News Articles

Hispanic TV Summit: A Conversation With P&G's Edgar Sandoval

9/21/2009 12:00:00 AM Eastern

Procter & Gamble general manager
of North America marketing Edgar Sandoval will receive the "Lifetime of
Achievement in Hispanic Television" award from Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable on Sept. 24 at the seventh annual Hispanic Television Summit in New York.

The
award recognizes P&G's longstanding efforts on behalf of Hispanic
TV and the Hispanic community. Sandoval recently spoke with MCN
executive editor, special reports George Vernadakis about P&G's
early commitment to the Hispanic population, how the company approaches
consumers in general, and how it targets Hispanic consumers in
particular.

An edited transcript follows.

Q: How would you sum up P&G's overall marketing philosophy, in terms of how you approach the consumer?

Edgar Sandoval:
The consumer is at the center of everything we do. [P&G CEO] A.G.
[Lafley] coined the term "the consumer is boss," and I can tell you
I've lived that. It's more than just a term, it's a way of doing
business and that's what we're dedicated to doing.

It
drives our company marketing strategy, it drives our innovation
strategy, it drives our communication strategies. It really is, I
believe, at the core of everything we do at P&G.

[In
terms of the Hispanic consumer], we believe this consumer is very
discerning, very smart; and therefore we spend a lot of our time just
sharing with them what our brands and our products can do for them. We
believe we provide a great value on all of our products to them.

Q:
P&G's commitment to the Hispanic TV audience goes back nearly 50
years, with the company's first Spanish-language TV commercial. What do
you think fueled P&G's early attention to the Hispanic space?

ES: I think it goes back to the core of who we are as a company. We are all about the consumers.

I
spend a lot of time in homes, going to stores, doing shop-alongs; and
that's how you stay in touch with reality and what's needed to win in
the marketplace.

I'm sure that my
predecessors were doing the same things 50 years ago and realized that
there was an emerging community that needed to be served that was being
underserved.

And one of the things we
want to do as a company is serve more consumers, touch more consumers'
lives around the world, serve the underserved and serve the consumers
that are not getting all their needs met.

I
think that might have been the genesis of our start in the Hispanic
market in the U.S. 50 years ago. And that commitment is equally
important today.

I wasn't here 50 years
ago, but I tell you, it feels very strong today and I think a big part
of it is the fact that we try to stay in touch with the market. And
that the numbers, the current reality of the country, is significantly
influenced by these consumers and the future will be even more.

But
it's an imperative for our company to make sure that we touch the lives
of these consumers and in return they reward us with choosing our
brands when they have to make a selection in the store.

Q:
As the Hispanic population continues to grow and as they reach out for
information across more platforms, how do your efforts to connect with
them evolve?

ES:Because
we're so consumer-centric, we look for them and we look to communicate
with them and talk with them and have a dialogue with them where and
when they're most receptive.

So multimedia platforms are critical.

Our
consumers are engaging in more mediums everyday and so we are smartly
going and seeking to understand how they are engaging, where is it more
effective and making sure that we are there and that we're being
relevant - not intrusive, but relevant - and can establish a
relationship with them in the mediums that they choose to use.

Q:
In terms of initiatives specifically aimed at Hispanic consumers, can
you speak about how they were crafted and executed with that community
in mind?

ES: We have so many different brands, so many efforts going on.

The
way we try to approach it is, we try to understand again what are the
consumer needs, what are the unmet consumer needs, how can we improve
their lives and we take it from there.

So,
for instance, one of the brands that I'm very proud of the work that
we've done is Crest. With Crest, we've been able to identify the fact
that a healthy mouth, a beautiful smile, goes a long way in the lives
of our consumers to help them succeed in their broader life challenges.
So it all starts with no cavities, fresh breath, healthy mouth and
beautiful smile.

But it goes beyond that.
There's a big emotional element of looking your best and having your
most radiant and healthy smile as you face the challenges of a new
country, the challenges of having to find a job, of having to keep a
job, of having to establish relationships where we don't have them.

So
we try to bring the full perspective, the full meaning of oral care to
the way we tell a story and the way we present our brand to these
consumers.

And, in turn, they have been
rewarding us tremendously with their votes on brands like Crest Pro
Health and Crest With Scope; they're two of our best sellers among that
audience for the Hispanic market.

So it's
more than just selling them a product. It's helping them achieve their
life dreams and being a tool for them, even if it's just a small tool
in that bigger journey.

Q: During your time at P&G, have there been any specific mentors or standout moments professionally?

ES:
I have been blessed with just a lot of different relationships at
Procter, be it a boss or people that work for me, that have all touched
and improved my life.

I can't single out
anyone in particular but I can tell you that from the moment I walked
through the door as a summer intern until today, I've always felt the
support of everyone around me.

It's like
a family here and we're trying to serve more consumers and improve more
lives; and that's one of the main reasons I've stayed because I've
always felt supported.

I've always felt like I'm learning from others and I've always felt stretched and growing.

March