Written by Alicia Gorken, P&G Australia New Zealand, Corporate Communications Manager
Most marketing people think of innovation as being a new product or a new technology. At P&G, innovation goes much further than that. According to Maile Carnegie, Managing Director of P&G Australia and New Zealand, innovation is an everyday practice in the organisation responsible for many of Australia and New Zealand’s favourite brands including Gillette, Pantene, Oral-B, Braun, Olay, Vicks, Max Factor, Covergirl, Wella, Iams and Head & Shoulders.
“Innovation is integrated into everything we do. It’s what drives us as a business and lies behind our desire to improve the lives of consumers with brands and products that make everyday tasks a little easier and more enjoyable.”
Carnegie, who has been at the helm of one of Australia’s largest FMCG companies for just over 12 months, learned the importance of innovation when she joined P&G nearly 20 years ago as an assistant brand manager working on brands like Olay and Tampax.
“Innovation is what drives us as a business. It is embedded in our approach to brand marketing, shopper marketing, our business models, our supply chain, our sustainability strategies and even our approach to employee relations,” she explains.
P&G spends over $2 billion a year globally on product innovation alone which is significantly more than any other company in the same industry. According to Carnegie, the focus is making everyday tasks like shaving, washing the dishes, cleaning your teeth or caring for your hair a little easier and more enjoyable, and the company gets there by staying close to consumers.
But by taking a much wider view of innovation means that P&G also prides itself on being innovative in the way it manages people. As one of the last large ‘promote from within’ companies, P&G uses an Employee Value Proposition tool to help managers understand what employees really want, putting them in a position to ensure these unique needs are met. This innovation was developed by P&G in Australia and was recently awarded the Asian Human Capital Award, an award that honours innovative and influential people practices.
“We also value inclusion and diversity, both in terms of cultural experiences and business problem experience. This innovative approach to developing our people allows us to meet the needs of our diverse consumers as it helps us to understand them,” Carnegie added.