Julie Roehm | Marketing + Strategy

Fearless in the face of marketing complexity

Category: Articles

“Thanks Mom!” – Procter & Gamble Co.

“Yours is the reflection I wish to see when I look into the mirror”

When I saw P&G’s “Thank you moms” campaign and I realized that an artist does not become an artist only by years of practice he becomes one the day his mother praises his work as a child; an athlete does not excel at sport only because he works hard, but also because his mother was always there on the finish line with the belief that her child could do it ; a writer does not become a story teller only by painting the imagination with words, he becomes one the day his mother told him his first bedtime story. We learned to stand up after every fall because our mothers were there to pick us up.

That’s the near-universal story Procter & Gamble revealed to the world in 2010; all that we are or all that we’ll ever be is because of our mothers. Thank you moms, for picking us when we fell and for always telling us to be strong.

Thank You Mom” campaign was not the result of strategy or creativity but of opportunity.

In 2009 P&G learned that it could avail the chance of a sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2010 Winter Games. Kirk Perry, then P&G’s top North American marketing executive and now a top Google sales executive commented that the team had to come up with an arresting idea over the weekend, they had to act fast because rival, Johnson and Johnson had caught all the sponsorship opportunities in the years before.

Common factor for a host of brands that ranges from Pampers diapers to and Olay skincare is Mothers. Moms were the primary consumer target thus the campaign was decided to be focused on mothers.   The company made the decision on that weekend, and in less than a year the program was being implemented.

Procter & Gamble thanks moms

Not thanked: Dads

Due to time shortage, P&G Global Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard decided to put out a challenge for which Wieden & Kennedy returned with the winning ideas, thus signing a major assignment and handling the corporate brand’s first global effort behind “Thank You Mom” campaign during the Vancouver Winter Games.

This campaign became popular with its “Raising an Olympian” video series and “Best Job” short film.

Those videos became a series of award-winning ads in an unprecedented ever-growing program starting with an 18-brand effort P&G planned on a really short notice for 2010.

We found a lot of times that when people know a brand is from P&G they feel better about the brand. And when they know P&G has all these brands, they feel better about P&G.”- Mr.Pritchard

Impact of this speed dialed global campaign :

1)“Thank You Mom” added an incremental $500 million to P&G sales during the 2012 London Olympics

2) Won creative awards which included Gold Effie and the top 2013 Advertising Research Foundation Ogilvy Award for a research effort that used response to Wieden’s viral videos to help dictate rotation and weight of the TV advertising. P&G research has show that the campaign constantly built the company’s brand awareness and equity scores.

3)P&G and Wieden had the top four best-scoring ads for effectiveness from the 2014 games, with more than 25 million YouTube views between Feb. 7 and 10, 2014, it had quadrupled the number of the next six Olympic sponsors combined, including Visa and Samsung.

The Thanks Mom story did an elegant job of merging the Olympics, mothers (who buy lots of P&G products), and the umbrella brand that ties together their diverse products. The core of the campaign is the stories of the moms themselves, an elegant application of listening to customers and incorporating their stories in a B2C context.

DeBeers makes diamonds non-optional

“A Diamond is Forever

One of the more memorable slogans of twentieth century advertising, the statement which defined dreams: “A Diamond is Forever”.

De Beers started this campaign by presenting the idea that a diamond ring is a necessary luxury. Diamonds are not inherently especially rare or valuable by most measures. DeBeers used marketing and control over distribution to change diamonds into the ultimate expression of rare beauty and value.

N.W. Ayer created a situation where almost every person about to say their marriage vows would feel compelled to get a diamond engagement ring.

It’s an ingenious marketing technique. Ayer built his company from ground up with just a vision. He knew how to make an inexpensive object a psychological need and then manipulated the corresponding factors in his favor.

In the 20th century there were only 10% engagement rings which supported a diamond. Diamonds did not used to be such unattainable “stone of dreams”. They were relatively inexpensive, difficult to mine hence had little market supply resulting in low demand.

What Ayer did was he first monopolized the price of diamonds by buying coal mines during the time of economic turmoil, and maintained their supply in market. Then the important factor was of getting an ad agency. Since the country was already under the threat of war so Ayer looked for the country or countries where it was possible to sell his vision of the diamonds. Once he had found his target market he hired ad agency to help make the product a necessity in the minds of people. Thus emerged the slogan “Diamonds are forever”

Through advertising and maintaining the demand and supply of diamonds in his chosen market he built the ‘DeBeers diamonds’ which increased the sales of diamonds by 55% from 1938 to 1941 in the US.

Today a wedding is considered incomplete without a diamond ring!

3 pillars of customer centricity

Julie Roehm Cutomer Edge Article

I was recently invited to write an article for The Customer Edge. Here it is, presented in it’s entirety:

In today’s business world where the customer reigns supreme, we hear lots of talk about the importance of becoming customer-centric organizations. But many companies struggle to bring this to fruition. And for good reason. Responding adeptly to each unique customer journey is no small feat. Yet it’s nonnegotiable for companies that want to effectively attract, engage, and retain customers – and rise to the top of their industry.

At SAP, we are so convinced of the value and power of customer centricity that we partnered with the CMO Council to expose the gap between the vision and the reality. The outcome is a 72-page report that summarizes our survey of 319 marketing executives across B2C and B2B brands. In it, we reveal why organizations are struggling to achieve adaptive customer engagements.
For a summary of the biggest hurdles facing marketers, check out “Why Aren’t Marketers Accomplishing Customer Centricity?” If you want a deep understanding of those challenges, give the full report a read.

Here at SAP, we truly get how hard it is to pull all this together. We see our customers grapple with these challenges. And we take those challenges head-on in our own organization. While we can never claim that we’ve fully mastered customer engagements, we have made amazing headway in a relatively short time. And we’ve done that by embracing the three key attributes of a customer-centric organization:
•    Executive support
•    Alignment across the organization
•    Customer-centered corporate culture


Senior management centered on the customer
Bill McDermott, our CEO, believes in putting the customer first. As our leader, Bill understands the imperative to tell our story through our customers’ eyes. He’s also committed to helping every company, including SAP, to Run Simple. As a result, our customers are doing amazing things on a more frequent basis.
It’s obvious that Bill embraces the customer-first principle because he has dedicated resources to transforming this idea into a formal initiative and program. While there are literally dozens of examples, the one nearest and dearest to me was his creation of the position of “chief storyteller.” By doing this, he gave me the job of shining a light on our customers’ successes – and on their customers’ successes. That’s a far more interesting and powerful way to demonstrate the true value of what SAP brings to the table than beating our chests and declaring our supremacy.
Cross-functional alignment around the customer
While the fact that Bill is spearheading a customer-first approach is critical, it’s equally important that the rest of the company’s leadership and their teams climb on board. We all know a leader can set the tone, but it’s the everyday workers who execute on the vision. Bill has done great work rallying his leadership team. And what could be a better illustration of that than the fact that our marketing and sales teams have partnered in telling our customer stories? Yes, we’ve helped close the great sales and marketing gap to take a cross-functional approach to delivering and speaking to the customer experience.
I’m not trying to sugarcoat this and claim that it’s been a breeze. But if you believe you’re part of One Team, you have to trust your teammates. So we have developed cooperation and trust between sales and marketing. Sales has bought into marketing’s going forward with customer-centric stories and experiences, and we in marketing are committed to delivering on that as our part of the bargain. In turn, we trust sales to hold up its end of the bargain by keeping the focus on the customer instead of on SAP.
Customer-first corporate culture
Bill’s leadership and the marketing-sales alignment are both signals that SAP is walking the walk, that SAP is building a customer-centric culture. But I can share even more examples. Our corporate portfolio marketing team has developed the corporate story, which we weave into all our external events, our thought leadership efforts, and our sound bites. And the “red thread” throughout the storyline all comes back to the needs, successes, and experiences of our customers.
We are also relaunching some amazing SAP Executive Briefing Centers around the globe. Again, marketing is working hand in hand with sales to create something truly experiential for our customers. Instead of customers sitting in the briefing center watching a PowerPoint presentation, we are designating our briefing centers to be more immersive, interactive – and fun. Interactive touch-screen walls allow participants to immerse themselves in the experiences of our customers using SAP technologies to better serve their customers.
For example, in our London experience center, customers enter a glass room with an authentic Formula 1 racing car backed by an interactive screen. In essence, we show how the McLaren Formula 1 team uses the SAP HANA platform to evaluate billions of data points in real time. As a result, the pit crew can make the optimal decisions to help get their team’s race car to the finish line first. But that’s not all – we then let our customers “race” to see how they stack up against a professional McLaren race car driver. This lets them see what’s possible in a fun way. But it’s not all fun and games – we find that these immersive, interactive environments open our customers’ minds to what is possible. And they drive deeper conversations and collaboration.
We’ve also built a design thinking room featuring iPads and walls of interactive touch screens. Here, our customers can draw on the iPad and, with the touch of a button, share their drawings on the interactive screen. They can then move elements around on the walls. This lets our customers get creative in the way that works best for them and creates a co-innovation environment where we work to craft customized solutions. Participants find this stimulating and inspiring, allowing them to do what was traditionally done in a design thinking session in a more experiential fashion.
What is your organization doing to become customer-centric? Where are you succeeding, and where are you falling short?