The Era Of Digital Marketing Is Dead: Marc Pritchard, P&G

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has shifted its brand building initiative to embrace a ‘digital back’ approach. This essentially means that it begins in the digital world and works its way back to the rest of the marketing mix. And according to Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G, this approach has helped it build its brand equity, and increase sales and profits.

While addressing audiences at the dmexco 2017, the two-day forum that concluded in Cologne in Germany last week, Mr Pritchard urged audiences to stop seeing digital as an entity that only a few comprehend.

“We are no longer looking at digital as something separate or a mysterious medium with its own set of metrics that only some understand. We also resist thinking of it in terms of technology but instead as a tool to build brands by reaching people with fresh creative campaigns,” he said.

Stating that the era of digital marketing has made way for brand building, he informed that P&G has infused this mindset in the company, across the world. The move has freed up its brand building professionals to focus on creative ideas that come to life across all media that consumers engage with every day.

The Power Of Idea – More Important Today
Mr Pritchard insisted that even as everything is changing, the one constant is the role of fresh creative ideas that are insights powered and creativity inspired. He said that the idea always has, and always will, create great campaigns. “Today, ideas matter more because they allow a brand to be wildly successful or to fail spectacularly. People are in charge; they have the power to avoid content or skip ads but if you capture their imagination and connect with them, there will be a significant increase in ROI (return on investment) through engagement and sharing,” he explained.

Very rarely does Mr Pritchard let go of an opportunity to remind the creative industry that digital has created a whole wasteland of what he calls “crappy and lousy” ideas.

Mr Pritchard’s checklist of great ideas has three points – it has to come from deep human insights; it should not need explaining and finally, it executes itself.

“A great idea has to be based on an emotional truth that is so intuitive that you recognize it as something you have always known. Insight unlocks creativity and is a core part of the creative process,” Mr Pritchard said.

He added that great ideas are not only always easy to recognize but that they also have the core logic and ability that makes executing it effortless.

“I always know when we have a great idea because it literally flies through the organization – everyone wants to do it. It gains momentum until the idea takes a life of its own. A lousy idea drags itself,” said Mr Pritchard.

The Idea That Endures
A significant part of his address was directed at the need to find insights that will sustain themselves. A case in point is Old Spice.

“A core insight should not change every time you come up with a new campaign. You should find an insight, and really invest in it. There is great merit in combining insight with the equity of the brand. Old Spice did this with the insight that deep down all men feel just a little insecure about their manliness. We distinguished the brand by using humor and it has seen double digits growth in the each of the last three years,” Mr Pritchard said.

As great insights have to the power to travel, it can be customized to any culture and it lead to an explosion of ideas that execute themselves and can sustain a brand for years. For Pritchard, that is what great brand building is about.

He concluded his address stating, “Let’s celebrate the death of digital marketing and focus on creating great ideas that move people and build brands. And in the process, let’s leverage digital tools and technology to engage people like we have never done before.”

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