Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s most well-known consumer goods companies, has had a significant presence at CES for the past four years. That’s because technology is now part of most products and services: e-commerce, connected devices, smart self-monitoring tools, new forms of digital marketing and educational platforms and video games are increasingly converging when it comes to content and commerce. Even laundry detergent, toothbrushes, and razors became “technical” and entertaining.
Achieving Procter & Gamble’s priorities increasingly involves integrating new technologies and partnering with technology companies. For P&G, CES is an opportunity to showcase new developments in its products that use technology, discover new opportunities and potential partnerships, and attract new ideas and emerging talent through the P&G Ventures program.
Earlier this week, P&G held a virtual CES 2022 press conference inside its virtual LifeLab, which debuted last year and allows people to create avatars to attend meetings, play games, and learn about the company’s products and sustainability efforts. In a presentation inside LifeLab, Mark Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Branding Officer, outlined the company’s focus on sustainability and innovation.
This year, Procter & Gamble has taken the LifeLab metaverse to the next level. In an interview this week with Forbes CMO Network Editor Marty Swant, Pritchard said virtualization allows people to “experience with a lot of depth and actually reach a lot of people.”
“What will be interesting over the course of the future is how people will be able to get as close as possible or create a new non-physical but different experience,” Pritchard said.
The LifeLab metaverse is a great tool for explaining sustainability issues and initiatives to journalists, retailers and consumers. However, it also has the potential to engage young people in particular and has tremendous application in schools and universities for a wide range of subjects including chemistry, biology, health, gardening, geography, climate science, inclusive design, materials engineering and sustainability. Business.
In 2018, ANA (Association of National Advertisers) named Brand Purpose “Duration of the Year”. Since then, brands around the world have taken the leap to sustainability as a key manifestation of the brand’s purpose due to raising awareness of the urgency to help the environment, and highlighting the need for greater equality and inclusion.
Sustainability transformation within an organization is similar to digital transformation in that it was initially a silo within companies, and now it is integrated into every aspect of business across all functions. For the best practitioners, it has become a new awareness and way of thinking.
How Procter & Gamble Approaches Sustainability and Innovation in Marketing:
As I spoke with Mark Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, and took him on a tour of the company’s incredible LifeLab, I was particularly inspired by the myriad exciting ways P&G is pioneering sustainability. The initiatives are great for companies looking to accelerate their sustainability efforts.
For example, P&G is working with NASA and the International Space Station to solve the problem of washing clothes in a water-limited environment, such as on deep space missions. The learning is directly applicable to the water-limited regions of the world. By 2025, it is estimated that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed environments. Tide Infinity, a fully biodegradable cleaner designed for use in space to solve odor, cleanliness and stain removal issues, is tested on NASA space missions to ensure it is suitable for use in a closed-loop water system.
Dawn Platinum Powerwash and Cascade Platinum remove food particles using enzymes that require less water. ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers that use Cascade use less than four gallons of water for the entire cycle, versus manual dishwashers that use four gallons every two minutes. Tide Coldwater and Ariel in Europe save up to 90% of the energy to heat water for washing clothes using special enzymes to get rid of dirt.
Another example of product innovation is EC30 (Enlightened Clean), a technology that uses tiny fiber pads that dissolve with a little water and can replace body wash, hand wash, shampoo, laundry detergent and toilet cleaner. Removing water and reducing weight reduces the carbon footprint of shipping, and packaging is recycled from cardboard instead of plastic.
Besides making its own changes to packaging, P&G is also implementing ways to help people recycle better themselves to promote easier, faster and more efficient recycling systems. In partnership with Holy Grail, P&G has implemented a filling system that uses digital watermarks on each item, such as QR codes, to efficiently sort packages by material type at recycling stations.
At CES 2022, P&G also announced updates to the company’s personal care products to help with sustainability and reduce waste. Herbal Essences, Head & Shoulders, Pantene, and Aussie shampoos and conditioners have launched a system with 100% refillable aluminum bottles and recyclable bags that use 60% less plastic.
For its Venus brand, P&G partners with the environmental charity, Ocean Generation, to support education and awareness about how people can help protect oceans and waterways. (The Venus Deluxe Smooth Deep Blue razor features a handle made of 40% post-consumer bonded plastic.) Another example of a sustainable product is Oral-B’s Clic Toothbrush: Only brush heads are replaced, materials are reduced, and the lifespan of the handle is extended.
How immersive digital marketing can promote types of storytelling
Under the virtual LifeLab Beauty Sphere and Responsible Beauty initiative, Herbal Essences is partnering with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the UK. Kew certifies the botanicals used in the products and advises development teams on the botanical properties relevant to hair health care. Herbal Essences is incorporating more and more natural ingredients into their products.
Along the virtual path of the botanical garden, visitors learn about different plants and their benefits and gather botanical ingredients. Every time 5 are collected, Procter & Gamble plants a tree to restore the forest. They have also partnered with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to help save 20 endangered plant species in the United States from extinction, in an effort to highlight the issue of plant biodiversity loss.
P&G also helped form the 50L Home Coalition, bringing together companies like Kohler and Electrolux to think big about how to tackle the urban water crisis. The 50 liter house imagines a future where the average family, instead of using 150-500 liters of water per day, can manage well using only 50 liters. Water is provided throughout the house in cleaning floors, washing dishes, showering, showering, and recycling wash water for toilets.
The LifeLab also enables visitors to explore and learn about forests and what responsible tree growth and use look like including: certification by the Forest Stewardship Council® to ensure protection of wildlife and local communities, replanting two trees for every tree used, and partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to fund Forest regeneration in areas devastated by natural disasters such as wildfires.
Education through games and influencers
P&G is also experimenting with games as a way to educate people about oral health. According to the World Health Organization, oral diseases affect approximately 3.5 billion people. More than 530 million children suffer from tooth decay, and most oral health problems are preventable. To make learning oral hygiene more fun and engaging, Oral-B and Crest launched “Attack of the Cavity Creeps,” an immersive video game based on a popular advertising campaign from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
With 80 million fans, the NFL is a huge influencer. Across all of its teams, the NFL launders nearly a million pounds each year. Switching from a hot wash to a cold wash saves approximately 90% of the energy required for each load. If a part of the players and fans start using cold water to wash their clothes, the total energy savings will be huge. Tide’s “Cold Callers” ad campaign with Ice-T and “Cold Stone” Steve Austin and Matty Ice challenges users to try washing their cold clothes.
Laundry detergents from Tide and Ariel have collaborated to produce short and feature documentaries with National Geographic to raise awareness about the lack of clean drinking water around the world and encourage energy conservation through washing cold clothes. Procter & Gamble provides water purification packages to communities in need worldwide through the nonprofit Safe Drinking Water for Children Program.
Learning from P&G’s sustainability initiatives
Sustainability opportunities can be found everywhere: in manufacturing, supply chains, materials, packaging, marketing and consumer education.
To move quickly and maximize possibilities, partnering with complementary companies, suppliers, academics, scientists, start-ups, and nonprofits is essential.
Good metrics are needed to estimate impacts, prioritize, measure performance, and adjust accordingly.
Contributors to sustainability success include:
- Originality, transparency and honesty on the part of the company
- Brand relevance (the sustainable innovation logically associated with the brand)
- Partnerships that increase awareness, credibility and reach of the effort
- Having a wow factor makes sustainable innovation worth talking about and sharing with consumers, influencers and the media