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How Companies Keep Their Most Popular Products Fresh

Jun 3, 2024

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Google is perhaps the biggest and most famous company on the planet, but in a century how many people will have heard about it? A stupid question you might think, but not really, not when you look at the best examples from the past.

Remember Swift & Co? What about WR Grace or El DuPont? They were three of the biggest companies of 1924 and barely anyone today would know them, let alone companies from a hundred years prior to that.

The reason that we don’t all know about the companies mentioned above is because they didn’t diversify or adapt sufficiently to keep up with a changing business landscape. Whereas some of the smaller companies from that time like Procter & Gamble did.

That company was set up in 1837 by an English candle maker called William Procter and an Irish soap maker called James Gambler. Unsurprisingly the company specialised in soap and candles for the first few decades of its existence.

As time wore on though, Procter & Gamble began to diversify, not just by expanding overseas but also by increasing their range of products and taking advantage of technological advances. P&G began to manufacture food products, toilet paper, laundry detergent, disposable diapers and many other products.

In addition to that the company became the biggest sponsors of American TV and radio from the 1930s, even sponsoring and producing a number of soap operas, something it did right up until 2010.

Between 1930 and 2000 P&G not only continued to diversify by creating a greater range of products but also by aggressively buying out competitors and other leading brands in similar industries. During this time P&G acquired brands that specialised in snack foods, pet food, breakfast cereals and deodorants and perfumes to name but a few.

(Procter and Gamble are a company with their fingers in way more pies than you would imagine.)

In the company’s 186 years of existence then, it’s safe to say that P&G has diversified and moved with the times to keep its products fresh and its profits rising. Last year the company employed 107,000 people around the globe and posted annual revenue figures of $82.01 billion, all of which points to a thriving company.

So, what current day businesses with much shorter histories are embodying P&G’s spirit of diversification in a bid to avoid the fate of Swift & Co, WR Grace and El DuPont? Here are a few:

Gambling Companies

Rather than singling out a specific company for this example we instead wanted to shine the spotlight on the industry as a whole. Throughout the centuries gambling has shown itself to be resistant to change and enduring in the hearts of men.

One recent innovation that has made it much more likely to endure than at any point before is the advent of online gambling. Gamblers now have plenty of choice when they head online, of course, there is still the traditional roulette table, as well as thousands of online slots and countless other games. Nearly half of the gross gambling yield in the UK (which includes lotteries and sports wagering) comes from online casinos.

It’s a move reminiscent of P&Gs early adoption of radio and television advertising, which is sure to guarantee the existence of contemporary gambling companies in the year 2124.

Google

Okay, we admit it, we used Google’s name in the first paragraph of this article somewhat provocatively as we’re almost certain that people in one hundred years’ time will know all about Google.

That’s because the company are already diversifying and are at the cutting edge of technology. Not content with being the world’s biggest and most trusted browser, Google create phones, they specialise in advertising and analytics and are now at the forefront of AI research and development.

So in the year 2124, we firmly expect Google to still be one of the biggest companies on the planet.

(Google are right at the coalface of AI development, an industry which is set to dominate the world in the coming decades.)

In Summary

There is a blueprint to lasting longevity when it comes to global companies and that blueprint lies in diversification. 100 years ago the average person in the UK spent their spare money on vastly different products than we do now and the same will be true in 2124.

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The companies that prove themselves capable of adapting to the changes in customer habits brought on by technological advancements will be the ones that persist well into the 22nd century and beyond. Those who don’t will be consigned to the past.


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