Signal P&G 2013 — Winning Brand Building At The Speed Of Digital

 

I had the privilege of attending the 2nd annual Procter & Gamble (P&G) Signal P&G event in Cincinnati yesterday, May 30, 2013. The event was created to inspire P&G marketers to accelerate digital, social, and mobile marketing innovation while not losing focus on core brand building fundamentals. Marc Pritchard, P&G CMO, stated several times that “understanding our consumers is core to anything we do in digital.” 

The event MC was John Battelle, CEO of Federated Media, who did an excellent job keeping the speakers moving and on point. Stan Joosten, innovation manager, global eBusiness, of P&G played a pivotal role in managing the overall event under Marc Pritchard’s sponsorship and leadership. There were nearly 500 P&G and outside guest attendees as well as many more via webcast.

It was a packed day with 20 speakers and excellent insights. Here are but a few quotes and insights from the day.

Marc Pritchard started the day off with key themes:

  • Speed is absolutely essential to winning brand building at speed of digital.”
  • Main Signal P&G themes for P&G marketers to soak in included: “speed, teamwork, and innovation based on P&G-proven business models, with brands being most important.”
  • “P&G must innovate by being productively paranoid.” Pritchard based this mantra on the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.
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Want To Know Your Secret Brand Building Weapon? Sshh, It’s Your Employees.

There’s a lot of effort exerted by marketing leaders to turn customers into brand advocates. But their customers have a lot of brand choices and a lot of other things on their minds. What these marketers are overlooking is the potential brand advocates in their own backyard. Their employees. Employees are fundamentally connected to, thinking about, and representing your brand every day. They are often your biggest fans.

Indeed, our research shows that one of the biggest shifts of brand building in the 21st century is that — for leading brands — it is now a companywide effort. A unanimous 100% of marketing leaders surveyed by Forrester agreed that brand building requires all employees to be brand ambassadors. But the companies they lead are not yet living up to this aspiration. While many marketers’ eyes light up at the prospect of tapping in to their employees' Twitter networks, just focusing on social is missing the point. Yes, social is a valuable tool to create conversation. But true employee brand advocacy requires chief marketing officers (CMOs) to go deeper. They need to make delivering a superior brand experience part of the enterprise culture. Brand advocacy can’t be another task on someone’s to-do list. Make brand building part of how employees do their job and guide them by the light of a clear brand North Star so that your powerful new army marches to the same drumbeat. Forrester’s three-step framework guides the way:

  • Excite with an inspiring brand experience. A PowerPoint presentation at the company meeting just won’t cut it. Bring the brand to life for your employees. Starbucks invested a staggering $35 million to create an interactive brand lab to bring the brand experience to life for its frontline employees. 
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