At the end of 2017, Marc Pritchard received yet another award, certainly among his most prestigious so far. Marketing Week consecrated him as 2017 Marketer of the Year.1 It seems natural to me to acknowledge the chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, which is not just the world’s biggest advertiser, but is also known as “the business school” for brand managers. The Cincinnati firm has maintained the greatest influence on the world of marketing and advertising since it began 180 years ago. The Harvard Business School had still qualified P&G as the absolute reference in marketing up until the end of the last decade.

This unequivocal statement has been challenged because things have since changed. For 10 years, P&G has traversed a difficult period. It appeared for a while as if it had underestimated the exponential growth of e-commerce, as well as the explosion of mobile phone use. Its sales suffered and it lost market share. It had difficulty growing markets in which its brands are category leaders. There are 16 of these markets where P&G is number one, and in which it has brands with revenues exceeding $1 billion.2

Critics have targeted P&G’s culture, which had permeated every corner of the company. In July 2017, the Financial Times3 stated clearly that the company’s culture was at the root of its problems. In their view, P&G needed to become, as we discussed in Chapter 4, more agile. I, however, do ...

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