Stengel: Private Label, Digital Change Game

Although it’s been nearly six months since he left his post, these days, Jim Stengel, the 53-year-old former global marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, is as busy as ever. Stengel is working on a book, Packaged Good, due out next year, and is a marketing consultant to clients in the healthcare, retail and food industries. (Stengel didn’t name names, but since he signed a three-year noncompete agreement with his former employer, they don’t conflict with P&G.) On top of that, he recently joined the advisory board of marketing analytics firm MarketShare Partners and has access to more than 350 designers at his office (within LPK) in Cincinnati. Now a free agent, Stengel was able to speak freely on P&G’s competitors, other brands he admires and the state of the industry. Some excerpts from his conversation are below:
Brandweek: Give us a snapshot of what a typical “Day in the Life of Jim Stengel” is like if there is such a thing?
Jim Stengel: I’m wearing jeans a lot more. I’m dressing much more casually. I’m investigating new ideas even more. I’m meeting a lot of new people. I’m spending time in a lot of diverse locations and so, I’d say, a typical day could be, get up in the morning, work out/exercise, take a few calls from home, do a video conference, work a little on the book, call a few people, work with a few of my consulting clients on email and so on. It’s just much more flexible, much more of my own kind of pace and design. I think I’m as busy as I was at P&G. It’s just different things that are keeping me occupied.
BW: Life post-P&G: Do you miss it? Are there days where you wake up thinking you could still be revolutionizing marketing at the world’s most powerful packaged goods institution? Or, are you finding you are making an even bigger impact on your own with this think tank consultancy you’ve started?
JS: I think I had a big impact at P&G. I was there seven years [as global marketing officer]. I did everything I wanted to do. I think I now have a big impact on my own in touching a lot of different people and companies in a different way than I could at P&G. But P&G will always be special to me. I won’t consult with companies that compete with P&G. (I won’t do that.) At this point in my life, through the book, through teaching, through networks, through consulting, I can get ideas out there in a way I couldn’t at P&G. And you know, I love the people at P&G, I love the purpose of the company, I think they continue to live that and I’m very proud of what I did for the company, but I’m really enjoying what I’m doing now. There is a time for everything.
BW: How is Packaged Good going?
JS: I’m really excited that work has begun on a global study that will be the foundation of the book. The study will look at brands around the world that have created tremendous financial value over a long period of time and it will look at how they do marketing differently and derive principles from that. These principles will form the backbone of a rethinking of marketing that I will bring to life in the book.  We will talk to a large number of people in five countries to see if they understand what those brands are projecting, to ensure that their brand ideals and values are relevant and meaningful to consumers.