Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lessons from Procter & Gamble – Branding, an Example


“You can trust Tide to get clothes clean.”

As an ex-Tide Brand Manager, yes some time ago, I was privy to the extensive world-wide research and branding effort that has been done by Procter & Gamble on laundry detergents and in particular for Tide.  Tide as you may know is one of the “family jewels” of Procter & Gamble.  It serves as an excellent example of how branding is developed and the results it can provide. 
Tide was launched in the 1940’s as the second laundry detergent after Oxydol.  It cleaned much cleaner than the soap powders and didn’t leave any residue.  In its earliest times, research showed that women wanted proof that it would generate great amounts of suds since that was the signal that it had cleaning power.  The message was “Tide Generates Oceans of Suds”.

Of course, the branding started with the product quality and its ability to deliver on its promise of getting clothes clean.  Procter & Gamble had many practical scientists and product development people working on this brand and still does.  Its efficacy has been unmatched in the minds of the consumers since its launch.

As you can see from the slogan that became the bedrock of Tide’s marketing, “You can trust Tide to get clothes clean”, the tone and emotion of trust was established.  Consumers came to know that when they used Tide it would get their clothes clean every time.  Tide became a reliable helper in the household chore of clothes washing.

Branding is much more than just product and positioning.  The packaging was an important part of Tide’s success.  The vibrant colors made the product stand out on the shelf.  The bull’s-eye reinforced the single minded positioning of cleaning.  In fact, packaging research has shown that consumers can identify the Tide package as Tide even without the word Tide across the bull’s-eye.

The brand quickly moved to market leadership.  This brought with it economies of scale, increased store merchandising and a premium price.

Today, there are many forms of Tide that can handle the current fabrics and washing machines.  Many other detergents have been wiped out as the brand’s share of the category has risen steadily to over 50%.


Strong branding is essential for companies to maximize the impact of their product investment.  If you don’t have the resources to develop and direct this effort you will need to get it.

Let us know how we might assist you.


John Maver
Founder and Managing Director of Moon & Stars Consulting
President Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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