Commentary

Not Just Paper Towels: Georgia-Pacific Goes From Product-centered To Providing Better Experience

John Strom, senior vice president of marketing at Georgia-Pacific, leads off with “Embracing Less Is More In the Amazon Age.”

”we started about five years or so ago with restless discontent. Selling traditionally through the years, wholesale distribution, industrial manufacturing sites, we have a couple hundred sales folks who engage those sellers, historically has been the basis from which our leads come from.

”B2B buyer was starting to act more B2C like. Doing their own research, using hotline tools for comparison, peer to peer reviews. Some fo them didn’t even want to contact any sales rep at all.

”how are we serving that customer that is applying consumer behavior at work?

“where does our solution set become more or less compelling? We did that look back and then forward and said, these industries we serve, the end-use application is similar but based on who’s involved, they end up looking very different. Starting to shift, we said what if we started stratifying? Could we be a better steward of our brands, our precious resources.

”how is our brand portfolio shored up online? We are a heritage company with a mix of brands in portfolio. We said brands are not created equal, no clear distinction between them so we said maybe it’s time when natural selection didn’t pair any of these off. Marketing Darwinism.

”Dispensers were not consistent, cohesive. Assets, marketing materials again had no consistency there. What were we doing for our master brand, probably an opportunity there.

”took 112 brands, build a framework, this was emotional, these brands are our children, some wouldn’t make the cut. Some healthy arm wrestling ensued. We let the logic guide the conversation. Established an architecture that took 112 to about a dozen. Brands that had identity that meant something to our customers, they could figure out what the solution was that they needed.

“We have a framework. Now we have a visual brand language, an aesthetic that makes buying these things in combination a suite. This visual brand language helps us create that continuity. Same thing in our marketing assets. Most acute challenge QSRs have faced is labor. Takes labor out of the equations, brand guidelines that we adhere to.

”Amazon set the standard for what content will look like. We had to reinvent our content. Putting the measurement of a dispenser on the image itself. People want to see an image of everything they get, whether the screws come with that mounting bracket, people want to know. Online reviews, our B2B buyers want the same thing now. Heavy dose of videos. Getting caught up here, we’re on our way so that feel real good.

”Brand Experience, insights team helps inform future innovations. 

“We learned a lot about cleaning teams that interact with our products. High turnover. Language barrier. Tough jobs. One of the things we learned is that there are few recognition programs in place. So we said, what if we create an off the shelf thank you program with certificates, give Aways, simple program that you could use. It’s been a terrific success. Allows us to talk about the innovation that we’re providing in our systems. 

“Research applied to provide a better overall experience to our customers.

”Overall executive alignment helped. Stratification of our resources, you can go ask for more or optimize what you got. Focusing on the experience than the traditional features and benefits.”

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