P&G global marketing and brand building officer Mark Pritchard told the audience at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival that brands should serve rather than market to their audiences.
He revealed that the company has developed an ethos of “purpose inspired brand building” with a strategy around “creative ideas that spark movements”, as opposed to straight advertising campaigns. Company chief executive Bob McDonald has even made “brand purpose” part of P&G’s growth strategy.
Pritchard gave the example of the company’s washing liquid brand Tide, which has opened branded dry cleaning outlets in the US. The brand also offers online fabric care advice.
Tide also has “mobile laundries” – branded trucks equipped with washing machines – to dispatch to disaster affected communities such as Hurricane Katrina, Haiti, and now, the Gulf of Mexico where the BP oil spill could affect local water supplies.
“Consumers have a higher expectation of brands and want to know what they are doing for the world. But it has to be authentic with a genuine desire to do it,” said Pritchard. “Our brands’ individual purposes are brought to life by ideas that touch people’s hearts and get them to participate in a brand community.”
Pritchard also revealed that he wanted to see more P&G brand activity around stores and through PR.
“If we come out of the recession and move back to marketing through campaigns that aim to sell, we’ll only survive until the next recession. We have to do more to actually thrive.”