Branding

Real Beauty for men?

Blog dove girls In Secrets of the Marketing Masters, I wrote approvingly of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty.

Launched in 2005, the campaign celebrated the curves and natural beauty of real women, going so far as to show them in their skivvies complete with love handles and wrinkles.  

The ads tried to help women regain some of the self-esteem that the media and the beauty industry was sucking out of them. They struck a responsive chord with women around the world and, in the process, repositioned the brand as an attitude rather than as a 50 year-old moisturizing soap. 

The campaign gave Dove the breadth to encompass a range of products from shampoo to firming cream, boosting sales and launching a host of business school case histories. (Not to mention a chapter in my book.)

But now one has to wonder if the Dove brand managers really understood what they had created.  During the 2010 Superbowl, they launched Dove Men + Care, a new line of products designed for the average Joe, not Jane. Dove for men

My problem with this move is that it is sacrificing the Dove brand's meaning by trying to stretch it across a market that shares none of its core values or concerns.

Few men share the same insecurities about their appearance as most women do. 

It's as if Dove's parent company, Unilever, tried to stretch another of its brands -- Axe -- to include women's products.  It doesn't compute. The Axe brand has an adolescent male personality.  It lives in a frat house, not in a split-level with hair curlers on the breakfast table.

Dove Men  Dove is corrupting its most valuable, hard-won asset -- its very meaning.

Furthermore, the notion of billboards depicting "real men" in their skivvies might have some of us reaching for another Unilever product -- Slimfast -- but it won't sell much shampoo
 


Murphy was an optimist

Laurie  At some point, every brand discovers that the Murphy of "Murphy's Law" was a hopeless optimist. Just ask Tiger Woods or Akio Toyoda.  

How a brand deals with that law of the universe separates the amateurs from the professionals. No one knew that better than my friend and former boss, Marilyn Laurie, pictured at left when she received the Alexander Hamilton Medal from the Institute for Public Relations in 2006.

No one handled more crises than she in the decade she led AT&T public relations. And I probably learned more from her than anyone else I ever worked with or for. 

My first book, Tough Calls, reflected a lot of that (however haltingly). Unfortunately, I had to cut one of the chapters for space reasons and, on re-reading it recently, I realized that it has even more relevance today. 

Here's the quick takeaway:    

The first rule of crisis management is to avoid bringing one down on yourself by making sure someone with a broad stakeholder perspective participates in the planning of any significant initiative
If that ounce of prevention isn't enough, follow the second rule: accept responsibility.  That means tell the truth, tell it quickly, fix the problem, and demonstrate your sincerity by giving something back.

"Giving something back" was one of Marilyn's contributions to the accumulated wisdom of crisis management.  Messrs. Woods and Toyoda would be wise to consider what it means for them.

Download the Tough Calls "missing chapter" for all the details.



 


      



Rational Man RIP

Irrational Newsweek's latest public opinion poll demonstrates how difficult it is to figure out what people really think about any important issue.  And how relatively easy it is to shape their opinions in the first place.

Item: when Newsweek asked for their "overall opinion of Obama's health care reform plan," 49 percent opposed it, 40 percent were in favor and 11 percent didn't know or had no opinion.

But in a subsequent question, significant majorities said they favored specific proposals to change the health care system.       

For example:

  • 59 percent favored requiring all Americans to have health insurance.  
  • 75 percent favored requiring most businesses to offer health insurance to their employees, with tax incentives for small business owners to do so.  
  • 76 percent favored requiring health insurance companies to cover anyone who applies, even if they have a pre-existing medical condition. 
  • 81 percent favored creating a new insurance marketplace that allows people without health insurance to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive rates.  
  • And 59 percent favored preventing insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick.

Of course, not all specific proposals were popular.  

  • 62 percent opposed imposing fines on individuals who don't obtain health insurance coverage or larger businesses that don't offer it.  
  • 55 percent opposed taxing insurers who offer the so-called Cadillac health insurance plans to help pay for health care reform.  
  • And only 50 percent favored creating a government-administered public health insurance option to compete with private plans.  (42 percent opposed it.)

But the real kicker came in the next question:  

"Now please think about the proposals I just described to you.  ALL of these proposals are included in Barack Obama's health care reform plan. Having heard these details, what is your OVERALL opinion of Obama's plan -- do you favor it or oppose it?"  (Emphasis in original.)

48 percent now favored the plan, 43 percent opposed it, and only 9 percent didn't know, practically a reversal of the answers to the question when it was first posed.

Of course, what was described as "Obama's plan" is not, in fact, what the White House released on Monday in preparation for Thursday's big summit with Congress. Newsweek's survey was conducted between Feb. 17 and 18 before the White House released the details of its plan. 

Obama's current plan doesn't include the so-called "public option." Furthermore, almost as if the White House read the poll results, Obama's new plan lowers the tax on Cadillac plans and reduces the fine for not carrying health insurance.

But what I found interesting is how volatile people's opinions appear to be on this issue.It reminds me of Walter Lippmann's admonition that most people have their minds made up long before they come in contact with any relevant facts.

Opinions are the product of emotion filtered through reason, not the other way around.In this case, the very controversy surrounding the issue helped form their opinions.  Talk of "a government takeover of health care," "death panels," "two and a half trillion dollar price tags," and "bureaucrats dictating care to doctors" framed the issue for most people.  Even when factual data put some of these charges to rest, people were left with the negative feelings the original attack elicited.

The original question in the poll allowed people to express their emotional opinion, but the follow-up on the specific elements of the reform plan put their rational brain into gear.  And it was still engaged when the first question was essentially asked again.

People aren't totally irrational, but they're not automatons either.  Ignoring their emotions is a formula for disaster.

That's a lesson Mr. Toyoda should keep in mind as he addresses his company's current crisis.  It's about more than sticky accelerators, wayward floor mats and electronic gremlins.


Our thinking bodies

Popup Embodied cognition is a hot new field that considers how abstract concepts like "power," "time," and "goodness" are processed not just in our brains, but also by our bodies.

The findings have broad implications for all forms of communications and marketing. For example, a study at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, showed that whether someone's photo is positioned at the top of a screen or at the bottom affects how powerful and attractive he or she is perceived to be by the opposite sex.

When people think of power differences, they literally think of spatial differences too. Powerful people are thought to be those who stay "at the top," while the less powerful are "below."

In the Gettysburg study, men were 1.8 times more likely to find the same woman attractive if her photo appeared at the bottom of the screen rather than at the top. Women were 1.5 times more likely to find men attractive if their photo appeared at the top. This may help explain why CEOs ten to be tall and why wives are taller than their husbands in only one out of 750 married couples.

The New York Times reports on a study in the journal Psychological Science that shows that people actually lean forward when thinking of the future and lean back when pondering the past.

Others have discovered that the smell of Windex can prompt people to donate more to charity.  (No, Windex didn't sponsor the study.  You can read it here.)  Books we are told are "important" seem to weigh more than other books of the same size.

It seems that our figurative language (e.g., "the stain of sin") has roots in the way our body actually processes information.


Burger King Brew

Burger king beer Burger King has started serving beer at a new restaurant in Miami's South Beach.

Customers can get a brew, Whopper and fries for $7.99. But I don't think the main idea is to offer higher-priced beverages.  While McDonald's built its franchise on appealing to children and Arby's, on serving adults, Burger King has tried to appeal to the out-sized appetites of male adolescents.  

Of course, the King doesn't define "adolescence" in chronological terms. It's more of an attitude and a set of behaviors, typical of males from 18 to 24 years old.  And Burger King does not want to repeat the missteps of The Gap by failing to grow with its core audience.  Enter the beer taps.


Priced to sell

Priceless Priceless: The Myth Of Fair Value (And How To Take Advantage Of It) is William Poundstone's eleventh nonfiction book and a prime example of two trends we will hear and read a lot more about in business circles -- evolutionary psychology and neurobiology. 

We may all think that we're rational beings, but the truth is that we are the products of evolutionary forces that prepared us for a very different environment.  In fact, many of our daily decisions are made at levels below our conscious awareness but in full view of a functional magnetic resonance machine.  

I've been gathering material for a new book on these subjects and will report examples in this space over the coming months. Many of the latest findings have significant implications for (and applications in) marketing, finance, human resources and every other business function.  Not to mention day-to-day life, as Poundstone demonstrates even on his book jacket, which is cleverly designed to incorporate a price tag.  The book's original price is listed there as $599.99.  In fact, it really sells for about $27, which seems like a steal thanks to the "anchoring effect" Poundstone describes so effectively in the book itself.



Domino's Mea Culpa


I've often pointed out that perception is not reality, even though it sometimes feels as if it is.  Perceptions can't be changed solely with the tools of persuasion. Advertising and PR campaigns seldom cure perception problems. The only way to fix perception problems is to fix the underlying reality.  

Case in point: Domino Pizza.  Rather than commissioning better TV commercials to change perceptions that its pizza tastes like ketchup spread on cardboard, the company decided to change its pizza. (They also changed the CEO, but that's another story.)

The company's new ad campaign is built around TV spots designed to attract viewers to a web site -- www.pizzaturnaround.com -- where they can view a four-minute documentary that shows customers trashing the old recipe and staffers reacting. Talk about transparency.  The strategy attracted attention from the likes of The Colbert Report and CBS's The Early Show.  

Domino's new CEO isn't worried about repeating the New Coke fiasco.  The big difference here, he points out, is that when Coca-Cola introduced New Coke, it was the number one soft drink.  In the world of pizza, alas, Domino's, ranks first in delivery but dead last in taste.




Tuning a Tin Ear

GoldmanSachs Someone is finally giving Goldman Sachs good advice. The Wall Street firm with a tin ear for public relations may be taking the first baby steps toward restoring its reputation.  (That may overstate things -- it's reputation on Main Street has never been very good. If it stood for anything, it was mindless devotion to the "greed is good" school of economics.) 

Ironically, the company has always required its senior executives to donate a portion of their  huge bonuses to charity, but to many of us, that smacked of John D. Rockefeller handing out dimes to street urchins.  

Now, Goldman appears to be re-tuning its tin ear. First, the company's CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, actually apologized for his firm's role in the financial crisis. "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret," he said. "We apologize."  That's orders of magnitude better than his last word on the subject, that "we're doing God's work." 

Even better, someone convinced Goldman to back up its apology by giving something back to the people it wronged. But instead of throwing money off the roof of their Manhattan headquarters, Goldman is focusing its reputation-building efforts at the intersection of society's needs and its own core competencies.  

Yesterday, Goldman launched a $500 million dollar program to provide training, mentoring and loans for small businesses.  Skeptics are already pointing out that $500 million is a drop in the bucket when compared to the $16 billion Goldman has set aside for bonuses. And today's Wall Street Journal already has a story expressing mild dismay that a small manufacturer in Tennessee hasn't been able to get any help (or information on the program) yet. 

But it's a step in the right direction. We should all stay tuned.  


  

   


Macho PR

T vs V Every now and then, senior executives let their testosterone get the better of them. (Both men and women secrete testosterone by the way. Women are actually even more sensitive to it than men.)  

Anyway, when the testosterone flows, people do dumb things. Exhibit A is AT&T's suit against Verizon over the latter's claim that it has broader high-speed cellular coverage.  See the map to the left appears in the company's commercials, which one observer termed "a bitch slap" at AT&T

As a senior executive at the old, "new AT&T," I have been in many meetings where one business unit head or another got so exasperated with a competitor's actions (or advertising claims) that he or she pounded the table, fixed the General Counsel with an icy stare and shouted "let's sue the bastards!"  

In almost every case, the General Counsel let the senior team vent and then quietly did nothing.  In fact, at the height of the long distance wars, we set up a private arbitration process supervised by the Federal Trade Commission to resolve complaints about our respective advertising campaigns without going to court.  

One big lesson we learned in the telecom wars is that, when competitors throw mud at each other, customers give up on both of them.  We also learned that it seldom pays to draw attention to a competitor's claims (as AT&T's suit managed to do). They might as well have made million dollar deposits in Verizon's ad budget. 

Now Verizon has added a new lesson in its response to AT&T's suit -- match your competitor's phony outrage with a big dose of sarcasm and ridicule.  

Verizon's 53-page response to AT&T's suit begins "AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon's 'There's A Map For That' advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts." 

The rest of the filing is just as brutal and written in eminently quotable language. The jury may still be out on the comparable breadth of the two companies' networks, but Verizon is the clear winner in the PR battle. 

As Saul Alinsky noted in Rules for Radicals, more than thirty years ago, ridicule is one of the most potent weapons in responding to an attack. It's almost impossible to contradict and it infuriates your opponent, which gets that testosterone flowing all over again.  


Brand Lobes

Mindfield Here's a book that will definitely be on my wishlist for Christmas: Mindfield by science writer Lone Frank.  It purports to explain "how brain science is changing our world."  I don't know about that, but based on the excerpt in the Scientific American Mind blog, she certainly does a good job of explaining how brain science should influence marketing. 

Frank (what's the story behind her first name "Lone"?) retells the now familiar story of Baylor University's "Pepsi Challenge" fMRI studies, but her background as a neuroscientist allows her to explain its full significance.  Something I wish I had done better in my last two books.  "The medial prefrontal cortex," she explains, "is not just any old brain region."  It's where our very sense of identity resides.  If strong brands light it up, it's only because we identify with them, they fit into the picture we have of ourself. 

She didn't use the term, but I will -- what those fMRI scanners have discovered is our brand lobe.


 


Darwinian Branding

Chimp in pinstripes

There's an interesting discussion about
Maslow's Hierarchy going on at Nigel Hollis' blog.  Hollis is chief global analyst for the Millard Brown research firm, and he always has something interesting to say about brands and social trends. 

In his latest post, he kicked off a discussion about the branding implications of Maslow's insight.  In short (and this doesn't do his argument justice), Hollis thinks the future of brands may lie in moving up Maslow's Hierarchy from physiological needs (e.g., food and sleep) to the more transcendent (e.g., self-actualization).  

As my contribution to the discussion, I pointed out that Maslow, who posited his theory in 1943, might have taken a different approach had he had the benefit of recent discoveries in evolutionary psychology.  It seems that the so-called "hierarchy of needs" is not as linear as it first appears. For example, it may be that the need to create shared meaning (which branding trades on) lies not in the upper levels of the hierarchy, but at its base.  It could be as basic and necessary as food and shelter.  

I suggested that every brand would benefit by finding the Darwinian roots of its promise -- i.e., how it contributes to survival, reproduction and kinship. Nigel generously expanded on the point by suggesting that, whatever needs a brand addresses, the key is to differentiate itself. "Higher order needs are simply an additional means of differentiation," he observes.   


Real Service Is Personal

NJPAC If I were rewriting Secrets of the Marketing Masters, I would definitely include the chief marketing officers of nonprofits.  And at the top of my list would be Catrina Boisson who does marketing for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  (Full disclosure: I used to be on NJPAC's board.)   

All nonprofits face unusual challenges these days, including the weak economy, slim resources, and stiff competition from equally compelling good causes. In NJPAC's case, add proximity to the cultural offerings of Manhattan, which is a short train ride away, and the less-than-inviting-if-largely-undeserved reputation of its location in downtown Newark. 

Nevertheless, NJPAC recently completed one of its most successful seasons. One of the reasons -- unusually sophisticated Customer Relationship Management.  CRM is one of those acronyms that consultants like to throw around, but Boisson and her colleagues have turned it into the way they do business.

Thanks to a ticketing system that captures information such as the number of events a household attends, the number of tickets they buy, and how much they pay, Boisson's team was able to score all NJPAC patrons by their lifetime value.  That led to a unique customer loyalty program for the 4000 households that were most critical to the center's success.  Interestingly, not all of the most valuable households bought subscription tickets and not all were "members" or donors.  Some, in fact, had not been to the center for two seasons.

Boisson's team assigned a personal representative to each of the 4,000 households. The idea was to give them personalized end-to-end service for everything from ticket purchases, to parking, restaurant reservations, and gift-buying from the center shop. Armed with information such as the last performance their client attended, how long it had been since their last visit and their entertainment preferences, their personal representative could even call to let them know of upcoming shows.

The results?  Customer churn is down.  Attendance has stabilized. Ticket sales are up. And a whopping 97 percent of the households with personal representatives say they would recommend NJPAC to others?

Here's the kicker -- serving all 4,000 households took a total of four personal representatives. You can read more about NJPAC's customer loyalty program here


Canned

Pepsi_can  Pepsi kicked off 2009 by introducing a new logo for its flagship soft drink to what can only charitably be called mixed reviews.   The new design was supposed to suggest a smile, but most people saw it as a rip-off of the logo Obama used in his presidential campaign. 

Then the company redesigned the packaging for its Tropicana orange juice, putting it into a carton that looked so generic consumers couldn't find it in the dairy case.  Tropicana-packaging That was such a disaster, the new design had to be pulled

Shades of New Coke. Tropicana-packaging

The folks at Coca-Cola, on the other hand, are introducing a series of specially-designed cans to celebrate summer. Maybe they learned something back in 1985 because the new designs manage to be arresting and contemporary, yet classic and "real Coke," at the same time. Watch them fly off your grocer's shelves. Coke can for summer

Coke can for summerThe difference? 
Understanding your brand values and knowing how to communicate them viscerally.
 

Brand-Aid For America

Brand_america Jeff Yang, over at Salon, posted a piece analyzing which presidential candidate would do the most for Brand America if he/she won the election.  It must have hit a nerve because in the first few hours of its posting, it evoked 43 letters.  (Potential conflict alert: I'm quoted extensively, but Jeff brings his unique perspective to the issue and also quotes people far more qualified than yours truly. Even some of the letters present valuable perspective.)  Of course, improving America's image around the world isn't the biggest challenge the next president will face, but it's way up there.  And we've elected presidents for less noble reasons. 


Glocal for Ramadan

Rebuilding Brand America encourages international companies to "glocalize" their brands, i.e., to adapt to local customs and tastes while respecting core values. Ramadan

One good current example is Starbucks, which introduced new coffee flavors and packaging across the Middle East to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.  Among the new flavors -- a date Frappucino and a special selection of Arabian coffees.  The cups even have a special holiday design of crescents and mosques. Read more in Al Bawaba out of the United Arab Emirates.


Brand Repair

Companies from energy services behemoth Halliburton to pharmaceutical giant Merck have seen their high-flying reputations plummet in the span of a single news cycle. So have business people, from domestic doyenne Martha Stewart to GE’s ex-chairman Jack Welch and Home Depot’s former CEO Bob Nardelli. They all tarnished their good names, demeaning past accomplishments and crippling future prospects. 

In marketing terms, they corrupted their “brands.”

A brand is more than a logo, celebrity, or reputation.  Anyone with crayons can draw a logo. The tabloids create fifteen-minute celebrities everyday. And a reputation is simply what someone or something is known for. Brands operate at deeper levels in the realm of emotionally charged perception. They are the stuff of images and feelings, rather than ideas and reason.

There’s an idea at the core of every brand but a brand’s power derives from the emotion in which it’s wrapped.  “Refreshment” is an idea, but when it comes in a contoured bottle of Coke, it’s imagery and feelings, strong enough to measure in a magnetic resonance scanner. By marrying emotion to knowledge, brands turn what would simply be a Trivial Pursuit answer into motivation. As brain scientist Donald Calne points out  “reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.”  Brands are words packed with motivating emotion.

From the perspective of its owner, a brand is a promise. From the perspective of the brand recipient, it’s trust that the promise will be kept. Understanding this duality is key to managing brands and, when they are broken, to repairing them.  But the two sides of a brand are not equal – even the most salient and compelling promise has to be accepted before it can acquire power. And at that point, power shifts to the recipient.  Coke, for example, was disabused of the notion that it “owned” its brand in anything but a technically legal sense when it tried to change the soft drink’s formulation in 1985. Consumers rebelled. They might have preferred the new formula in blind taste tests, but their emotional attachment to the “classic” formula completely overwhelmed their taste buds. Within three months, the company was forced to back down. “New Coke” went the way of the Edsel, another innovation that was out of step with consumer expectations.  Giving trust represents a bigger emotional investment than making promises.

Trust has two emotionally charged components: competence and sincerity. Incompetence evokes feelings of anger or derision; insincerity, suspicion and hatred.  Incompetence leads to calls for correction, restitution or punishment. Insincerity invites retribution and revenge. Of the two, insincerity is the more dangerous because it violates people’s basic instincts of fair play and empathy.

Consider the sad case of Bob Nardelli, who went from Home Depot’s ostensible savior, worth whatever it took to steal him from General Electric, to Exhibit A of unbridled corporate greed. While Nardelli failed to move Home Depot’s stock price in his six years as CEO, and some questioned his long-term strategy, few considered him incompetent. He more than doubled the company’s sales and earnings.  But when his extravagant compensation attracted criticism, he not only refused to apologize for it, he stifled discussion at the company’s annual meeting, convincing the directors to stay away, limiting shareholder questions to one minute, and gaveling the proceedings to a close after 30 minutes. Nardelli’s disingenuousness was a more serious blunder than incompetence would have been.  Within months, the company’s directors had little choice but to show him to the checkout line.

On the other hand, when Jack Welch was criticized for the extravagance of his retirement package, he renounced many of the benefits and wrote an apologetic piece for the Wall Street Journal.  Welch pulled himself out of a hole; Nardelli kept digging.  One dealt with reality; the other thought he could manage perceptions.  Perceptions can wreck reputations and move markets, but trying to manage them directly is like pretending to direct the wind. CEOs and boards go astray when they spend more time tending to perception than to the reality that underlies it. No one can win an argument with perceptions; it’s smarter to figure out where they come from, make a clean break and build new perceptions through concrete actions. In the end, that’s what the Home Depot board did.

Sometimes, repairing a brand means eating crow. In 2004, Japanese regulators kicked Citigroup’s private banking operations out of the country for lapses that allowed some customers to launder money and manipulate stock prices. It was a severe blow to the company’s new CEO, Chuck Prince, who was already dealing with regulatory problems in the U.S. But instead of fighting the decision, Prince presided at a Tokyo news conference where he personally apologized for the company’s lapses, bowing deeply from the waist, eyes fixed on the ground, in the Japanese way. He also put all the bank’s Japanese operations under one executive who he charged with improving internal controls. But Prince knew none of that had a chance of working unless he won back the trust of customers and regulators.  His unusual apology demonstrated that he was in tune with both. By 2006, Citigroup had recovered sufficient brand capital to credibly expand its corporate finance and investment banking businesses in the country. By taking quick, personal action, Citigroup minimized questions about its sincerity and won the benefit of the doubt that it could restore its competency.

Making amends can also mean giving something back. When AT&T’s nationwide telephone network suddenly stopped working for nine hours in January of 1990, the company knew it not only meant people couldn’t make phone calls, but that they had lost something they thought they could count on.  They felt betrayed, victims of technology they didn’t understand and couldn’t control. That’s why the company authorized its operators to help customers make calls on competitors’ networks until AT&T’s was restored.  And that’s why when the network was fixed the company announced a special Valentine’s Day discount for all customers.  Few customers defected, most credited the company with doing the right thing.

One of the biggest mistakes CEOs make is to ignore the emotional content that can arise from either component of trust. Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to a federal officer, but few of her fans connected that insincerity to her brand promise. Accusations of high-handed behavior towards her staff are a bigger problem for Stewart because they raise questions about the generosity of spirit supposedly at the core of her domestic competencies. Whatever the financial consequences, the Vioxx suits filed against Merck will have an even more devastating impact on the company if juries find it guilty of insincerity rather than incompetence. Halliburton’s brand suffered from the double-barreled charges of influence peddling and false billing (insincerity) as well as accusations that its work was shoddy (incompetence).

Repairing a brand must start with an honest assessment of damage to both components of trust. Then a brand owner can move on to acknowledgment, apology, amends and action.  But brand repair is seldom linear. Perceptions always lag reality and backsliding is common. Once people feel wronged, it’s very difficult to win them back. But making a clean break with the past, focusing on what matters to them, and demonstrating through action that you get it can help restore their trust.


Glocal Not Global

Many U.S. companies are wasting their time trying to figure out how to build a global image. Wrong question.

On Champs-Elysées, Via Del Corso, Shibuya, or any other shopping street around the world, geographic reach is relevant in only a few industries such as shipping or telecommunications. For most products, local savvy matters much more.  Successful companies learned that long ago.

For example, the mint flavored toothpaste P&G shipped to Britain after World War II gathered dust on store shelves. It seems British consumers at the time associated wintergreen with liniment to be rubbed on sore muscles, not brushed on their teeth. When P&G entered China in the late 1980s, it sent researchers into people’s homes to watch how they did laundry, changed the baby, and brushed their teeth. What resulted were products that conformed to the tastes and customs of customers. Jasmine-flavored toothpaste reflects the belief that jasmine tea is good for bad breath. Today, P&G leads in four of the seven market segments where it competes in China.

The appropriate question is how to build a “glocal brand,” i.e., one that leverages global resources to meet local needs. Glocal brands have assimilated into the countries where they do business; they share their customers’ cares and their dreams. They have a local face and have sunk deep roots.

Those lessons have direct application to another issue that should bother U.S. executives more than it does -- what to do about growing anti-American sentiment. Dealing with that problem also begins with better listening and responsiveness to people’s legitimate desires to share in their own version of the American Dream. Indeed, anti-Americanism may be rooted in a broad perception that we have forgotten  what it means to be an American.