Procter & Gamble. The very words conjure up an immediate image of well, enormity. Behemoth-ness.
I don’t even think that’s a proper word but if it were, it would be a most appropriate descriptor of the scale of this particular company. P&G has a portfolio of consumer, household and personal care brands that is seemingly without end (the company can boast over 20 brands that have sales of over a billion dollars a year, 20!).
You reading this. I bet there are no less than 5 P&G products within 50 feet of you right now. You have Duracell batteries in your remote. Yeah you do. I know you do. And there isn’t any way you don’t have a P&G product in your laundry room, kitchen or medicine cabinet at this very moment. So when you are that huge. That dominant. No no, that UBIQUITOUS. What do you do to keep your relevance to a customer base that while very global is also becoming more and more savvy and specific in their needs and wants? How do you, a company that’s been in business for nearly 200 YEARS generate some buzz and interest? Knowing how easy it for consumers to now tune out any and all advertising? (P&G is the world’s biggest advertiser by the way, often spending up to 5 BIILLION dollars a year on advertising, according to the most recent AdAge figures.) By smartly and utilizing your reach to cater to people in a much more accessible and therefore convenient way.
Revolutionary? Actually, yes.
The idea of bypassing the middleman and selling products directly to the consumer is really unheard of for a NON-RETAILER of the magnitude of P&G. Check out the P&G online store.
Not only does that platform enable the company to offer a plethora of familiar and trusted brands at more than competitive prices (The Tide on the site is a full $3 cheaper than what I can find at my local drug store), but it also substantiates the idea of a planet-sized company being able to give a little something back to their customers, especially in times of (continuing) financial uncertainty and perhaps more importantly, doing it on their terms and in the places where they already are.
Imagine being able to order almost all P&G products while waiting on a subway platform or before you board an airplane? It worked spectacularly well for Netflix and FreshDirect. Why not for P&G? And why should Unilever or J&J or Kraft not be working around the clock to develop a similar site?
Once the P&G store concept is fully rolled out – the website only went online about 3 weeks ago – consumers will start to clamor for it. It’s too practical for them not to. I am of course not predicting the early demise of the convenience/supermarket/drugstore, but really feeling pretty good about having another option that reflects my (and I bet millions of other urban/suburban/country dwellers alike) lifestyle.
P&G did not stop there! In addition to the estore, they are also in the early stages of testing and rolling out Tide branded brick and mortar laundromats/dry cleaners (Literally. The buildings are literally made out of bricks. All in Kansas so far).
Pretty cool right?
Now this, my friends, is an idea that should have been executed a LONG time ago. It makes utter and complete sense to me. Tide dwarfs all other laundry detergents in sales and has for decades running. It is one of the most trusted brands in the country. Not only that, but P&G also has a (pun intended) ‘laundry list’ of laundry and complimentary cleaning brands at their disposal to create a whole universe of spotless whites and vivid colors, of flawless alterations, leather cleaning and I kid you not, wedding dress preservation, all with 24 hour access.
Now that’s effective branding and the kind of simple initiative that can indeed revitalize a 1000lbs gorilla like P&G. I wonder if it would be doable to connect through Kansas to drop off and pick up my laundry now? Hmmm. Food for thought indeed.