Unveiled at its annual analysts day in the US yesterday (20 February), the smart toothbrush uses Bluetooth connectivity to make brushing teeth ‘smarter and more personal”. Launching initially in North America, the brush links up with a smartphone app that can receive brush data and be programmed to help personalise settings.
Speaking at the event, P&G CEO AG Lafley claimed the brush was the “first of its kind” and would make brushing teeth more effective and efficient. He added that it was part of a pipeline of innovation that has been developed through understanding what consumers wanted but were not getting from their current products.
“We have clear consumer segmentation that informs branding, marketing, product and technology development and selling execution. Oral care is growing and creating value and there is lots of runway ahead.
“Oral B is bringing smartphone technology to brushing teeth, making it smarter and more personalised,” he said.
Lafley also announced plans to reorganise its marketing departments and return to a “brand management” system. He said that design, consumer and market understanding, communications and marketing will now be part of “one integrated brand management organisation”.
”Brand management will again have single-point responsibility for strategy, planning and in-market results,” he added
The reorganisation will see marketers shifted from P&G’s regional businesses to its four global business units – beauty, global health and grooming, family care and home care. Its regional market organisations will now be refocused on sales and will reduce down from eight to five, with Europe combined into one business, India put in with the rest of the Middle East and Africa and Asia combining with Australia.
Lafley also announced plans to exit the bleach business and hinted it would be willing to sell brands such as Duracell, Braun and Iams as it looks to focus on strategically important businesses. He also ruled out P&G buying any more brands and said it would instead focus on its product pipeline to boost sales, particularly in beauty, which has struggled.
“We don’t need more brands now. We do best where we can communicate in a category for consumers with fewer brands.
“The last thing we need is an acquisition in beauty, we have plenty of brand portfolio and product to get through the pipeline. Beauty is the great industry of promises made and never kept. We did well for 7 years because we made simple promises and kept them. That is our game and you’ll see us get back to that game.”