How PZ Cussons rebuilt its strategy around a brand growth wheel

FMCG firm PZ Cussons overhauled its marketing to prioritise the growth of key brands and build profitability across its portfolio. Its move away from price-dependent trade marketing holds critical lessons for other large brands.

Imperial Leather, the British soap brand, is a very good example of the predicament in which its owner PZ Cussons found itself until recently.

The brand remains very well-known, and some of its old tag lines – Imperial Leather: “release the lather” – still linger in the collective consciousness. But it’s on that lingering that it had continued to trade, and in subsequent cost-cutting efforts it had found itself struggling to protect its margins as a reliance on trade marketing at the point of sale left it converting the ever-fewer customers who still bought the brand.

“It’s almost like a...

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