P&G's Chetna Soni: "Brands Have A Responsibility To Make The World A Better Place"

25 Mar, 2021

Brands should inject purpose into the DNA of their business, says P&G's Senior Director and Category Head Chetna Soni.

As the Senior Director and Category Head of P&G ISC Feminine Care, Chetna Soni oversees a team focused on marketing for feminine care products across the Indian subcontinent.

Her work is closely interwoven with a campaign to keep girls in school in India, which links to her Shiny New Object: purpose-led brand building. Combining a vocation for being a force for good with a brand’s marketing work is key to driving societal changes, according to Chetna.

In her marketing career, Chetna has held various positions within Procter & Gamble, working for brands in feminine care and hair care. The best investment she’s made in her career during this time is the time she has spent outside the office, speaking to consumers and understanding their needs and the context in which they use P&G products.

Chetna tries to have one of these consumer conversations at least once a month, even despite the travel and face-to-face meeting restrictions imposed by the pandemic. In a non-Covid world, such conversations coupled with meeting in the person’s house would help her better understand the environment her end users live in.

This becomes especially relevant when we discuss Chetna’s work with Whisper, the feminine care brand she leads at the moment, and how this relates to her Shiny New Object, purpose-led brand building.

A very important part of Chetna’s work has been the “Keep Girls in School” campaign, which aims to guide girls through puberty and prevent them from dropping out of school. Nearly 20% of Indian girls stop going to school after they start getting their periods, concerned and embarrassed by this step in their lives.

This is caused by a lack of information as well as shame. Therefore, Chetna’s work to market sanitary napkins to girls is not just about selling a product, but also about increasing girls’ chances of getting an education.

“Brands are one of the most pervasive forces in the world and they have a responsibility to make it a better place,” Chetna thinks. Any type of media shapes how we perceive things, so she believes that brands can ensure they do purpose-led brand building and deliver changes in society that will benefit end-users.

How can brands do this?

“Don’t create a force-for-good campaign just because everyone is doing it, there must be a very clear link between your work and what you stand for as a brand,” says Chetna.

Secondly, brands don’t just need to restrict themselves to a marketing campaign in order to make an impact.
The purpose – or force for good calling – needs to be embedded in all aspects of the business, becoming part of the DNA of the organisation.
To find out more about Chetna’s best marketing tips, her work on supporting girls’ education and more advice on leading a force-for-good campaign on any budget, listen to the podcast here.

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