Brand building has been continually disrupting as the transition to a digital world reshapes consumer engagement with our brands – and it accelerated by about 5 years in 2020.
Traditional TV reach keeps declining…colliding with over-the-top streaming services and connected TV that are growing exponentially – but with few or no ads.
Digital media keeps growing and is now the dominant form of media…but it’s colliding with rapidly eroding trust…especially as privacy legislation and anti-trust scrutiny escalate.
E-commerce and omni-retailing are accelerating…and colliding with media, driven by search, data, and algorithms for online ordering, store pickup, and home delivery – not ads.
Data, analytics, and technology are colliding with our everyday life…dominating consumer experiences and how we work – with programmatic media, artificial intelligence, gaming, virtual reality, and virtual collaboration tools transforming consumer experiences.
And people expect brands and companies to step up for society and the environment…with a collision between being both a force for good for society and a force for growth for shareholders and investors.
Collisions are disruptive – and these are big disruptions. 2020 accelerated our efforts at what we call leading constructive disruption – disruption in a productive way that drives innovation to deliver superior products and experiences for consumers, build markets, and drives growth and value creation. It compelled us to accelerate our efforts to lead constructive disruption to reinvent brand building…from wasteful mass marketing to precision brand-building consumer experiences on a mass scale, fueled by transparently collected data and digital technology. We’re reinventing media, advertising, how we work, and how we operate as a good citizen.
Trusted brands are colliding with technology
Trusted brands collided with technology in a constructive way – at least with our brands. With more time at home, more self-care at home, and heightened concerns for health, hygiene, and cleaning – consumers are seeking known, trusted brands. We shifted our marketing to focus on reinforcing that trust with useful information about how to use our brands to get a superior benefit – reaching them more precisely with digital media on how to get and keep surfaces “germ-free” with Microban 24; how to ensure your home smells fresh with Febreze; how to cut your hair at home with Braun, and many more.
And technology played a bigger role – with cutting-edge tech embedded into everyday products. Take Oral B iO, which we introduced in 2020 and is reinventing Oral Care. iO’s linear magnetic drive system directs more cleaning energy to the bristles and combines a unique oscillating and rotating round brush head with gentle micro-vibrations for a professional clean feel – removing and preventing plaque and reducing gingivitis for the best gum health. Embedded 3-D tracking technology learns how you brush and guides you across highly personalized brushing modes for your best clean. It gives you instant feedback on how well you did in cleaning every surface area in your mouth – and provides tracking on your progress on your phone. This is a WOW brushing experience that is reinventing an important daily habit through data and tech.
The value exchange for consumers between digital media and building trust
Digital media, fueled by data, has collided with traditional media and is now the dominant form of media. For the last 25 plus years, media has been transitioning into the digital world. And now digital media has exceeded TV media, worldwide. But digital was built on and monetized using tracking technologies such as cookies – which tracked people’s browsing behavior and enabled brands to reach people through advertising. Over time, people started getting concerned about their privacy and objected to being tracked without consent. They’ve asked for more transparency about how their personal data is being used by digital platforms and advertisers. That has led to privacy regulations like GDPR in Europe, CCPA in California, and dozens of countries around the world dealing with this situation.
Digital media is dominant and still rising, but after 25 years of cookies and device IDs tracking, “digital media finally collided with trust” as people are rightfully wanting more of a say in what data is being collected about them and their behavior, and how it is used. Apple won’t allow app-to-app data transfer without permission, and the effectiveness of cookies in digital media is diminishing. This will help create an internet more conducive to consumer privacy, but it has implications to advertising since systems have been built on using that data for media planning, targeting, and buying. And by the way, this advertising pays for free content on the internet, so we have another collision between a more privacy-protective internet and the free content fueled by advertising.
To quote my P&G colleague Gary Coombe, “if it’s inevitable, get enthusiastic.” We are doubling down on transparency and consent-based consumer data collection, leveraging industry best practices. This is becoming part of the value equation of a trusted brand. We notify consumers about how we will use their data so that they can make informed decisions about whether to opt-in to our programs and when they do consent, we provide them with useful information and content from our trusted brands. We do this through multiple consumer touchpoints where we engage with consumers. And we enrich consumer data in a clear and transparent way with behavioral and purchase signals to improve analytics, build algorithms, and develop consumer engagement applications that drive growth and efficiency.
Data and the future of media
The most significant application is using data, analytics, and digital technology to reinvent media, from “mass blasting” messages to generic target audiences with too much waste, to “mass reach with greater precision.”
For example, we create and apply what we call “smart audiences,” which are precise audience profiles built from proprietary algorithms, to reach and engage more consumers with greater precision than is possible with a generic target audience like “women ages 18-49.” The net effect for consumers is being served content that is far more useful, engaging, and interesting – not repetitive or annoying. And we are doing this in a transparent way so that consumers know how their data is being used – which we hope builds even more trust with them.
The broadest application is automated, programmatic media buying where we connect with publishers throughout the internet, to find the audiences we want to reach at the best media rates. More and more of our digital media is programmatic, or addressable, enabling less spending and higher sales growth through greater precision, and the ability to avoid serving an ad to a consumer too many times – which can be annoying. As TV media moves toward Over-the-Top streaming services and Connected TV, we are building in programmatic media from the start – so we can be precise, efficient, and effective. We do not want streaming services to adopt the traditional and archaic media buying approaches of linear TV networks – so we want to leap to the future from the very beginning.
Beyond programmatic, Pampers has taken precision the furthest and is the most advanced with one-to-one brand building. Pampers sends the right messages to the right parents at the right time with useful information about our superior products and how to care for their babies, themselves, and their families – from pregnancy to the last diaper. Pampers moved from wasteful TV and digital media with poor accuracy, to engaging parents on their own mobile Pampers app, website, and email, which enables them to leverage transparently collected data to achieve much higher accuracy at far less spending.
Another major application is leveraging retailer media networks to reach and engage more consumers closer to when they purchase and find new opportunities for growth and value. Search on retailer platforms is a significant way in which we engage consumers to provide them with the information they want to make a purchase decision. And we’re working with retailers to do propensity modeling and algorithm-based media planning and buying, reducing waste and increasing consumers reached. Stay tuned for more breakthroughs in-retailer media ecosystems.
Collisions are opportunities to lead constructive disruption to reinvent brand building.
With all of these collisions, think about how to use them as opportunities to lead constructive disruption to reinvent brand building. That’s exactly what we’re doing, from mass marketing with a lot of waste to precision brand-building experiences on a mass scale using transparently collected data and digital technology.
Use technology to be more useful in how you engage with brands to serve people information and content that makes their experience more superior.
Double-down on opt-in, consent-based consumer data to make data exchange part of the value proposition for consumers.
Disrupt media by focusing on reaching a lot of people, but with greater precision using data and technology. Be a part of the massive shift to programmatic, deliver 1-1 precision when you can, and work with retailers to advance their media ecosystems.
Collisions that lead to disruption are inevitable…so let’s get enthusiastic about leading constructive disruption to continually reinvent brand building