An education of value

As the global economy has reshaped and redefined itself in the shadow of the global recession, I can say, as a seasoned global PR professional, that one thing will remain true: Americans will buy toothpaste.

As the global economy has reshaped and redefined itself in the shadow of the global recession, I can say, as a seasoned global PR professional, that one thing will remain true: Americans will buy toothpaste.

Now, while that may not be the most riveting insight of global economics observations, consider this: because of both its health benefits and (perhaps more importantly) cultural standards, toothpaste is an essential item for Americans. No matter how bad the economy gets, no matter how much Americans have to cut back on spending, and no matter what austerity measures are put into place, we want fresh breath and a healthy smile. And that's good news for Crest.

But the same cannot be said all over the world. In many developing nations, toothpaste was only introduced into the mainstream within the past decade. So as the world faces the challenge of rising food costs, we must ask what will be the externalities of this global inflation. And how will a decrease in disposable income impact sales on products and market segments that some audiences are still only beginning to recognize as necessities?

As marketers, we are tasked with educating the public on the benefits of a myriad of new products that satisfy critical needs for audiences. This can often be the first time specific audiences are learning of these needs in a meaningful way. To ensure future success of these newly introduced products, we must rely on the basic means of driving value through credentials, third party endorsements, and influence to continue the education of these publics and reinforce how these products meet those critical needs.

A challenge of global PR often lies in understanding the varying cultural definitions of seemingly simple concepts like ‘necessity' and ‘luxury.' Using that knowledge to forecast trends, PR practitioners can demonstrate the value of our clients' products in terms that ensure their place in shopping carts around the world.

Amanda Glasgow is SVP, personal care practice director at MSLGROUP.

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