This is a shift from the company’s previous framework, under which brands were managed on a country-by-country basis. Marketing will now operate out of one regional team responsible for the whole of Europe and North America as RB aims to give its biggest brands a more consistent marketing message across different markets.
RB chief executive Rakesh Kapoor, speaking on a results call this morning (28 July), said: “We want to be a lean, mean, faster machine. Finish is a brand that has a simple proposition, simple benefits and a pipeline of roll-outs. It seems rather inefficient that you want to change Finish marketing and marketing mixes from one country to another.
“We are now going to have one organisation to manage Finish across all of Europe and North America. Centralising marketing in ENA across brands makes it more consistent, bigger, faster and simpler to operate.”
The move is part of a wider efficiency drive by RB as it looks to reduce fixed costs and drive up its profit margins. Last year, the firm undertook a review of its global media and planning to ensure it is responding to changing consumer shopping habits and engaging with customers at the right time on the right platforms.
Kapoor said RB “locked in the benefits” of that review in the first half of this year, although it continues to increase investment.
“We want to ensure we are buying media effectively. We want to use our very significant investment, that has increased over the last few years, to make sure we are more efficient,” he added.
We want to use our very significant investment, that also increased over the last few years, to make sure we are more efficient.
While RB is looking for ways to improve efficiency it is also investing in its brands, with plans to open a new £100m R&D centre in the UK later this year. Kapoor said RB is focused on creating “brands with purpose”, highlighting a campaign by Durex that tapped into the Earth Hour movement, which asks people to turn off their lights for one hour.
The #turnofftoturnon campaign garnered 2 billion impressions, with the video getting 65 million views.
“This is what brand building is all about. Brands with purpose that stand for something, brands that people love not just because of great products. This is an example of the ways we can touch lives beyond product innovation,” said Kapoor.
He added that this focus has helped RB post revenue growth despite challenging economic conditions. Like-for-like revenues were up 4 per cent across the business in the second quarter, excluding its pharmaceuticals business which RB is planning to spin off as a separate company later this year.
Net revenues at its European and North American business were up 2 per cent. Operating profits increased 16 per cent to a little more than £1bn.