I’m pretty blown away by the Adage.com interview with P&G CEO Bob McDonald. His thoughts on brand strategy are in perfectly sync with those of Lisa Bradner. Lisa is the author of Forrester’s “Adaptive Brand Marketing” we’re big fans of hers. McDonald is taking it to another level here, and his talk about “visualization” and “virtualization” makes me weak in the knees.
Here are some excerpts from the full interview.
You start with the idea now before you even think about a medium, and you take the idea, which is rooted in consumer insight, and only then do you figure out how to use the media, and you use every medium. And then what the marketer needs to be able to do is be able to let go … And the best ideas were like this warden of the Great Australian Reef, where, rather than running a tourism campaign, the government decided to put a want ad in several papers around the world for a warden for the Australian reef. And they asked for videos, which is another example of what we’re doing. And they let it go. So you had this guy in an icebreaker in Greenland talking about how he was the best guy. Another [takeaway] was the ubiquity of social media and how an idea can take off and you don’t have to pay for it. What I worry about is that it democratizes scale. It allows the little guy to get scale almost instantaneously. And we’ve got to make sure we don’t give up that opportunity. That’s why we’re talking about transforming the company through digitization, visualization, virtualization. And that’s my job, which is to change the way we work by digitizing the entire company end to end.
Many analysts covering our company think size is a detriment. They believe in the law of big numbers — the larger you get, the harder it is to deliver the same percentage growth. Size doesn’t matter. What matters is turning size into scale and turning that scale into accelerated growth.
[Another strategy is] simplification. The natural tendency of a company is to become bureaucratic, hierarchical and slow-moving. We’re trying to [combat] that through the removal of layers and hierarchy and the use of technology, which frankly fits my engineering background and the fact that I studied computer science. … We’re going to use technology to make this company operate like a $10 billion company rather than an $80 billion one.
In the full interview McDonald talks about the differences between himself and his legendary predecessor, and the awesome challenges facing P&G on the global stage.