Best Brands Built on Ideals

Business lessons sometimes come in strange packages.

By Bill Merrick

Great brands and businesses aspire to change peoples’ lives—and they benefit financially by doing so.

That’s the lesson author and speaker Jim Stengel imparted Monday during the 20th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

The former global marketing officer for Procter & Gamble (P&G) confirmed this premise when writing the book that would become the best-selling “Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies.”

Stengel recalled working on the troubled Pampers line of diapers which, during the ‘90s was the company’s “biggest problem,” he says, due to poor branding.

“All we measured or advertised was dryness, and we were losing badly,” he says. “What we stood for was important, but not good enough.”

When a team of P&G employees approached Stengel about changing the brand’s focus to one of an advocate for babies, Stengel approached senior management—some of whom promptly pooh-poohed the idea.

“That was a radical thought at the time,” he says, recalling how he was “kicked out of the room” when he suggested the idea. “The initial response was, ‘how do we measure that?’”

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