Spotlight on Proctor & Gamble
It didn’t take a global pandemic to stir Procter & Gamble to action. The $68 billion consumer goods powerhouse has been stepping up in times of need for years. Their sustaining Brand Acts of Kindness are an example for the world.
Long before the coronavirus crisis, P&G was known for leveraging its financial strength, human resources and global standing to build schools, provide disaster relief, combat disease, support inclusion and racial justice, protect the environment and slow climate change. “Citizenship is built into how we do business every day,” says the company’s 2020 annual report. “We’re focused on being a force for growth and a force for good.”
Since 1976, the company’s Supplier Diversity program has created economic opportunities for underrepresented businesses, including those owned by minorities, women, LGBT+ individuals, veterans and people with disabilities. Between 1992 and 2019, the percentage of women filling senior management positions at P&G increased from 5% to 40%. This commitment has been recognized on the world stage; in 2020 P&G repeated its 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Social Equality Index.
This past March, as the first wave of COVID-19 was breaking on US shores, P&G launched a social media ad campaign raising awareness around the disease and promoting social distancing, handwashing and staying at home. By July the ad had been viewed 17 billion times. Meanwhile, factories were retooled to produce face masks, face shields and hand sanitizers in short supply at the nation’s hospitals as P&G’s global disaster relief program pivoted to focus on the needs created by a fast-spreading pandemic.
The effort continues at full throttle, with millions of P&G products donated to more than 55 countries, helping to ensure that families have basic access to everyday cleaning and hygiene essentials. The company is also partnering with over 200 NGOs and major relief organizations to provide help to nursing homes, shelters, community groups, food banks and more. P&G brands such as Pantene, Bounty, Secret and Always are donating to Feeding America, and Tide is offering free laundry service for front-line healthcare workers and first responders.
P&G has been equally active in the human rights arena—sometimes with edgy messages that have sparked controversy. In June, as protestors took to the streets to demand an end to systemic racism, P&G aired a national TV ad with the message, “Now is the time to be anti-racist. Now is the time to take action.” Damon Jones, P&G’s chief communications officer, said the ad was intended to push viewers “to come off the sidelines and get in the game for equality.” Another commercial for Gillette showed a dad teaching his transgender son how to shave and decried “toxic masculinity” that victimized women.
William Procter and James Gamble, who founded their company in 1837, became highly regarded philanthropists who used their wealth to establish hospitals, schools and other public institutions. Today, their names denote a company that embodies the same sense of community, corporate citizenship and personal accountability.
The fact is, financial success imposes a burden of caring—one that not all global corporations shoulder equally. At Carpenter Group, we Spotlight see in Proctor & Gamble a global brand that takes its role in the world seriously. Carolyn Tastad, president of North American operations, puts it simply: “We have a responsibility and an opportunity to use our voice.”
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.