Last June, Procter and Gamble launched the “New Brave” campaign for Always Arabia. The content-driven piece, meant to celebrate the resilience of women during these challenging times, is in line with the P&G’s focus on positioning itself as a force for good. Deepa Vaidyanathan, Head of Communications – IMEA at Procter and Gamble, tells Communicate about how the company views women in the region and beyond.
Today’s consumers in the region are informed, tech-savvy and increasingly interested in a brand’s values and moral standing. How do P&G, and Always in particular, look at this evolution?
Brand authenticity has never been more crucial to a business’ success, especially when more than 60% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference. P&G as a company believes in being a force for good and a force for growth. Likewise, Always is a brand that cares deeply about being a force for female good. Our audience has naturally evolved into one that has more power than any generation in modern history to improve our world for the better, and we embrace this evolution through our brands’ commitments to the greater good.
What has this evolution translated into in terms of communication strategies for Always? What new challenges does it present and what solutions have you adopted?
Always has always focused not only on how its products benefit consumers, but also how they benefit society. Being a force for good is a philosophy that pushes us year after year to build strong relationships with our consumers through a set of shared values. Always pledges to enable women to realize their full potential throughout their womanhood journey.
An example is our long-standing Keeping Girls in School program that we run across Asia Pacific Middle East and Africa. In many communities across the world, the stigmas and taboos around menstruation lead to many girls not receiving information about puberty and often being unprepared when they have their first period. In addition to that, girls who grow up in poverty often cannot afford period protection, which means that they don’t fully participate in school, sports or social life when they have their periods. All these issues can lead to increased school absenteeism, and for some girls even dropping out altogether. We believe strongly that education is the first stepping stone to equal opportunity. Our Always Keeping Girls in School program provides puberty education and free pads with the intent to reduce the dropout rates of secondary school girls.
In the Middle East, our campaigns like Always “Girls Can” a few years ago and Always “Saudi Generation of Firsts,” plus our recent Always #TheNewBrave, are examples of how we seek to celebrate women and shine the spotlight on their accomplishments.
In that context, how have you addressed the Covid-9 crisis? How was the “New Brave” campaign developed?
As a company, we launched [the] “P&G Protect our Heroes” Mission, which is a series of holistic, inclusive and far-reaching initiatives aimed at protecting the everyday heroes across this region, providing support for communities, relief agencies, and their employees. We deem every one of our consumers and partners to be heroes for having to make abrupt adjustments to their everyday lives, and that is why P&G is stepping up and serving as a force for good. We adjusted our manufacturing muscles so we could expand and produce essential safety items such as masks and sanitizers, and as part of our initiative are donating over two million masks and 200,000 sanitizers to support the effort against Covid-19 in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
We have recognized that 75% of frontline workers are women and as Always, we have been supporting frontliners with our products; we have donated over three million pads across Asia Pacific Middle East Africa and approximately 1.1 million in the MENA region.
The “New Brave” is a campaign that was formed through our communication across the region with consumers, NGOs, and other stakeholders, where we began to notice trends that were unprecedented – new tensions and pressure on females that had never been explored before. Women are the first responders, whether at home or in the hospital. They’ve learnt new skills, juggling between work and home with courage and determination. Women, as always, have stepped up, been a force to be reckoned with during this pandemic. Always is using its voice to celebrate women’s bravery and recognize that these challenging times have only made women stronger. The definition of brave has changed. Women everywhere across Asia, Middle East & Africa, and the rest of the world are the #NewBrave.