Procter & Gamble

A business history bestseller marked the beginning of a client relationship lasting more than a decade.

Procter & Gamble is the quintessential learning enterprise. For well over a century, the company has cultivated a highly disciplined, intensely analytical approach to doing business, habitually asking what works, what doesn’t, and why. As Ed Artzt, P&G’s former chairman and CEO, put it: “If . . . we become very disciplined in the way we examine our history, learn from it, and extract lessons from it, and then convert those lessons into principles for the future, then we will make far, far fewer mistakes. And our success rate will increase dramatically.”

With this mind, P&G commissioned Winthrop to research and write a full-scale history of the company, with a focus on the evolution of P&G brands. Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble charts the turning points and defining moments in the growth of a marketing powerhouse. It explores key product innovations, like Ivory soap, and explains how P&G developed new marketing techniques to transform everyday household items into iconic brands.

A business best seller when it was published in 2004, the book is still in print some 10 years later. It has also been an invaluable resource for P&G: to train new employees, to educate partners and customers in P&G’s culture, and, through video footage, interviews, images, artifacts, and other material we gathered during this project, to support a website focused on brand heritage.

In 2013, P&G engaged Winthrop to produce another work, this time for its Customer Business Development organization. Entitled The Long Blue Line: A History of Selling at Procter & Gamble, the richly illustrated book traces 175 years of selling at P&G and the distinctive role the sales function has played helping the company adapt to formidable changes in the consumer goods industry.