FROM BRANDS TO SERVICES

The title to this Ad Age article really says it all: "P&G Plots Growth Path Through Services." Any student of experiential marketing would readily see that the world's greatest purveyor of brands is looking for more experience-based actions to keep them thriving. IN fact, I wrote about P&Gs strategy in this blog a while back.Experience_the_message_1

According to the Ad Age article:

Procter & Gamble Co. got to be an $80 billion company and the world's-largest marketer almost entirely by selling goods, but it's increasingly looking to services ranging from concierge physicians to car washes and dry cleaners to fuel its thirst for growth.

It's a big thirst. When every percentage point of growth now requires around $800 million in new sales, P&G can't afford to leave many stones unturned, including service and franchising models. At the same time, the challenge in this age of brand saturation — to create growth beyond simply selling more stuff — is a problem other marketers will increasingly face if the economic recession indeed moves people away from the conspicuous consumption that marked better times.

Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald sees the service mentality increasingly infusing what his conventional package-goods brands do.

This service-mentality is the dominant directive for experiential marketing. As I wrote almost 5 years ago (holy crap! five effing years!!!!) in Experience the Message, experiential marketing must be predicated on delivering consumer benefit. If there is no inherent benefit — be it visceral, mental, emotional or physical — it cannot be considered an expereince. It can only be the white noise of traditional branding and marketing.

Even more important to experiential marketeers is that staging service-based experiences allow us to learn about behaviour and brand affinity outside of the focus group trap. Just read what P&G is doing with its MDVIP service to see the future of branding.

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