P&G encourages innovators to think brand centric and evolve leading brands

Marketing Week Live!: Brand innovators should take advantage of interest from major companies and play a part in extending some of the country’s most popular household brands, according to Procter & Gamble’s new business development chief.

Speaking at the Insight Show, part of today’s (30 June) Marketing Week Live! conference, Mike Addison told the audience that there is an “enormous opportunity to take innovation onto the mass-market.”

He said that a lot of FMCG companies are open to listening to innovation pitches and will often tell innovators “I love your proposition but I can make it so much better”, which sometimes includes offering the technology to rivals, in exchange for a share in profits.

“Companies like P&G and some of our rivals thrive on “Brand Centric Open Innovation” and have solid commitments to innovation frameworks to apply to any brand – be that our own or a rival’s. Being open like this means we have the best brands on the markets and know we are giving consumers what they want.”

Addison gave the examples of how Febreeze has recently been given a refresh with extensions to the brand, and has licensed these out to innovators to produce for the marketplace. P&G has also helped Dunkin’ Donuts launch a new range of flavoured coffees, earning a fee for its goods in a similar way to white label technology.

Addison said there were four types of innovation. Commercial innovation was when brands extended portfolios without changing the products, through enhanced equity. Pampers’s work with Unicef, which was commended for a Marketing Week Engage Award in 2008, was an example of this.

Sustaining innovation is when a brand is updated and given a new and improved label, in a bid to keep it relevant. Ariel’s recent Actilift packaging is an example of this.

Transformative innovation was when a brand sought to make sizeable share gains and sustain a competitive advantage; while disruptive innovation was when a brand created a whole new market, such as Crest’s move into White Strips – a gum to make your teeth whiter.

Addison says innovation is key to brands: “FMCG companies are looking to drive there whole brand presence and innovation is key to this. The more relevant the idea, the more value that comes out of it. For example, we’ve launched a range of bottled sauces to sell with our Iams pet food, its just another way of enhancing the brand and adding value. Anyone who thinks they can create a winning proposition should come forward but its important that you invest in insight and evidence to prove its strategic worth to a large company.”

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