Social media boosts Indian sales for P&G

03 June 2009

MUMBAI: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant, used social media to boost sales of its Gillette razor brand in India after ten years of static growth, a result the company attributes in large part to starting a "conversation" among consumers.

According to a presentation given by Lucas Watson, global team leader for Procter & Gamble's digital business strategy, at the The CM Summit in New York, the Cincinnati-based firm used a "mix of paid media, earned media and social elements all working together" to grow sales.

However, Watson also argued that "it was adding the social mix that unlocked the value add" after a decade of negligible expansion in the country.

When P&G bought Gillette in 2005, the company was the market leader in India, but 90% of consumers used double-edge razors, or did not shave at all.

This meant that was a gap in the market for Gillette's Mach III triple-edge razor, but the product was sold at a considerable premium, and the category was considered to be low-interest by most men.

Procter & Gamble first commissioned a survey about shaving from Nielsen, which reported that clean-shaven men were both more likely to be promoted at work, and regarded as being more attractive by members of the opposite sex.

Based on these findings, the company created a Facebook page that allowed consumers to discuss these findings, based on the idea that to "debate, discuss and argue is in the blood of Indians."

As well as generating strong coverage in newspapers, on television and on the internet, Mach III sales increased by 40% in the first few months following the launch of the campaign.

Watson argued that the last of these results is by far the most important, as if "I tried to take my Facebook fans to the bank ... they wouldn't take them."

Data sourced from eConsultancy; additional content by WARC staff