Procter & Gamble plans major digital drive

08 July 2010

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, has set itself the target of reaching one billion shoppers around the world using digital media.

The company has recently adopted a diverse approach to enhancing equity with its customers, such as funding a family-friendly TV movie with Wal-Mart and launching a sustainability education drive, called Future Friendly.

Marc Pritchard, P&G's global marketing officer, argued its overall strategy has been informed by the recognition that major corporations must transform their tried-and-tested models.

"We are not there yet, but we are moving towards an inflection point," he said. "We are shifting to purpose-inspired brand building, a shift from marketing to serving."

This trend is being fuelled by the new purchasing priorities observable in many markets, where people are placing a heightened emphasis on the vision and values of the organisations with which they do business.

"Does it care about what I care and have a deeper emotional connect? Consumers expect brands to be part of something bigger," said Pritchard.

In an effort to tap in to these developments, it is essential to generate in-depth, holistic insights, as well as producing ads that entertain and inspire the target audience.

"How do we bring brands to life through digital, in-store and even PR?" Pritchard asked. "It begins with deep and meaningful consumer insights and from that a communication that brings to life those insights, is created."

One campaign that utilised this idea was the "Women Against Lazy Stubble" platform which was rolled out by Gillette in India.

Having discovered women and men in the country disagreed about the attractiveness of stubble, P&G's shaving brand sought to encourage a fundamental change in behaviour among males.

"We created the communication that helped the end consumers understand the benefit in an innovative manner," Pritchard argued.

More broadly, P&G is endeavouring to boost its presence on non-traditional media in line with evolving habits in almost every country in which it operates.

"We need to be there and be ahead of the curve,” said Pritchard. "We have set some goals to reach a billion consumers in the digital space. So we identify the practices and then train every market."

Achieving this ambition involves leveraging options from social networks to online video, and combining this with bespoke tactics in other areas.

In India, for example, mobile phone penetration substantially outstrips the total for PCs, meaning the former of these channels offers far greater opportunities to interact with customers.

P&G is also one of a number of multinational firms participating in the Nokia Lift Tools initiative, which provides residents of rural regions in India with agricultural information, media content and information about brands on their cellphones.

"In markets like India, the high penetration of mobiles phones with text capabilities is a means to engage with the consumers," said Pritchard.

"Eventually, there will be a move towards accessing the internet on the mobile, even in India."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff