Nigel Dickson - www.cnnmoney.com)

Jim Stengel - Retiring P&G Global Marketing Officer (Photo: Nigel Dickson - http://www.cnnmoney.com)

Jim Stengel has been leading P&G global marketing efforts since 2001 and has been with P&G since 1983.  He’s as good as it gets and as smart as they come.

He is retiring at the end of the month and spoke to a small group of agency executives in Cincinnati yesterday about his post retirement plans (think tank, book, consulting … pretty exciting and heady stuff) and some key learnings from his tenure at P&G. 

He also pitched the United Way of Greater Cincinnati in a not-so-subtle reinforcement of what he spoke to us about. 

What he shared applies to to the work of all professional communicators, whether in PR (like Vehr Communications) or advertising agencies.  In this October 8 post in ANA Marketing Musings, Bob Liodice summarizes much of what Jim shared, with one add by this author. 

Jim talked about the importance of agility and value as keys to being successful in not only these turbulent times, but over the long haul.  

My take on his reference to “agility” is the ability of a brand (product, corporation, organization, etc.) to anticipate, react and respond to the market … to stay ahead of changes and make the smart decisions.

My take on “value” has two pieces.  First, to provide value – something of worth – to the person making the initial purchase decision and the all-important re-purchase decision.

Second, and this is my add to the ANA post, Jim shared a strong belief that today’s consumers want more than just value … they seek an understanding that what they purchase is values-based.

Importantly, he shared a strong belief that the great companies in the world care about the world.  Their key people – all of them – believe that their company does more than produce or provide a service, that they do good. 

Some call this Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Cause Marketing.  Jim’s point is that it matters more and more.  He claims that today’s young consumers are different – that they demand more than just good price and performance.  Younger consumers seem to want to know that when they spend, it makes some kind of difference. 

I am certain that Jim’s book will dissect this all rather neatly.  I hope it comes out soon.  PR professionals can learn a lot from great CMOs like Jim Stengel. 

If what we do is about reputations, relationships and results, then understanding better how to advise our clients to anticipate, respond and react and how to connect on a personal level with their audiences – to develop a deeper relationship – then we’ll be better at what we do.

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