Proctor and Gamble is a Fortune 500 multinational corporation producing consumer goods. The headquarters are in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. It is the 8th largest corporation in the world in terms of its market capitalisation and its market capitalisation is greater than the GDP of many countries. The company has operations in more than 180 countries and is serving nearly 4 billion consumers.
As per the table of 20 Largest US Companies, P&G has a market capitalisation worth $180 billion and has the strongest portfolio of brands. These 43 brands account for 85% of sales and more than 90% of profit. P&G is certainly one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Corporate image is the perception of the company which exists in the minds of its publics and how they view it. Corporate image changes from person to person and from time to time.
Consumers: For consumers, P&G stand for quality and value for money. P&G has always put consumer at the centre and has always evolved itself with their demands. As a corporate, it supports events and programs through sponsorships to ensure greater visibility and also gives its consumers opportunities to become a part of their growth. For example, P&G sponsored Allstate Gospel music Super fest, US Olympic team and the launch of Brighten Bay Idol, an online talent search for the next bright star.
Suppliers: P&G has nearly 80,000 suppliers across the globe and it sends across their message by recognising their contribution in the company’s success through award ceremonies. This way supplier feels a part of P&G’s growth and it makes the bond stronger. For example, P&G’s Global Business Development Dinner awards Procter & Gamble Company hosted over 50 external companies in Nov09 to acknowledge and celebrate successful external partnerships with P&G's Global Business Development Organization. A separate web page has been created on the website to cater to the information needs of potential and current suppliers.
Communities: P&G is actively engaged in community’s welfare activities. For example, recently P&G made huge contributions for Haiti earthquake victims. Initiatives such as Children’s Safe Drinking Water and Pampers 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine are examples of how P&G is improving the lives of millions of people every day. Therefore, communities see P&G as responsible and committed organisation.
Investors: The Company has been paying dividends without interruption since incorporation in 1890 and the company's dividends have also increased every year - more than 9 percent a year on average, over the past 53 years. The company’s website has a special category called investor relations and it contains all relevant and updated information for investors. The aim is to keep the investors well informed on the achievements and strategies of P&G and also to attract potential investors and encourage them to invest. The investors can also subscribe to press releases and events news on the website.
Media: The website is quite media friendly has a media section which comprises of latest press releases, media kit with product images and logos to download, quick facts about the company and list of media contacts. The journalists can also sign up to receive timely news updates. Through these tactics, P&G conveys a message that they are friendly, approachable and pro-active.
Government: P&G works closely with government regulators to ensure that products meet stringent safety and efficacy criteria.
Organisational reputation is when an individual collates all the photographs or images taken over a period of time into an album and forms an opinion of the organisation by looking at the entire collection of photographs. Therefore, since its inception P&G has successfully managed to establish its reputation as a leader.
Leadership: Nearly a half-million people apply for P&G jobs every year. They hire less than 1% and attract top talent because of P&G’s reputation as a great company for leaders. So, we can say that P&G has established itself as a pioneer in consumer goods.
Respectable: They are respectable because they show respect for all individuals It ranked 3rd on the world’s most respected companies list compiled by Barron magazine.
Diverse: Diversity & Inclusion is deeply rooted in our company’s Purpose, Values & Principles. P&G brings together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and thinking styles providing remarkably different talents, perspectives, and life and career experiences. They all work for a shared purpose together in the most diverse environment representing 140 nationalities. The mission of Diversity & Inclusion at P&G is:
Everyone Valued, Everyone Included, Everyone Performing at Their Peak™. For example, it was named top 50 companies for diversity in 2009.
Innovative: P&G has constantly evolved itself with changing times. One of P&G’s strategies is to shape the future by working transparently with stakeholders to enable continued freedom to innovate in a responsible way. It ranked 12 among world’s most innovative companies as per Business week.
Socially responsible: P&G is deeply committed to improve children’s lives through their socially responsibility programs. For example, through their Learn Live and Thrive initiative, they have reached 135 million children since July 2007. They aim to deliver an additional 20% reduction (per unit production) in CO2 emissions, energy consumption, water consumption and disposed waste from P&G plants, leading to a total reduction over the decade of at least 50%.
Corporate Identity: Corporate Identity is what the organisation communicates via various cues. Olins (1999) specifies three categories to encapsulate different structures of identity: monolithic – where one name and visual identity are used throughout (IBM), endorsed- where an organisation has a group of activities or subsidiaries which it endorses with the same name and identity (Chanel) and branded- where an organisation operates through a series of brands which may be unrelated (Procter & Gamble). According to Van Riel (1995), corporate identity mix includes symbolism, communication and behaviour. Symbolism includes symbols like company’s logo, type face, font, colour, building, stationary, visiting cards etc. through which an organisation consciously or unconsciously sends a message.
For example, P&G changed its logo when its publics started linking it to devil. They thought that the 13 stars represent the original 13 colonies of the US and that the satanic number 666 is hidden in the curly beard. Finally, in 1990s, P&G changed its logo to a wordmark using just P&G. This changed helped P&G in building its brand. The P&G logo and brand name today are far stronger than the old name and logo were. The Procter & Gamble logo was designed in 1991 by Lipson Alport Glass & Associates. The colour is blue which symbolizes trust, loyalty, integrity and power. Procter & Gamble uses the typefaces Franklin Gothic and Times New Roman.
Communication involves how P&G communicates with its stakeholders, for example, through advertising, public relations, marketing and other information sources like websites and new media. Behaviour means how P&G deals with its stakeholders like employees, suppliers, and customers etc.
Brand personality: is the expression of the core values & characteristics of a brand. Corporate personality is made up of the organisation’s history, culture, values and beliefs as realised through its staff, structure systems, its products and or services. Bernstein talks about stakeholders experiences of an organisation building into a mosaic ‘the picture is that of an individual, a corporate portrait of a “Mr. Cadbury’ or Mr Shell or Ms Avon. Olins links the notion of corporate personality to an actual human personality.
Olins links the notion of corporate personality to an actual human personality. If P&G was a person, how would you describe it? This brand personality helps P&G to differentiate itself and thus gain a competitive advantage. As public relations professionals it becomes imperative for us to understand the brand’s personality since this will help us in taking intelligent decisions, for example, choosing the right celebrity for the brand who compliments the brand’s personality which P&G has done quite successfully.
The reason why I picked up this brand is that it is a great example which highlights that the corporate identity task is to manage the multiplicity rather than suppress it. Though P&G has a very distinct division between the brands versus Procter & Gamble as an organisation but its images are consistent, not with each other, but with the organisation central values which includes leadership, reliability, innovation and quality.
References: Exploring Public Relations, Ralph Tench and Liz Yeomans, 2009 and Alison Theaker, The Public Relations Handbook, 2008