How ‘citizenship’ shapes P&G’s brand strategies


Procter & Gamble, the consumer-packaged goods manufacturer, is drawing on the concept of “citizenship” to help shape its brand-building strategies.

Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble (P&G), discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Masters of Marketing Week, an online conference.

And he reported that diversity and inclusion, gender equality and community impact are the cornerstones of Procter & Gamble’s idea of “citizenship”.

“There was a time when you didn’t want to go anywhere near any social issues,” Pritchard remarked. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How P&G is building “citizenship” into brand-building efforts.)

But that approach has been consigned to the past by firms like Procter & Gamble, which is an active proponent of ending systemic racism and gender bias, with the aim of achieving real-life change that goes well beyond marketing.

And consumers, Pritchard noted, increasingly demand such efforts from brands. “Nine out of ten people feel better about a brand if it supports a societal or environmental cause,” he said.

“More than half of all people are expecting brands to take a stand, and that’s never been more evident than during the pandemic, and during the time where racism and systemic inequality have risen to the surface to the point where they’re inescapable.”

Numerous P&G brands have stepped up, from Always feminine-hygiene products tackling period poverty to Gillette challenging old definitions of masculinity, and a corporate-branding program that addressed racial inequity head on.

“We continue to focus on equality,” Pritchard told an audience of 6,000 Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Masters of Marketing Week online delegates.

“Inclusion has really been one of our most central aspects, with a lot [of focus]on community impact during the pandemic. But we’ve been doing it for many, many years.

“Because crises like COVID reveal the cracks in society […] those of us in business cannot let those inequalities widen,” Pritchard insisted. “Now is the time to use our voice to address the systemic inequalities that exist.”

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