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PRSummit: ‘To Reap Big Rewards You Have To Take Risks’

Asia Pacific, EMEA, Global, North America

Arun Sudhaman 13 Nov 2013

MIAMI—A group of senior marketers called on PR people to take more risks if they hope to turn their programs into genuine business success stories.

The comments were made at a session called ‘Having the Guts For Glory’, led by MMC Health and Well-Being EVP Diana Littman-Paige, who pointed out: “In a world with so much uncertainty, most companies tend to retreat towards what is safe.”

Each of the three marketers on the panel recounted their experiences leading a successful marketing program that had displayed a measure of bravery in tackling specific issues they were facing in the marketplace. As Ambre Brown Morley, director of product communications at Novo Nordisk, pointed out “to reap big rewards you have to take risks.”

Brown Morley was speaking in relation to Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug campaign, which utilised controversial US celebrity Paula Deen to strike a chord with consumers. While the program proved controversial in media terms, it delivered strong business results.

Jay Sethi, brand manager at P&G, explained how Covergirl had turned around its business after years of declining market share. “The first part of having guts is about embracing the hard truths,” said Sethi. “We weren’t cool anymore.”

That decline was arrested via a focus on innovation; edgier advertising; and partnerships with Hunger Games and the NFL.

Kimberly-Clark director of North American consumer products Elizabeth Metz has had considerable success from her award-winning ‘Great American Try-On’ campaign for Depend.  While the company has been the butt of jokes, she pointed out that the company decided to “run straight at it” instead of “running away from it and fearing it.”

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