Hispanic TV Summit: A Conversation With P&G's Sandoval


Procter & Gamble general manager of North America marketing Edgar Sandoval will receive the “Lifetime of Achievement in Hispanic Television” award from Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable on Sept. 24 at the seventh annual Hispanic Television Summit in New York.

The award recognizes P&G's longstanding efforts on behalf of Hispanic TV and the Hispanic community. Sandoval recently spoke with MCN executive editor, special reports George Vernadakis about P&G's early commitment to the Hispanic population, how the company approaches consumers in general, and how it targets Hispanic consumers in particular.

An edited transcript follows.

Q: How would you sum up P&G's overall marketing philosophy, in terms of how you approach the consumer?

Edgar Sandoval: The consumer is at the center of everything we do. [P&G CEO] A.G. [Lafley] coined the term “the consumer is boss,” and I can tell you I've lived that. It's more than just a term, it's a way of doing business and that's what we're dedicated to doing.

It drives our company marketing strategy, it drives our innovation strategy, it drives our communication strategies. It really is, I believe, at the core of everything we do at P&G.

[In terms of the Hispanic consumer], we believe this consumer is very discerning, very smart; and therefore we spend a lot of our time just sharing with them what our brands and our products can do for them. We believe we provide a great value on all of our products to them.

Q: P&G's commitment to the Hispanic TV audience goes back nearly 50 years, with the company's first Spanish-language TV commercial. What do you think fueled P&G's early attention to the Hispanic space?

ES: I think it goes back to the core of who we are as a company. We are all about the consumers.

I spend a lot of time in homes, going to stores, doing shop-alongs; and that's how you stay in touch with reality and what's needed to win in the marketplace.

I'm sure that my predecessors were doing the same things 50 years ago and realized that there was an emerging community that needed to be served that was being underserved.

And one of the things we want to do as a company is serve more consumers, touch more consumers' lives around the world, serve the underserved and serve the consumers that are not getting all their needs met.

I think that might have been the genesis of our start in the Hispanic market in the U.S. 50 years ago. And that commitment is equally important today.

I wasn't here 50 years ago, but I tell you, it feels very strong today and I think a big part of it is the fact that we try to stay in touch with the market. And that the numbers, the current reality of the country, is significantly influenced by these consumers and the future will be even more.

But it's an imperative for our company to make sure that we touch the lives of these consumers and in return they reward us with choosing our brands when they have to make a selection in the store.

Q: As the Hispanic population continues to grow and as they reach out for information across more platforms, how do your efforts to connect with them evolve?

ES:Because we're so consumer-centric, we look for them and we look to communicate with them and talk with them and have a dialogue with them where and when they're most receptive.

So multimedia platforms are critical.

Our consumers are engaging in more mediums everyday and so we are smartly going and seeking to understand how they are engaging, where is it more effective and making sure that we are there and that we're being relevant — not intrusive, but relevant — and can establish a relationship with them in the mediums that they choose to use.

Q: In terms of initiatives specifically aimed at Hispanic consumers, can you speak about how they were crafted and executed with that community in mind?

ES: We have so many different brands, so many efforts going on.

The way we try to approach it is, we try to understand again what are the consumer needs, what are the unmet consumer needs, how can we improve their lives and we take it from there.

So, for instance, one of the brands that I'm very proud of the work that we've done is Crest. With Crest, we've been able to identify the fact that a healthy mouth, a beautiful smile, goes a long way in the lives of our consumers to help them succeed in their broader life challenges. So it all starts with no cavities, fresh breath, healthy mouth and beautiful smile.

But it goes beyond that. There's a big emotional element of looking your best and having your most radiant and healthy smile as you face the challenges of a new country, the challenges of having to find a job, of having to keep a job, of having to establish relationships where we don't have them.

So we try to bring the full perspective, the full meaning of oral care to the way we tell a story and the way we present our brand to these consumers.

And, in turn, they have been rewarding us tremendously with their votes on brands like Crest Pro Health and Crest With Scope; they're two of our best sellers among that audience for the Hispanic market.

So it's more than just selling them a product. It's helping them achieve their life dreams and being a tool for them, even if it's just a small tool in that bigger journey.

Q: During your time at P&G, have there been any specific mentors or standout moments professionally?

ES: I have been blessed with just a lot of different relationships at Procter, be it a boss or people that work for me, that have all touched and improved my life.

I can't single out anyone in particular but I can tell you that from the moment I walked through the door as a summer intern until today, I've always felt the support of everyone around me.

It's like a family here and we're trying to serve more consumers and improve more lives; and that's one of the main reasons I've stayed because I've always felt supported.

I've always felt like I'm learning from others and I've always felt stretched and growing.