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The Famous P&G “If I Were a Brand Manager Today” Speech

The Famous P&G “If I Were a Brand Manager Today” Speech

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Procter & Gamble’s Tom Laco – at the time an EVP running the global marketer’s US business – gave one of the most famous marketing speeches in history in 1981. He called it “If I were a brand manager today” and in the speech, Tom laid out, in very practical terms, the keys to P&G’s marketing success.

Tom worked for 35 years at P&G in brand management and a series of senior executive roles including Division Manager, Vice President, Group Vice President, and ultimately Vice Chairman of the Board.

In Tom’s speech, he lays out wonderful advice on two topics he believed were critical to success in P&G brand management:

  • How to build a business
  • How to build people

I saw Tom give this speech in the Spring of 1981 and it literally changed my marketing life. I was just a couple of months away from being promoted to my first Brand Manager assignment – running the Pringle’s business early in its turnaround. Most of my success over the decade I spent at P&G can be traced to the philosophies Tom conveyed in his talk.

I recently was cleaning out some old files and came across a copy of Tom’s speech, and thought it was important to share with the broader marketing community. If you’d like a copy of the famous “If I were a brand manager today” speech, you can download it here.

And come back tomorrow for a conversation I had with Jim Stengel, P&G’s former head marketer, about the impact Tom Laco’s speech had on our careers and how we think about it today.

Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Zillow Group, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Ulta Beauty, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve Boehler cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.