800,000 Facebook Fans, Main Street USA, and the Familiar Scent of Tide Laundry Detergent

There is a fascinating piece by Andrew Martin in the New York Times today that says a lot about smart branding strategy — as practiced by Procter and Gamble.The story discusses a new franchise opportunity that P&G is offering to small business owners —to open dry cleaning establishments. The dry cleaners will be called Tide Dry Cleaners. Here’s their website. The idea: P&G’s marketing muscle (Tide’s Facebook page alone has more than 800,000 fans) will help drive people into the stores. And to many, the stores will feel (or at least smell) like home. The familiar scent of Tide will be infused strategically in the air and the dry-cleaning fluids.Small business owners will own and operate these franchises — and hopefully make good livings at it.And the kicker for P&G (assuming all this works — Martin points out a number of possible pitfalls) is that Main Street, USA will become a free billboard for their staple detergent. Driving people to purchase Tide in the supermarket.Tying it all together like this (sometimes this is called “integrated marketing”) can be such an elegant thing!BTW, this type of thinking need not be limited to large entities like P&G. Smaller companies might be able to go to such lengths as described here — but almost every company has under-leveraged “real estate” of one form or another that they can use to push their message and brand.

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