TorchMedia | The purpose behind the jargon
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The purpose behind the jargon

31 Jan 2011, Posted by TorchMedia in Blog, Grocery

The latest catchcry we’ve heard from Procter & Gamble’s marketing gurus is “purpose driven branding”. Surely all branding is driven by a purpose? Or, taking a more forgiving approach, how is that different from cause related marketing?

In a recent interview with The Economic Times, P&G’s global marketing & brand building officer Marc Pritchard attempted to explain. Purpose in P&G-speak is much more than a cause or a corporate responsibility, it takes a broad view of how a product improves the lives of consumers.

For example, on a simple level Pampers nappies keep your baby dry and comfortable. On a deeper level, P&G would suggest its wider purpose is to “to improve a baby’s healthy, happy development”. This wider purpose can then be reflected in the in-store and on-pack messaging – P&G, in partnership with UNICEF, is providing vaccinations for mothers and babies in emerging economies when customers buy an appropriate pack.

In this example the in-store messaging and sales promotion is bringing to life the wider purpose of the brand.

This is not just about being a good corporate citizen to gain brownie points with shoppers – it’s a demonstration of the brand’s core purpose, argues P&G.

“We deliberately focused on making people define purpose as how brands improve everyday lives. A cause is just a piece of it as opposed to the whole thing,” P&G’s Pritchard told The Economic Times. “We are very focused on sharpening what the brands stand for, identifying human insights that can translate into big ideas.”

In another example, you might say a razor blade’s purpose is to remove stubble from the face. But that’s a function, not a purpose. In India, Gillette reckons the real reason men bother to shave is to attract women, of course.  Hence, Gillette’s in-store positioning has revolved around the cheeky “Women Against Lazy Stubble” messaging, which showed the advantages of being clean-shaven. Out-of-home marketing delivered tips to young men about how to shave, dress, handle an interview and talk to women. Now that’s a purpose!

Pritchard added that for P&G it was at the shelf where communicating these ideas to shoppers begins, at the “moment of truth”. “We market back from there to create awareness to get them to that point,” Pritchard said. “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.”

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