Marc Pritchard - Chief Brand Officer for Procter & Gamble

Marc's Insights & Interviews

Historically I always hated the idea of brands and being loyal to a company trying to sell me stuff.

I like to find a solution to my problems and then move on.

But brands can be a useful heuristic for probability weighted decisions about the likelihood of a product solving a problem.

So there’s more to them than hype and premium prices.

As I explore the notion of brand in a performance marketing setting, I’m seeking out learnings from CMOs around the world.

I want to know what the big dogs think and whether they have ideas I can steal or mutate for my own purposes.

I googled “best CMOs”, and it seems to be highly correlated with “CMOs of the biggest companies”. Which I think is dumb.

But that brings me to today’s topic:

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of Procter & Gamble.

Procter & Gamble make like 300 products, a zillion dollars in revenue and this guy somehow shapes the brands of all of them.

Let’s find out what he’s good for:

To binge-watch interviews jump to Marc’s Interviews.

Who is Marc Pritchard & What Has He Done?

Marc Pritchard is the Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble (P&G), responsible for P&G's global brand building strategies and leading marketing innovations worldwide.

He has over 3 decades of experience at P&G, having joined in 1982 as a cost analyst before moving into marketing roles. Pritchard sets the multi-billion dollar media, marketing and advertising strategies for P&G's portfolio of over 300 trusted brands. He has progressed through various leadership roles in categories like health, beauty, oral care and cosmetics.

Pritchard pioneered innovations in product, operations and sustainability that have driven growth at P&G. He leads P&G's ongoing brand building reinvention and is an influential voice in the media, marketing and creative industries.

Pritchard has received numerous honors including Marketer of the Year awards from both the World Federation of Advertisers and Cannes Lions in 2020, when P&G was also named Brand Marketer of the Decade.

I asked my LLM friends to analyze dozens of articles and interviews with Marc.

Here are Marc’s top marketing insights:

Use your brand's voice in advertising to promote equality and inclusion

Brands should use their voice in advertising to actively promote equality and inclusion instead of just including diversity passively.

This matters because advertising shapes perceptions, memories and biases, so brands have a responsibility to portray people accurately. Taking a stand periodically also brings needed attention to important issues.

To act on this, brands should ensure their advertising accurately portrays diversity across gender, race, sexual orientation and ability. Then periodically create messaging that shines a light on inequality or promotes progressive social values relevant to the brand.

This twin approach helps brands grow by building consumer trust and affinity.

Build citizenship and purpose into your brands rather than bolt them on

Brands should integrate social citizenship and purpose deeply into their identity and operations rather than bolting on separate CSR initiatives.

This matters because consumers increasingly expect brands to stand for more than profits, rewarding those that make driving positive change central to their model.

To act on this, brands should determine core social and environmental issues to prioritize, then set related policies and programs across their business.

This could include establishing workforce diversity goals, making sustainability commitments or dedicating portions of profit to social impact.

By making corporate citizenship core to the business rather than a side effort, brands can strengthen employee attraction and retention while meeting rising consumer expectations.

Set aspirations for workforce diversity rather than quotas

Brands should set clear aspirations and goals for workforce diversity rather than imposing quotas.

This matters because aspirations inspire people to progress equality while allowing for merit-based flexibility, whereas quotas can force unfair decisions and breed resentment.

To act on this, leadership should determine diversity metrics they want the organization to achieve at all levels, whether gender, racial or other parameters. Then clearly communicate these as multi-year organization goals, setting interim benchmarks.

This approach signals the importance of equality while motivating managers to take tangible actions that methodically improve diversity over time.

Fire yourself every 18 months to stay fresh and innovative

Leaders should mentally reset themselves periodically in order to stay innovative amid constant change.

This matters because the pace of technological evolution requires new perspectives to recognize the next waves of disruption. To act on this, executives can hold an offsite with their teams every 18 months to discuss fresh strategic priorities as if starting new roles.

This allows examining emerging trends with beginner’s eyes while bringing finality to outdated priorities that no longer warrant attention. Alternatively, individuals can privately visualize resigning and rehiring themselves into their current jobs.

This reset challenges assumptions, sparks new ideas and wards off complacency.

Make your personal purpose to be useful to others

Leaders should adopt a personal sense of purpose centered around being useful to others.

This matters because it combats the tendency to focus excessively on oneself that comes with senior status and power.

To act on this, executives can begin each day by consciously intending to contribute value through their interactions. They can also reflect on occasions where they supported teammates during difficulties as reminders of their purpose.

Orienting oneself as a servant leader guides decisions and behaviors in a manner that earns reciprocal loyalty and respect.

Double down when facing backlash for taking a stand

Brands should not retreat from socially conscious positioning that draws criticism, but rather double down on their conviction.

This matters because social media outrage often misrepresents the silent majority, while wavering commitment can devalue meaning. To implement this, leadership should confirm the campaign aligns with the brand purpose and has substantive consumer insight.

If confident despite the vocal minority blowback, brands can expand PR outreach to explain intentions and underscore their perspective.

Staying the course reinforces authenticity while allowing constructive dialogue, whereas abandoning earnest efforts reaffirms status quo complacency and marginalization.

Grow markets through innovation and creativity rather than stealing share

Brands should focus innovation and marketing on expanding the overall consumer base rather than battling for category share.

This matters because growing the pie for all players drives economic upside for the brand, partners and broader community alike. To implement this, brands should size the full addressable market across unmet consumer needs or usage occasions not yet captured.

Then creatively develop superior product propositions tailored to incremental audiences through unique formats, formulas or messaging approaches that bring new value.

This expands relevance without resorting to zero-sum competitive attacks, enabling win-wins with partners, social impact and financial returns.

Ensure accurate portrayal of diversity in brand advertising

Brands should proactively guarantee their advertising features diversity reflective of their actual customers and markets.

This matters because biased portrayals cultivate stereotypes that influence self-perceptions and real-world interactions.

To implement this, audit current creative assets across dimensions like race, gender, age and ability to quantify representation gaps. Then set clear guidelines and talent sourcing strategies to achieve accurate, inclusive depictions going forward.

Pursuing authentic visibility accelerates belonging among marginalized groups, builds consumer trust through recognition and future-proofs brand relevance.

Take a stand on social issues relevant to your brand

Brands should selectively advocate around social causes intrinsically connected to what they stand for.

This matters because consumers increasingly expect values-alignment and are buying purpose.

To implement this, identify 3-5 societal issues tied directly to your brand essence and business operations. Then develop creative campaigns that shine a spotlight on those issues in need of attention, backed by substantive action.

This elevates the conversation while strengthening affinity among purpose-driven segments, provided the brand authentically lives those values in practice.

Spend time understanding consumers and their needs

Brands should invest heavily in consumer research to uncover functional, emotional and emerging needs.

This matters because deeply understanding your customers enables creating products and messages that inherently resonate with motivations.

To implement this, incorporate ethnography, surveys, online listening and connected device monitoring to reveal unmet needs. Also directly engage diverse consumers to identify barriers to adoption or consumption.

These insights allow identifying the jobs to be done and problems to solve that if addressed through innovation can drive growth by capturing incremental use occasions.

Marc Pritchard, Procter Gamble Interviews