Douwe Bergsma, the CMO of Georgia-Pacific, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Masters of Marketing Conference.
"For the last two years, our business has grown strongly. We grew our market shares; we grew our top-line sales; and we have significantly grown our bottom-line profits," he said. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Focus on storytelling has happy ending for Georgia-Pacific.)
"And our brand-building made a very significant contribution to this success. We know that from all [of] our measurements, which indicated that our equities are improving, and loyalty among our target consumer is growing for every single brand in our portfolio today."
One core reason behind this success, he asserted, was a shift in strategy towards telling conflict-driven stories which helped bring its brands to life in fresh and engaging ways.
"So what did we do?" Georgia-Pacific's marketing leader asked the Masters of Marketing assembly. "Our investments were not so much about doing more or less. It's about how to do it differently."
Brawny paper towels, for example, has based its marketing efforts – from celebrating International Women's Day to supporting wounded soldiers – around a "Tough and Gentle" positioning which showed both qualities are sometimes needed.
"We moved away from product marketing to brand-building; moved away from highlighting our functional attributes of this great product called Brawny … to something that is more inspirational on a brand level," Bergsma said.
Angel Soft toilet tissue has, similarly, championed everyone from single mothers to immigrant fathers in the US who work multiple jobs to support their families back home – all captured with the tagline "Be Soft, Be Strong."
Thanks to these and similar efforts, Bergsma reported, Georgia-Pacific has boosted a wide variety of metrics at a time when budgets were either declining or flat, depending on the precise activity.
"We did all of that without increasing our marketing investment in the last few years, and while decreasing our marketing resources," he said.
Data sourced from Warc