April 13, 2010

Product or Service? Or Both?

P&G, the globe’s pre-eminent goods marketer, is testing a branch into service businesses with their brand names.
Leveraging brands that have long dominated the shelves, P&G now runs ‘Mr. Clean’ car wash and Tide Dry Cleaners.  Can Iam’s Pet Walkers be far behind?   Pantene Hair Salons?
The advantages are many:
• an experiential play on brands/goods that heretofore only went from retail shelf to kitchen or bath cabinet
• another ‘advertising’ vehicle 
(Side note:  we at Bandwidth helped to use Taco Bell’s stores as billboards for many years, given the dearth of media spend compared to the bigger burger chains)
• a great way to test new products within or outside of the title brand’s portfolio
• a built-in name brand that can possibly rise above the Mom & Pop shops without a name or reputation
The downside?  Making sure that quality stays consistent and the experience is a good one.  
Many a real service company has fallen hard when the human component comes into the equation.  Delivering in the service realm goes far beyond making sure your package looks pretty and gets to Aisle 2 on time.
But, that said — good luck, P&G.  Always good to see a big behemoth take a small chance on something different.