This is the 21st century, the digital era where toothbrushes and toothpaste, also dare to love. Might sound gibberish, but these days digital transformation is quite a thing for businesses throughout the world and across all the industrial sectors and thus it requires clear thinking and commitment to execution to deliver the benefits.
So, in lieu of this, it wasn’t very surprising when Ian Cook, the CEO of Colgate Palmolive thought of an innovative way to increase the digital investments of his firms.
The primary step of this thought process included the belief in an AI-powered, app-based Smart Toothbrush, which was unveiled a couple of weeks ago. Here, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was quite prone to brandish his very own connected toothbrush in public a few years back. So, the fact that this is a new idea, is not exactly true but is clearly a big deal for Colgate.
To ponder deep, the latest innovation is the Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1. Its built-in sensors detect its position in the mouth in 16 different areas, which helps in collecting real-time data which is then transferred via Bluetooth to the Apple smartphone. The AI capabilities present then analyze as much as information about a person’s dental hygiene and also the app can make recommendations on how to improve oral care. It even sums up with a charging stand that includes a couple of games.
Of course, this innovation is head turning and eye-catching. But as a part of the Global Growth and Efficiency Program, the firm is also engaged in more digital investments which actually would depict the need for speed in a fast moving competitive economy. To this, Cook added that “Clearly, the way the world is moving, whether it’s e-commerce, digital in general or local brands, we are committed to moving more rapidly. This is not just true around innovation, it’s about how we go about doing everything in the company”.
Colgate’s Dare To Love toothpaste is another such innovation created in tandem with an e-commerce partner firm in China with the intent of targeting a younger demographic. Here, Cook regarded that, “The Dare to Love toothpaste that we launched online in China did precisely that, took the Colgate brand to a younger female purchaser, and we use digital to do that as well. So it’s not just messaging, it’s who we are reaching with that message.
We created the product in a very short period of time, around 5 months. It was our largest and fastest-selling multipack on the 11/11 Singles’ Day in China and the single biggest growth driver in our portfolio for this online retailer. Now interestingly, it has additional benefits. It brings us to a younger female millennial user with a higher wealth program. So the combination of our advertising and the offering itself sees us broaden our reach in terms of consumers”.
Of course, here the main focus is on Digital Marketing and also the 30% of the total ad being spent is on digital. Here also Cook regarded that, “Our increased digital media investment and focus on faster, easier ways to test and improve the creative has led to significant improvements in return on investments over the year. This has helped us increase our e-commerce market share leadership in toothpaste in the US…our e-commerce business, in general, was up just under 60% for the full year…E-commerce is another area that we’ll continue to grow exponentially….it’s developing people into the habit, and it’s connecting with people in the digital world of the 21st century and all of the other channels in between”.
After Digital Marketing connection, the main was mainly focused on maximizing the Global Growth and Efficiency Program to streamline the cost structure. The source of the thought process was definitely to focus on the way the company has been thinking and the way they would be organized in the future for the thoughts they have now. Here the company thought of going to in the future and organize for that so that they would be able to meet the changes to head on. For example, the company in the last 4 months, have just redesigned the supply chain organization to become organized by region while keeping the central capability, which allows again, the company, to respond more speedily to local market needs while still leveraging at global scale and capability. Again, here the productivity is not just about cutting costs. It might be also about simplification, which is definitely a very big area of focus for the company.