Speaking at the third edition of the ISA Global CEO Conference, Shailesh Jejurikar, chief operating officer, P&G, explained how brands can look at creating more value in a VUCA world.
“A VUCA world creates more opportunities for creating value,” he said, before listing some of the issues in the world right now that are creating disruptions.
"There are issues like inflation, labour shortage in the USA, and climate change. Labour shortage is caused because of people looking at opportunities in other spaces. One example of this is that when Covid-19 struck, construction work was halted. Construction workers moved to jobs with delivery companies during this time, which has caused a shortage of labour in this space now. If we know what the underlying factors and changes are, we can be better prepared to create an environment for the future,” he said.
He supported this statement with a bit of P&G’s history.
“P&G has a broad global portfolio now, but it started small. William Procter and James Gamble were two people who made candles and soaps. The company was founded in 1837 in Cincinnati. In the year after the company was founded, Cincinnati was becoming an industrial hub. One of the growing businesses in the city was meat packing. P&G saw that and expanded their business into the industry,” he explained.
Moving a century later, Jejurikar then spoke about how the company saw an opportunity in the detergent space.
“One significant impact of World War 2 was the participation of women in the workforce increasing. With this increase in the workforce, women couldn’t do household chores. So, this saw the invention of washing machines. With this, there was a need for a detergent for washing machines and that was the necessity out of which Tide was born,” he said.
Cutting to the present day scenario, Jejurikar, explained how brands need to help push the sustainability cause now.
“Today, we’re looking at the same opportunities from a different lens. Now we need to show sustainability. Waste related to laundry can be reduced by 90% if we move from warm to cold water. Superior cold water performance reduces costs for consumers and the energy footprint. It reduces the energy needed for warm water too,” he said.
He then showcased a campaign Tide worked on for the same.
He further explained, “Innovation drives market growth and change is a fertile breeding ground for this.”
Using AI in different categories
Jejurikar went on to explain how Oral-B used AI in a category like oral health to help sales.
“There was a big gap between ideal requirements for oral health and what consumers knew. Dentists recommended two minutes of brushing twice a day. Consumers brush just once, and that too for less than 45 seconds. 70% of people believed that they brush as recommended but only 20% do,” he said.
Jejurikar went on to surmise, “Change creates unique opportunities to create growth. While simple, this can be extremely difficult to do in a VUCA world. Often companies are in fire fighting mode to fight factors on the day. We are obsessed with solving the problem of consumers at P&G. We want to make their lives better. Problems could be solved with simple design innovations. Innovation can create value. Companies can only succeed when they experiment to solve the needs of the future," he said.