Five lessons on brand building from Jim Stengel, P&G’s former Chief Marketing Officer

October 20, 2008

Jim Stengel, former P&G CMO

Jim Stengel, P&G ex-CMO

This month, Jim Stengel officially retired as Chief Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble.  As the leader of the largest spending marketing organization in the world, Jim was often named the most influential marketer and brand-builder in the industry.  Last week, he gave his final speech as P&G’s Chief Marketing Officer, speaking at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, FL.

Here is Mediapost’s summary of Stengel’s five lessons of brand building:

Lesson One: Put people at the center of all you do.

Treat your people the way you would want your customers treated. “We too often forget brands are people. It’s the collective intent of people behind them,” he says.

“I have learned in my career that the most important legacy is the impact you will have with the people you work with. We all have rough months, rough years, which blend together, but what you will remember is relationships and people.”

Lesson Two: Engage your heart and mind in everything you do.

Says Stengel, “We need balance. Too often as an industry we approach everything with head, not heart. We often talk within P&G of personal relationship as a metaphor for marketing. How many of us internalize that and apply it to how we approach business and customers?”

“If we thought about everything we do in marketing, if they all tried to emanate from this idea of great relationship we would do and measure things differently.”

He offered brands other than P&G’s as examples: Apple, Southwest Airlines, online shoe company Zappos, and Amazon.com. “What we find with the strongest brands is they have strength and competitive advantage in emotional areas that drive brand,” he said.

Lesson Three: Results.

“In our industry we tend to make things complicated, focusing on activities that don’t drive brand,” said Stengel. “Why are CMO tenures short? Look at organization designs across companies; they are all over the place Too much spend goes to short term and tactical that doesn’t build loyalty and relationship with consumers.”

He asked, rhetorically, why many CEO’s and CFO’s don’t value marketing. “Because too much we focus on a bustle of activities, not the few things that drive growth of brand. Sales are important but if you don’t look at other measures of brand health, you are being short sighted.”

Lesson Four: Creativity is about solving problems.

We too often have the wrong discussion with agencies. We talk fees, etc, short term stuff, not how to come together about how to create a powerful brand.”

Lesson Five: Have a purpose.

“I am devoting the next chapter of my life to this mission. He cautioned that, by purpose, he doesn’t mean cause-based marketing, but an inspirational, motivational reason for being. “For example, Nike’s purpose is to build self esteem, to be an inspiration for athletes around the world.”  The purpose of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish? “To bring optimism to children. Old Spice? To help guys navigate the seas of manhood,” he said.

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Upcoming guest writers on Hard Knox Life

September 28, 2008
Cincinnati skyline

Image by joseph a via Flickr

Over the next week, I will be making the move to Cincinnati to start my new assignment in Procter & Gamble Corporate Marketing.  Since I haven’t yet mastered the art of mobile blogging, I have asked a few of my peers and closest friends to keep the fires the burning here at Hard Knox Life with a series of guest posts.  Special thanks in advance to these guys for lending a hand during the move.  I have a feeling you are really going to enjoy reading what they have to say:

Depending on how long it takes to get everything set up at the new home, I should up and running again by October 6.  In the meantime, these guys will do an amazing job of providing interesting reading and I should be relatively active on Twitter.

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My new gig – P&G Digital Brand Strategist

August 7, 2008

So I can officially announce that as of October 1st, I will be P&G’s new Global Marketing Digital Brand Strategist.

So what exactly is a Digital Brand Strategist?  Well frankly a lot of that is going to be figured out on the job since this is a completely new position for P&G Marketing.   At the highest levels, the job will be helping drive P&G’s capability in digital marketing, branded content, social media, mobile and a host of other “digital areas”.  My job will be helping guide and equip my fellow Procter & Gamble Brand Managers / Marketers across the company with the tools to develop their digital marketing strategy.  Here is part of the job description:

Accelerating the company’s Digitial Marketing expertise and efforts across the globe is one of the current top priorities. Our commitment is to equip our brand building community with the knowledge and capabilities to create and execute a Digital Marketing Strategy.  Specific responsibilities will include:
– building & running the global digital marketing network
– leading digital marketing training program (content & delivery)
– ‘collect & connect’ of best practices & inspirational case studies
– demonstrating use new digital capabilities for internal communications

This role will involve strong external networking and communication to bring the outside in and keep us in close touch with leading edge capabilities and expertise.

I am super excited about this new role because it allows me to dive headfirst into two areas that I love: Digital Marketing and Brand Building.  It will also allow me to meet and work with many of the people in the online community who I have grown to respect and admire while writing Hard Knox Life.  And with our changes at the top of our marketing leadership, the job will be even more interesting.

As part of the job I will be relocating back to Cincinnati so I’ll be getting ready for that move over the coming 2 months while finishing up some major projects on the Walmart Team.  If anyone is looking/wanting to buy a house in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I can get you a great deal on mine!


I blog to find the 1 percent

June 4, 2008

I had a very interesting conversation this evening where someone asked me “Why do I blog?”….”Why am I trying to do the whole Hard Knox Life thing?”  It’s a question I have seen plenty of other bloggers answer.  Some do it for creativity, some do it to vent and some do it because they just love to write.  Frankly I do it for all of those reasons but for one important reason:

I blog to knock down walls and find the 1 percent

Anyone that has worked with P&G (or tried to work with P&G) knows that we have tons of walls keeping outsiders on the outside.  It is done with a good reason because it keeps Brand Managers from being pitched every idea under the sun…it keeps out the 99% of ideas that aren’t worth our time to evaluate.  But the problem is, it also keeps out the 1 percent of ideas that could be really worthwhile and breakthrough.  We’ve built this moat to protect us and basically no one can get in. Read the rest of this entry »


Shopper Marketing and Digital Marketing are one and the same

March 31, 2008

Over on The Hub, I came across a great article by Stuart Armstrong on where retail will play in the marketing mix.  Armstrong writes:

“Which means that the future of marketing—the convergence of retail, the emergence of digital media networks and the cellphone as the linchpin—is not really the future at all. Because, as Geoffrey Frost noted, in a nod to science-fiction writer William Gibson’s famous quote, “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

I find this point on convergence/emergence really interesting.  While P&G has placed increasing importance on Shopper Marketing, it is an area that is still in its infancy.  The same holds true for experts in digital (not interactive…but digital).  Digital experts are learning the world of not just interactive (ie traditional media applied to online) but also social media, mobile, consumer generated media and everything else that is digital today. 

The case can be made that the worlds of retail and digital are going to collide and they are going to collide very soon.  But I’m not sure if many clients OR agencies are recognizing this fact.  If you look at the major agency holding companies, most of them have their digital shops AND their shopper marketing shops.  Likewise you arent going to find many marketers that have spanned the world of both digital and shopper marketing during their careers.  Sure many have taken traditional brand / mass media backgrounds and layered on shopper marketing.  And many have done the same thing with digital. 

But it is only a handful of marketers that have thought how to take a traditional background and layer on expertise in both shopper AND digital.  It made sense just a few years ago when they were seperate worlds.  But these worlds are now converging and we all need to change…we need to change fast.  We need to understand that consumers can now become shoppers at any moment.  They no longer have to step into a store to shop.  It can happen online, on their cell phone or even on Xbox Live.  Those transactions taking place outside of traditional retail might be small now but that wont be the case in several years (ask the music industry about how fast iTunes made that happen).  Sounds like now is the time to start thinking about how shopper marketing and digital expertise are going to play together.  Will your brand be ready?  Your agency(s)?  You?


Why Shopper Marketing matters

March 2, 2008

Ever since I took my role on the Wal-Mart team, I’ve had people want to know more about what a Customer Team Marketing Manager really does. The short of it is that we do Shopper Marketing. We are Brand Managers that are tasked with translating a national marketing campaign into a shopper relevant campaign at Wal-Mart. At P&G we like to talk a lot about how 70 percent of all purchase decisions are made at the shelf, at the First Moment of Truth. So what that is saying is that for all the Billions of dollars we spend on traditional media, only 3 out of 10 consumers actually know the product they are going to buy when they walk into the store. The rest have a chance of being persuaded at shelf, which explains why we are putting such a renewed focus on design. But it also explains why we are leading the charge in Shopper Marketing and restating how in-store marketing is accounted for in our total ad spend.

So what exactly is Shopper Marketing? Well I define it by a pretty wide net. Read the rest of this entry »


Time to start anew

February 24, 2008

Well it has been over 2 years since I stopped posting over at Second Law Marketing but the time has come to start anew. First let me start with some background. I stopped writing Second Law for a couple of reasons, but the most significant was the conflict with my day job. At the time, Procter & Gamble was still trying to figure out our place in the blogosphere and we had yet to decide on a policy for personal blogs. This was not really an issue until a few people in the media found my little spot on the Web and decided to draw comparisons between the person and the company. Since I was actually on the internal team working on our blogging policy, I thought it would be in my professional interest to retire my blogging for awhile and find other creative outlets.

Now that the blogosphere is legitimate media and policies are a little clearer, I have decided to get back into the game with Hard Knox Life: A Brand Manager Blog. Let me be upfront that the discussions and viewpoints of this site are not a reflection of Procter & Gamble or my current position. Instead, they are merely the thoughts and ramblings of a marketer, who just happens to be employed by the world’s largest marketer. In these pages I will be talking about the latest trends in marketing, technology and society. Much of the writings will be focused on youth marketing since that is where most of my experience lies. My goal is to post at least once a day, but at minimum I am aiming for a handful of posts a week. Along the way, I hope to spur some great discussion, a little debate, and a whole lot of fun. After all, it’s a hard knox life…