Procter & Gamble, the consumer-packaged goods manufacturer, is leveraging a philosophy of "constructive disruption" as it adapts to new shopper demands, Marc Pritchard, the firm’s chief brand officer, explained at CES 2020.

“Everything we do starts and ends with the consumer,” Pritchard said at the Las Vegas event, which is held by the Consumer Technology Association. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How P&G is linking consumer insight with “constructive disruption”.)

“We seek to understand what consumers want and need in every household and personal care category in which we compete.”

Achieving that objective, however, has become more complex due to a wave of sociopolitical upheaval, technological change, and environmental anxiety.

“We strive to lead with ‘constructive destruction.’ And ‘constructive’ is a carefully chosen word. It's one thing to disrupt and destroy value,” said Pritchard.

“Our job is to disrupt in a way that drives growth and creates value for the people we serve and for the categories in which we compete.”

In many cases, customer preferences can be contradictory, as shown by a variety of trends highlighted by Fama Francisco, CEO/global baby and feminine care at P&G.

“Personalisation is desired, but privacy is expected. New solutions are demanded, but they must come with safety, trust and transparency. The bar for innovation keeps rising, but what must be created must also be good for society and good for business,” she said.

Numerous “macro-trends”– from urbanisation to aging populations and digitisation – require fresh thinking, too. “All these forces create new problems to solve, new jobs to be done, along with new consumer expectations,” Francisco added.

By “learning about their articulated and unarticulated needs”, P&G aims to find meaningful ways to enhance people’s lives – a goal pursued with an increasing range of insight-gathering techniques.

“Our approach uses a high human touch: we engage with people in their homes, and in stores, to respectfully listen and observe,” said Francisco.

“We also use technology to connect with consumers through data, through analytics, and through behavioral sciences to help predict their behavior and understand their problems and their tensions.

“We connect all this information to uncover powerful insights that drive our innovation portfolio and improve everyday life for consumers.”