Published: 30th May 2011
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Social Media Strategy and Branding: How Proctor and Gamble Created a Brand for Tide in India

Proctor and Gamble has created a strong brand for Tide in India through positioning, branding, and differentiation. How was this done? The first thing P&G had to do was to reposition itself and its product in the Indian market place. For many years P&G has been an icon of American business in American markets. Proctor and Gamble's domestic markets have stablized. They realize that if the company is going to have continued growth, it is going to have to develop new markets, in emerging markets, that donít have large financial or infrastructural resources.

A.G. Lafley, the C.E.O, realized that he needed growth between 4 to 6% each year. This would be the equivalent to building a $4 billion business each year. To get this kind of growth, the CEO realized that he needed to move into emerging markets. The problem was that these markets donít have the money or the physical infrastructure for his products. He decided to create a brand by engaging the people of India in the creation of products designed especially for them. This is how a brand is created in the New Media Age. To create a brand in the social media era, a product has to be repositioned, branded, positioned, and differentiated. To do this, customers and brands have to become "friends" and there must one-on-one engagement.

To create new products, the CEO dispatched a product development team to India to create a clothes detergent. In India, housewives prided themselves on freshly washed white clothes. The companyís American detergent had won awards for its whiteness of wash.

He dispatched product teams to closely observe and communicate with Indian housewives in how they did their wash. This intense engagement allowed his team to make three important observations.

Whiteness is important in India. However, there was a shortage of water in India. For wash to be successful, Tide brand needed large amounts warm water. Warm water was a premium in India. To create a brand for India, a specialized product would have to be developed.

Proctor and Gamble has great research resources. The chemists created a detergent that produced the best white, but needed only a small amount of cold water to create the cleaning white effect.Proctor and Gamble branded Tide as creating the whitest wash. They positioned the product as being the easiest to use.

Their differentiation was significant. Water is a priceless commodity in India. Many American companies, most prominently soda companies, were insensitive to Indian concerns and limitations. Because of this, American companies did not have a strong brand in India. American companies had a history of insensitivity to Indian attitudes regarding water use. The American use of water caused a great deal of conflict within the country. To create a brand, the American consumer products company had to work closely with Indian users. They also had to be seen as working closely with this market.

By doing this, the company differentiated themselves by being a friend. Not just a friend but a very concerned friend. Indian consumers now had a choice for a detergent that produced the best white, used little water, and was made by a company that really cared about them. Through engagement, a strong brand was created. A quick, fast changing market allowed this company to create a highly differentiated product. Tide is today one of the leading wash brands in India.

Dean Hambleton

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