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30, October 2017

What I Learned at the P&G Alumni Conference: Part 2

Before starting my strategic planning, executive coaching and assessment business, I spent several formative years at Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. One of the benefits of being an “ex” is that I can attend the alumni group’s every other year pow-wow. Here’s part two of my takeaway from that high-powered gathering.

If you’re wondering if you should care about a soap and shampoo reunion, here’s why it matters: P&G is such a powerhouse that it spins off top notch CEOs like Saturday Night Live spins off comedians. Attending this biennial event were current or former leaders from American Airlines, BuzzFeed, Google, Facebook, HP, eBay, Boeing, 3M, Intuit, Disney, Popeyes, Coca-Cola and many more corporate titans. There were no “guest speakers,” as everyone was a former P&G employee, and they had a great deal to say about business trends impacting your company.

One of the more memorable presenters was Jonah Peretti, CEO/Founder of BuzzFeed. Not familiar with it? BuzzFeed is the fourth most popular news site on the internet, trailing only Fox, CNN and the Washington Post. 90% of 18 to 34 year olds know of the site, which is characterized by its mix of news, hip attitude and clickbait articles.

In the last 3 years, the BuzzFeed website/app has grown from 100 million monthly page views to over 5 billion, largely because of its connection to social media. They also have the #1 rated show on YouTube (Worth It).

Founder Jonah Peretti’s message: advertisers need to find new ways to get their brands in front of the younger generation, because they aren’t consuming news like their parents did. My message: download the BuzzFeed app on your phone and check it out. It’s never been easier to expand your horizon and stay in touch with your customers.

Interesting quotes from interesting people

“As women we do not raise our hands. Tell people your dreams and they will help you get there.”

Sylvie Moreau, President, Coty

“Focus on the employee. Ask them why they like working here and really listen. When people leave, find out why. Do investigative research so you know the real reason.”

Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

“Advertising as we know it today will never be the same.”

Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer, Publicis Groupe (3rd largest ad agency in the world)

“The most important thing I learned from P&G is that you have to take care of your customers and your people.”

Robert Isom, President, American Airlines

In life—as in business—some things change while others stay the same. Your job as a leader is to know the difference. Every day, I help people and businesses figure out which is which. If I can ever help you in any way, please give me a call.

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