Why Ajax and Google Were Careful Not to “Toss Out Their Babies with the Bathwater”

Many basic marketing principles aren’t different in today’s Internet Age than back in the “white knight” sixties. It’s just that there are lots more options, more/different places to buy, and the consumer is now in charge. Marketers need to realize their brand’s core perceptual strength(s) and not try to be all things to all people. It’s hard enough to create a strong niche. Be careful not to water it down.

Back in my Madison Avenue days I handled Colgate Palmolive’s Ajax Laundry Detergent and new products. Colgate wanted to introduce a cold water detergent based on exciting new marketing research results which revealed strong consumer interest. Wisely, it was considered unwise to launch a cold water laundry detergent under the Ajax umbrella because “Stronger than Dirt” requires hot water to work effectively on tough grime. Besides, the research confirmed that cold water washing’s primary perceived benefit was prevention of colors running or fading, not tough dirt removal. So Cold Power Laundry Detergent was introduced under it’s own name and became very successful despite the fact that according to my brand manager, the original Cold Power Laundry Detergent was Ajax in a different box. But it was successful because it filled a consumer need and didn’t try to be all things to all people. Six months later was it perfected for cold water.

blog1 blog2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH2solqGM2k                      Ajax Laundry Detergent

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Google applied the same principle of protecting its “core strength” when they created the Alphabet umbrella corporate name to keep their Google Internet Services distinct. Alphabet permits them to operate in other business categories (technology, life sciences, investment capital and research) without diffusing their core image. Like they say, “Don’t forget who brought you to the dance.”

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