Bill Virgin, Seattle PI

To the nature of shifting marketing, to marketing environments…I’d offer this:

We tend to visualize the shifting of messages, for businesses, as a tuning of the story. So if there’s the implication that a brand, for example, has a story that is at the heart of it, then the “listening” offering of this story might be evolved to speak to the cultures connected to the proposition.

For P&G, for Camay, we worked on creating a global brand development proposition, that predominantly linked to areas “outside” the US.

There was a story that emerged in the positioning – what we heard from women, worldwide. Their relationship to this product (which was obviously livelier than what we knew the relationship was in the States) was that this product gave them a sense of power, of control, of mystery – that in their leadership of these roles: for their lovers, the men in their lives, the family, this was something special for them – something to hold to. It was a truth.

The campaign that was built was all about “the scent of a woman”, the mystery there – a quality of remoteness. Her control of her life, her control of “the men”. There is something to the archetypal character of this – that is, the women as something powerful, remote, unreachable, perhaps even in deeper psychological constructs. And we found, in testing, that this was a resonant thread. In responding to this, for this product, which had a insertion sales production in about 80 countries.

But you can’t build out this story in North Africa, the same as you might in South East Asia, or Eastern Europe, or Latin America. So our story shifted – same visuals, different woman, matching use of flower imagery, same packaging and merchandising – but a tuning of the story; it flamed up in Latin America, spoke to strength in North Africa and India, seductive mystery and power in Eastern Europe…

So the hit is that while the base story – from a marketing positioning, the PowerPoint or heart of the brand is the same – the “tuning” of it shifts and evolves, so the listening is relevant to the audience spoken to.