P&G is looking to “raise the bar” with its marketing by setting new standards on what makes for a high-quality campaign.
Jon Mueller (P&G’s chief financial officer) said “We are raising the bar in advertising quality with a focus on superior brand performance claims that communicate the brand’s benefit superiority to create awareness and trial.”
It is a clear statement of intent to the markets as sales fall compared to last year, but it is also a loud and clear challenge to P&G marketing staff and agencies to up their game. At the heart of his claims is P&G’s “Irresistible Superiority” programme overhauling the company’s approach to advertising, products, packaging, sampling and in-store promotions.
P&G are expecting a step change in their marketing performance. Clearly doing what they have always done but doing it better will not cut it. P&G marketers – and subsequently their compatriots throughout marketing – need to find a better way to understand and communicate their brands.
Communicating the emotions of your brand is nothing new, we have been doing it for over 100 years, but understanding exactly what it is about your brand experience that evokes different emotional responses in your consumers, understanding the whole emotional journey that your brand provokes in your consumers and using that to really connect with them can produce a paradigm shift in your results.
Communication should not just be about how the product makes consumers feel, it should be about the emotional journey that the consumer experiences whilst using the brand. It should encapsulate the ups and downs, the twists and turns of the journey in a way which inspires consumers to identify with the brand, differentiates it from the competition, and sets up an expectation – a hope – that is then over-delivered in the actual experience of the brand.
Yes. Whilst advertising must drive desire, if it over-delivers on expectation and the real experience is not as good as the advertising promised we deliver disappointment to our consumers. But if we can succeed in encouraging trial without overpromising and the brand experience is then even better than expectation we deliver delight which leads to repeat use, loyalty and advocacy.
When agencies are under the cosh from brand owners with rosters reduced, fees cut and – in the case of P&G – internal panels assessing the success of campaigns, they may feel the need to produce stunning advertising showcasing the products and driving immediate sales uplifts. So it falls upon Marketing Managers to understand their brands well enough, to know the emotional as well as the experiential journey of their brands. Not just the end point but the twists and turns, the ups and downs of the journey, and to be able to use the right parts of this brand journey to encourage trial, whilst holding the back key elements so that the actual brand experience is even better than the expectation. Thus producing long term liking, preference, loyalty and advocacy rather than over-zealous advertising that drives trial but ultimately disappointment with the brand.