We perceive Brand Management as a modern concept, but how much do you really know about branding? This great, modern concept actually began in 1931; yes I said 1931! No, it wasn’t borne in the advertising Mecca of Madison Avenue, but in Cincinnati at the headquarters of Procter & Gamble.
Brand Management was in essence the brainchild of Neil McElroy, a 27-year old advertising executive assigned to the Camay Soap brand. He needed to hire two more people in his department and to make a case for the new hires he wrote a ground breaking memo (commonly referred to as the “Brand Man Memo”). McElroy did get his two hires, but more importantly this memo was so powerful that Proctor & Gamble changed how it managed its brands. This was quite an impressive feat when you consider that Proctor & Gamble was hardly a struggling new kid on the block. Au contraire, P & G was almost 100 years old at the time and it was nothing short of a miracle that they embraced change.
It’s remarkable when you consider that 80 years has passed. We like to think of ourselves as great innovators, but are we really just arrogantly repackaging old ideas and repurposing them, hoping that no one will notice?