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Brands should have a purpose and must take stand on social issues, says P&G’s Marc Pritchard

On the second day of the event, the Chief Brand Officer of P&G highlighted how brands can help tackle the three major problems in business — gender equality, sustainability and technology. He said brands must use cutting-edge tech to improve everyday life of people

Marc Pritchard

Brands must align themselves with a purpose and should also take stand on social issues, said Marc Pritchard, Global Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble. “People expect much more from brands. They want brands to take a stand on the social issues,” he said.

“There is a need for brands to align themselves with a purpose,” he said and emphasised on living the purpose and not just talk about it.

On Day 2 of the IAA World Congress being held in Kochi, Pritchard started his session with an interesting proposition of ‘What if a brand could be a force for good and a force for growth’.

He pointed out three major problems faced in the business diaspora; gender equality, sustainability and technology.

“Gender equality is not equal and the gap is more pronounced for women with colour, LGBT category and with physical challenge,” Pritchard said. In the advertising industry, 29% of women are still inaccurately or negatively portrayed.

He added that nine out of 10 consumers want brands to live with their values.

In sustainability, there is a difference between what people say and do. “67% of the population talks about sustainability but only 30% of them actually act on it,” said Pritchard. Sustainable goals are equally good for the growth of the brands.

Advertising affects our language. What if brands improve society by promoting gender equality? Brands are still using women as inaccurately or negatively, 29% of the time. “We have to eliminate such stereotypes, change attitudes and drive growth,” he suggested.

“What if brands could help the environment by driving sustainable behaviour? What if brands can make products that our sensitive to these issues,” he asked.  He spoke about how P&G is doing its bit by using technology to work on a product that can eliminate need of water in cleaning.

“I urge to reduce, renew and recycle water, energy and waste. It will be nice if all brands can come together. My call of action is to all brands to join to achieve this,” he said.

Discussing about technology, he said that digital advertising has changed the face of advertising. E-commerce is growing, new brands are bypassing media networks.

Pervasive data, analytics and tech is changing everything. Things like block chain, AR, VR and AI are affecting all aspects of daily life.

“I would like to pivot and use technology, go beyond and reinvent and see if brands can use cutting edge technology to improve everyday life,” he added.

It is required to be careful of unbridled growth of technology on security and privacy — brands and advertising cannot let this happen. “We have to get ahead of next gen technology, and hence we should unite as an industry and take action for technology for good,” he said.

There is a need to set standards of ethical use of machine learning and his call of action is to put standard and policies in place so that tech is used for good.

Pritchard mentioned that if all these are done well, and together, collectively we can have power full impact. “This will require for all the brands to step up and become a force for good,” he ended.

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