How Colgate-Palmolive Is Using Startup Technology to Better Understand its Customers

Colgate-Palmolive is a global organization that has heavily invested in building a deep understanding of its customers to help improve their daily lives. Partnering with Plug and Play, they built quick, commercial relationships that enriched Colgate’s graph of knowledge on their customers, their behavior, and their future needs.

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  • Brand & Retail
  • 2017
    Year they joined Plug and Play
  • 250
    Startups Screened
  • 30+
    Dealflow Sessions
  • New York

Scouting for the most innovative startups

Gary Binstock, Director of Technology for Tech Scouting at Colgate-Palmolive, explained that the company was eager to learn about the new areas shaping the future, such as crowdsourcing consumer research using IoT technology or selling products in the moment-of-need to a younger, increasingly mobile, audience. Driven to understand these developments and Colgate’s customers better, in 2019, Gary moved to the Bay Area for a full-time in-residence assignment at the Plug and Play headquarters.

“In just 10 weeks of me being here we’ve heard 250 startup pitches, 30 private dealflow sessions, and at least 3 projects moving forward. In a very short time, the Colgate-Palmolive team in the Bay Area has some tangible results under our belt to take back to the head office on the East Coast.” - Gary Binstock, Director of Technology for Tech Scouting at Colgate-Palmolive

Colgate Customer Success Brand Retail

The First Taste of Success

Through Plug and Play’s ‘Brand & Retail’ selection day, Gary discovered Bobly which has become a key customer success project for Colgate. Bobly sets up mobile engagement centers, kiosks if you will, that engage consumers in various places – in malls, airports or, interestingly for Colgate, in dental offices.

“Bobly allows us to reach consumers and engage them in places where they're primed to make a purchase or learn more about our products,” Gary explains, “it's a great way to get to the younger generation in particular who do more in-the-moment shopping.”
Colgate Customer Success Brand Retail

“Innovation projects are not just driving, sales or profitability. They're driving investment into Colgate-Palmolive’s future.”

Kiosks are R&D

For Gary and his colleagues, the opportunity to engage customers in the moment of purchase is very valuable. They also receive completely new types of engagement analytics and the customer’s contact info to continue the engagement later.

In return, the customer gets to play a game, such as a roulette wheel or a challenge, and receive an instant discount. They even have the ability to dispense samples directly from the kiosk. Gary is visibly excited about Colgate’s partnership with Bobly, “the project now has a dedicated team pushing it forward at a significant scale.

Colgate Customer Success Brand Retail

Tapping into the Bay Area ecosystem

Gary believes that the networking and serendipity to Silicon Valley life can have a huge impact for a large corporation’s future. In just 3 months in the Bay Area, Gary is already involved in numerous industry consortiums and events, purely by the connections he has built by being present here. He also noted a great opportunity to engage with other corporates and learn how they manage their innovation strategy.

Colgate Customer Success Brand Retail

“We all help each other out and that's the beauty of the Plug and Play environment. We're all interconnected and we constantly share our ideas and best practices.”

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