July 15, 2014

10 Things I Learned from Working in P&G.

It’s not You, It’s me.

After almost six years working in P&G I let my heart lead the way and decided to do the right thing, to follow my personal values and principles and prioritize my personal life over career.

  This decision wasn’t hard but it was certainly emotional one and I believe I made it at the right moment in my life. I never thought I would say that, but I got tired of traveling and moving from Zagreb to Maryland, Connecticut, New York,  Zagreb again then Budapest. I finally decided to settle for a while in Barcelona.

      Obviously, there is more then just ten things I learned from working in ER (officially External Relations but in all reality I learned it’s rather Emergency Rescue) department of P&G, but as a PR person and a blogger I know that article title which start with number and seems like it’s out of a self-help book or looks like a tutorial with useful information attracts more attention and generates more clicks. ;)


Multitasking, good personal and team organization skills and knowing how to set priorities are most important to survive daily work in P&G and to grow within the company but also as a person and as an entrepreneur.  Always know your personal and your businesses ROI but when making tough decisions - put people first. From day one of working in P&G you will be assigned to do real meaningful work, you will not be asked to make coffees, print and copy all day long.



Toilet paper, fabric detergent, deodorant, tampon or a perfume - P&G people will build an emotional, funny or super creative story around it which is relevant and impactful for HER - mother, women, sister, girlfriend, family’s decision maker when choosing and buying P&G products.

Even though in difficult times when I was working late in the night for days in a row, be it on super important project or crises management I tried to tell myself: “We sell diapers and toilet paper, it’s not that serious, it can wait until tomorrow!” but then I would again end up checking and double and triple checking written materials, aligning it with a team just to make sure we haven’t missed anything important before sending it out to public to see.


Don’t send mixed messages out to public about your brand. It’s actually simple, kind of like dating.  Use same visuals, claims, look and feel of your brand in all channels you use for promotion and sales, from Facebook to store shelf, website and TV. Make all of your messages simple, clear, relevant and useful. Always use KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid (this last one is my personal rule really, as corporations tend to complicate it to the max sometimes).


One of the common mistakes Proctoroids make is using internal, P&G language and acronyms known to P&Gers only (and these also change often) with external partners or even worse, when speaking publicly or when talking with your family and friends.  This is something I was consciously trying to avoid since I joined the company. There is no value to what you are saying if no one can understand you.


I cannot claim I master this skill fully, I learn it and repeat it to myself daily. The golden rule is to listen more then you talk. If you don’t listen and learn from your external environment, monitor and follow competitors or people more successful then you, you will never progress. Listen to understand, ask questions, repeat and reconfirm to ensure you give proper respect, motivate and learn from your consumers, customers, colleagues and competitors. If you don’t listen and understand the market needs and problems, you will not know how to respond to them with your products and services.


P&G is the company of people, good quality, entrepreneurial people, this is why it is so powerful and successful. People who work in the company are the companies most valuable asset, it’s heart and it's brain. It is a company of people committed to do the right thing for the business and each other, all day, every day. This is what differs from and raises P&G above the competition. It is important for the company to recognize, grow and develop leaders who will know to value and put it’s people and their well being first. This doesn’t always happen as not all people are made to be leaders and people managers, but as long as majority are, the company will strive.


Speak out. Make a difference. Take responsibility for your decisions. To be a leader it takes more then just  knowing the business. You need to be a genuinely good person, care for others, have a natural charisma, self confidence and positive energy in which people will believe in, be motivated by and follow. During my five year career in P&G I had a chance to meet, work with and learn from some amazing, fun and charismatic leaders: Srdan, Andrea, Hossam - thank you! I learned that it is important to set ego aside and act as a human, partner and a team member first to external and internal colleagues and then as a manager once important business decisions need to be made.


Amazing thing about P&G are trainings and coaching we get from our managers on a daily basics (thank you Malgosia) but also via internal academy online and live courses which teach us all from PR basics like how to write a message track, what to look for in a press release etc. but also social media novelties delivered directly by Facebook, Twitter and Youtube P&G dedicated teams.

Just as we are sourcing knowledge from external and internal experts, so are we encouraged to generously share it with our agency and other company partners.  It’s important to never be selfish with knowledge and to patiently share it with less experienced colleagues and partners as this is the only way for any business to grow and develop.


One of the first things one learns in P&G as part of one of the many internal trainings is how to write proper emails and conduct productive conference calls with clear objectives, assigned roles and next steps. Just when I started working more with external partners I realized how important is to have a proper structure of calls and emails in order to be fast and productive. Ouu, and most importantly, how to set emotions aside and never let them show in written or spoken correspondence.


First impression matters, so does second and third! If you can’t put yourself together, what are you gonna do with all of the business tasks trusted to you by the company?

As all of the other corporations P&G has a business dress code but if one has no style or sense of fashion, any dress code will be open for tragic interpretation. Golden rules are not to wear anything dirty, nothing ripped or with wholes, not to baggy, not to short (girls not more then a tump length over the knee - if you are young, skinny and fabulous). Simple solution is to wear natural fabrics and avoid artificial materials.

MEN - button ups with short sleeves are a no-go, especially not with a tie, be sure your shoes are clean and your suite and button ups are non-wrinkle and fitted. You don’t need to follow latest fashion trends, but you do need to look clean. Also, there is more business casual looks then a polo shirt with humongous logo and a denim or khaki’s to match.

WOMEN - I noticed a lot of cultural differences when interpreting the dress code, some I dare to say were criminal so I am starting with an obvious: always wear a bra to work, dress code applies to summer months as well, colorful thighs and mini-skirts are for little girls under age of five and by no circumstances are to be worn by grown women.

Smart pencil dresses or skirts with no cleavage are always a simple, elegant and easy outfit for work complimented with cardigan or a suite jacket in winter and with elegant flats in summer. You can always add personality to your business looks with a beautiful piece of jewelry. Wear heels you can walk in, otherwise you will look unstable, in more ways then just one, if you work in PR, learn to run in heels and always wear spare flats in your purse.


  1. <3 great things to write about the company you worked with! As part of a global company too, I can see myslelf in many of this points. Wish you all the luck in your new life (and job)!