Taide Guajardo, VP brand Europe, P&G Switzerland, and Andreas Cohen, founder and chairman, I-Com Global, discussed how data can help organisations grow, in the recently held I-Com Summit Experience 2020.
The discussion began with Cohen asking Guajardo about P&G as an organisation embracing data.
“We have been around for 183 years. We are known for one thing – putting the consumer in the centre. We are creating superior products, distributing them in the right place and this formula has allowed us to build the business we have. That formula is the same for data too. The way we see it, data is providing superpowers to our brand builders; it's the catalyst that allows us to deliver exponential growth. It gives us the ability to do things that humans couldn't. Data gives us insights and personalisation that human brains cannot. It allows us to deliver more efficient solutions for our customers as well. Data also allows us to innovate,” said Guajardo.
P&G’s data strategy
Guajardo then spoke about how P&G uses data. She touched upon the marketing phrases – ‘data is the new oil’ and ‘data is the new currency’ and stated that at P&G, the phrase is modified to ‘data activation is the currency’.
She explained, “We found that as an organisation we were obsessed with data. We were celebrating our data acquisition. We had a lot of data and have recently focused our energy on activating that data. We brought it into the sales. We had to prove that data works. One of the things we did with the staff was – how to make the data work to our advantage. We started applying data to make a revolution and bring it into our business. We identified precision targeting and we also went into driving promotion analytics. We did spend a lot of money on this but in the end, it has been an enabler for our salespeople on the field.”
She added how data helped the company grow its Gillette Venus brand in Italy.
“We found out the places where we could increase the category growth. Not a lot of women use razors, so we wanted to grow the category. We found out that during the summer there was a bigger concentration of women that would use this product close to camping sites. That was the insight; during camping (a Gillette razor) is the easiest thing to use. We did this with our dealers and grew this,” she said.
Organisational issues, breaking silos within companies
The duo then dived into the topic of the discussion – ‘Organisational Development to Breakdown the Silos’.
Guajardo said, “Yes, there are organisational issues. Working with data is a totally different way to operate. The leadership role we play is crucial. Our role is to break these silos. A silo is something which one believes is very tall, has no windows and is closed. That's often the behaviour we see in big companies. We see people protecting functions and try to build their own teams. It's actually easier and more in your comfort zone to build your silo. It's crucial for a leader to break those silos and operate with data.”
On how the company broke silos, she added, "Three years ago, the company appointed a leader for sales and brand marketing. We have a marketing and sales leader and actually, no one told him; he observed people from silos giving him different ideas with data. He made it a priority to get people working together to reap the benefits of data. We said that we wanted to have a legacy that we wanted to leave within the company. The team got motivated and was enthusiastic. We defined five areas that we needed to go at and connect. We had two data scientists when we started, and now we have a lot more. It didn't happen overnight. It's still in progress. The first resource took at least nine months."
Guajardo ended the talk by taking on cultures and mindsets in organisations. She explained, “We are working on a growth mindset. It's about increasing people’s appetite. It's been one of the pillars for P&G and we have embraced it as a company. We have seen one per cent of what we can do with data. The only way we can learn further is by going with an unlearning idea. It’s time we break the silos with a very inspiring mission. We are re-writing the books of brand building with smart data marketing.”