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Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble Hardcover – July 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This volume, by a history professor (Olegario) and two partners at a consulting firm, chronicles Procter & Gamble's development, particularly how the company has long emphasized development and marketing of products that can dominate categories. Sanctioned by P&G, which provided the authors access to archives, this detailed tome is an exhaustive record from P&G's founding in 1837 and first growth spurt as a candle and soap supplier to soldiers during the Civil War through today's innovations in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Before delving into the history, the authors briefly discuss five principles that define the company, including an emphasis on consumer brands and a willingness to experiment. The minutiae included in this book is occasionally tedious, but the profiles of product launches are both appealing and informative. The discussion of fluoride encompasses a look at tooth decay: "Today, it is difficult to imagine just how bad the problem of tooth decay was in the first half of the twentieth century. Most people were afflicted, and the most common treatment was the painful extraction of the affected teeth." Furthermore, the sections on toxic shock (product difficulties) and global expansion (business challenges) are particularly insightful. This is a solid company history that will appeal to a wide audience including MBA students, employees at P&G's rivals and others in advertising, marketing and consumer products businesses.
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Review

"Rising Tide" is a readable account of P&G's...success at inventing and sustaining a vast range of brands in markets. -- The Economist, July 24, 2004

"Rising Tide" is full of interesting stories. -- Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591391474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591391470
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul Eckler on February 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble," by Davis Dyer, Frederick Dalzell, and Rowena Olegario, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 2004. This 467 p. hardback tells the story of Procter & Gamble from its founding in 1837 as a candle and soap manufacturer in what was then Porkopolis, now Cincinnati. William Procter and James A. Gamble were married to sisters, Olivia and Elizabeth Ann Norris. The location proved well suited to the national market with nearby hog processing offering suitable raw materials, and access to New Orleans via the Ohio River system and the eastern seaboard via the Miami Canal completed in 1840 and the Erie Canal. Railroads soon followed.

A key player in the early company was James Norris Gamble, son of the founder, who studied chemistry, undertook analysis of competitive soap products and experimented with new raw materials such as vegetable oils. As kerosene and gaslights began to replace candles, the emphasis shifted toward soap-making.

One of the initial new developments was Ivory, a soap based on vegetable oils that floats. The story that it resulted from a soapmaker over cooking a batch of soap is discredited. P&G had been interested in floating soap at least since 1863. The goal was a quality soap from readily available raw materials. The Ivory name, selected from a Bible verse, was trademarked in 1879. In 1884, fire destroyed the lard oil factory. P&G took the opportunity to rebuild a modern, efficient plant, Ivorydale. It was located on the outskirts of town on a site well suited to shipment by rail.

Crisco came to market in 1912, after an independent scientist, EC Kayer, approached P&G with hydrogenation technology that converted liquid oils to solid fats.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nearly Nubile on August 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Little needs to be said for an account, any account, much less a peppy one that reads like a veritable 'soap' opera, of a company that spends close to US$ 5 billion p.a. on advertising alone.

It is by definition a must-read for anyone even on the periphery of the marketing industry, and Yours Truly can vouch for the insightful trivia you'll pick up along the way if you hang your shingle in the media circles.

But the sheer strategic sweep that the authors have packed into this treatise on what kept Ivory afloat (beyond watery puns) will make it a worthwhile read for just about anyone in business. The singular most significant take-away being the allocation of media budgets a century ago versus how things stand today.

Interesting thoughts and riveting reminiscences wrapped in sprightly prose. Recommended in a blink.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jay Friedman on October 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up to read more about P&Gs expert brand management strategies. The subtitle being "Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Proctor & Gamble" certainly suggested I would learn about P&G's branding strategies. Yes, there is a 'bit' of this but this is primarily a corporate history and not a marketing book. It's well-written, thorough, and intelligent, but it's just very incorrectly titled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paduraru George Mihail on May 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book is excellent for those who really want to know about the strategy of a giant such as P&G. For me, it was particularly useful since I'm writing my disertation thesis on this and the book was exactly what I needed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought it as a reference guide. Didn't realize Procter & Gamble had been around so long. I'm glad the company decided to do its own story that way you know what did happen because they include the mistakes as well as the successes. It seems they developed the right mission statement and allow people to use their imagination. I remember Ivory soap from my childhood.
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