Instead they have been pitted against each other all morning in a brand exercise organised and masterminded by P&G. The prize? A dinner date for the teams with a man responsible for running the marketing function of one of the most powerful FMCG companies on the planet, Marc Pritchard , global marketing and brand building officer, P&G.
However, even students who do not make the cut get a chance to experience Pritchard firsthand when he addresses a respectably packed hall that evening. Soon after he’s done, the questions fly thick and fast. These include some potentially embarrassing posers. How does P&G feel, one student wants to know, about its campaigns being ambushed by its archrival HUL?
Few people have forgotten the teaser campaign about a mystery shampoo last year (that was revealed to be P&G’s Pantene) being hijacked by Dove from the HUL stable. Pritchard opts to take the high road on this one: “We can’t prevent any competitor from ambush (surprise attack). But if you focus on the consumer, what your brand is doing to serve the consumer and if you have a big idea, you will win most of the time.”
And that’s a running theme through pretty much everything that Pritchard has to say. Whether he’s addressing students at IIM-A, the media or an audience at the Cannes Lions Festival, he’s a tireless champion of brands serving consumers or “purpose driven branding.”
P&G spent most of the 1990s establishing a global footprint. Now, according to Pritchard, it finally has the chance to live up to its purpose. The first step was getting senior management to define a purpose for each of the brands in the P&G stable: a blueprint on how the company could touch and improve...