by defining a beginning and an end. But consumers experience a brand in an integrated ecosystem, replete of definition. In fact, when we think of improving experience for a particular brand, we typically look at touch points that are knowingly controlled by that brand. Let’s say I’m in charge of Walmart’s experience– I’m probably looking at the parking lot, the entrance, the signage, the store layout and wayfinding, customer service, the checkout line, the bathrooms. The list goes on. Every detail is considered, from the time you enter the parking lot until you drive off. But if there is construction outside, or no traffic light at the intersection of the parking lot, it’s not Walmart’s problem. Or is it?
While our customers might become frustrated with these obstacles, we don’t link the frustration with the brand as a singular experience – but what if we did? …Continue reading
While visiting my local Walmart, I noticed this (yet-to-be-activated) touchpoint, co-branded for P&G and Walmart, with Facebook activation. Basically, the consumer will “check in” at “Freebie at Walmart” on Facebook and receive a free sample of a P&G product.
It’s an interesting way to get product samples out, track who is actually taking them, encourage people to check-in at Walmart, and continue to link Facebook to the physical world.
Of course, if information is a currency of sorts, the sample isn’t really “free”…