Ex Procter & Gamble’s marketing guru Jim Stengel on building a brand

Jim Stengel was a high-flying US global marketing officer at brand owner Procter & Gamble with an $8billion advertising budget when he quit to help other people build their brands.

On leaving P&G in 2008 he worked hard to finish his book Grow: How Ideals Power Growth And Profit At The World’s 50 Greatest Companies, which became a business bestseller.

Stengel has always taken a scientific approach to branding and is aware that many of today’s businesses are so obsessed with digital that they struggle to appreciate the ongoing importance of traditional channels such as TV and direct mail.

“We are beyond thinking of traditional and digital, much like we are beyond having special organisations within brands devoted to digital,” says Stengel. “No type of media is dead. Radio and out-of-home are great for a local message and TV is a wonderful storytelling vehicle. It can be used to tell the story of your brand in an entertaining, purposeful and heartfelt way.”

In his book Stengel reveals how the highest-performing businesses harness the power of a “brand ideal” to beat their competitors. This “ideal” involves ensuring the brand links its financial performance with improving the lives of the people it serves, including employees as well as customers.

“Traditional marketing is defined as deeply understanding your customers and then continually delighting them,” he says. “Any media or communication will be misguided if the fundamentals of great marketing are not in place.”

Stengel adds that the biggest change today in the pre-digital marketing landscape is the leverage and importance of customer advocacy. “This gets amplified very quickly through social channels, bringing scale to the best marketing – which is word of mouth,” he says.