On May 13th 1931, at Proctor and Gamble’s offices in Cincinnati, Neil McElroy crafted an internal memorandum that would shape the American marketing industry.  His three page memo was written to persuade executives to hire two more people to assist with his account, the Camay Soap brand. What came out of this document was the revolutionary idea of brand management as a business technique.

He believed that brands not only needed one person in charge of them but assistant brand managers as well as “Check-up people.” In other words, there should be a substantial team devoted to thinking about every marketing aspect of one brand. Each brand deserved individual attention and each person should have a specific job. This concept would decentralize decision making in a large corporation such at P&G and allow for the most informed person make decisions about the brand.

McElroy expressed ten pillars he felt were important. Today, these pillars are standards in brand management. As you read through these marketing mainstays think about how you use each one to support and reinforce your brand.

  • Learning. Share best practices within your organization and apply them to your brand.
  • Field Research. McElroy suggests that the brand manager talk to “both dealers and consumers – in order to find out the trouble.”
  • Funding. “You need to be sure that the amount of money proposed can be expected to produce results at a reasonable cost per case.”
  • Brand Training. Meet with your sales force one-on-one.
  • Measurement. McElroy emphasizes the importance of keeping records and making “whatever field studies are necessary to determine whether the plan has produced the expected results.”
  • Responsibility. The brand manager assumes complete responsibility for brand strategy, advertising expenditures, and packaging.
  • Focus. Brand managers should only be responsible for one account as to ensure they fulfill the duties listed above.
  • Brand first. There is a difference between a Salesman and a “brand man”
  • Relations. For the best result, Branding and sales teams need to work together cordially
  • Support. A tiered marketing team with varying levels or responsibility is the best structure for brand management

McElroy’s concepts soon became common practice for Proctor and Gamble as well as many other corporations at the time. 80 years after these ideas were first put to paper McElroy’s words still ring true.  DNA says “Thank You” to Neil McElroy for sharing his revolutionary ideas and introducing brand management to the marketing world.