This isn’t (quite) goodbye

When I first joined strategy as a reporter in 2000, securing an interview with anyone from Procter & Gamble was virtually impossible. You never got past the guarded PR department, and a spokesperson certainly wouldn't give away any trade secrets. In fact, you were lucky to pull the most basic, public knowledge type of info from them.

When I first joined strategy as a reporter in 2000, securing an interview with anyone from Procter & Gamble was virtually impossible. You never got past the guarded PR department, and a spokesperson certainly wouldn’t give away any trade secrets. In fact, you were lucky to pull the most basic, public knowledge type of info from them.

If you had told me then that I would be sitting down with the president of P&G Canada in five-and-a-half years to discuss topics such as internal structure, research processes,

and ad spend, I would have thought you’d accidentally inhaled the fumes of an extremely

potent cleanser.

But last month, I did sit down with Toronto-based Tim Penner, (in addition to global marketing officer Jim Stengel in April), to craft the Biz feature ‘Inside P&G’ starting on page 13. The leaders shared how their operational structure has been reorganized so that marketers have more interaction with other departments, as well as how research methods have been broadened to include in-house and in-store observational study and how the firm is aligning with new partners to better engage the consumer.

P&G’s newfound openness is a promising sign for the marketing industry for a couple of reasons. For one thing, if a behemoth machine like that can be recast as an innovative powerhouse, others should be able to reinvigorate themselves as well. Also, the fact that P&G is willing to chat about its experiences means others will probably follow suit, and that in turn translates into a bigger forum in which to exchange ideas and learn from the missteps and successes

of others.

Having joined strategy during the dot-com implosion and witnessing the effects of 9/11 and the resulting recession on marketing budgets, a bout of candidness, not to mention optimism, is long overdue. So I’m glad to be leaving the magazine on such a high note.

Yes, you’ve read right. Like so many folks in the ad biz, I’ve decided to strike out on my own as a freelancer. After a decade of magazine journalism, the notion of enjoying more variety in my writing and editing assignments is appealing. Having said that, I will continue to contribute to strategy on a regular basis, which I’m happy about, as it means I will remain tuned into an industry that I have thoroughly enjoyed covering over the years.

I’ll be leaving this magazine in the capable hands of executive editor Mary Maddever, who no doubt will continue to deliver on the ‘bold vision brand new ideas’ tagline.

So this isn’t goodbye. I plan to keep the lines of communication open. I hope you do too.

Lisa D’Innocenzo, ldinnocenzo@rogers.com