Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Weed laid out Unilever's philosophy at today's (29 November) annual Marketing Society conference, as he explained how Unilever would achieve its aim of doubling the size of its business, while reducing its environmental impact
He said: "We don’t have a CSR department – if you have a CSR department, then it's an add-on.
"Sustainability is something we do from day to day. Employees who are engaged perform better – they need to be engaged in something and believe in something."
He stated Unilever's ambition to drive growth of the business by catering to consumers' needs, sparked by the booming global population.
Weed added: "The only sustainable growth is consumer-demanded growth. Clearly, in a resourcefully strained world we need to think about environmental and social responsibility."
Unilever would focus heavily on sanitation products because of the expected growth of urban slums.
One such product the FMCG giant is putting its weight behind in developing markets is Lifebuoy, which was first launched as a reaction to the slums of Victorian England.
Weed claimed the firm's factories only produced a small proportion of greenhouse gases during the lifecycle of a product. The manufacturing of the product in factories contributed 3% of greenhouse gases, whereas the collection of the raw materials contributed 26% and customers using the products gave off 68% of the greenhouse gases, he said.
Unilever wanted to help suppliers and customers reduce the environmental impact of products before and after they enter its factories.
This push will involve all Lipton teabags being sourced sustainability by 2015.
Friday, 18 November 2011
Talking with Keith Weed Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer (http://blog.marketing-soc.org.uk)
Ahead of his appearance at The Annual Conference in November, Keith Weed talked to Marketing Society editor, Elen Lewis about cheese, instinct and sustainability.
What does a bold marketing leader look like?
They would have a love of brands and a passion for people. They would also have foresight and be courageous. Finally they would have both magic and logic!
Describe your job in 10 words or less.
Ensure our brands deliver consumer demand-led, sustainable growth
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Explore every opportunity and let your instinct be your guide.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and what did you learn from it?
Underestimating the scale of the leading razor competitors’ response to the Lynx razor launch (we later withdrew the product). This hard lesson helped a few years later when I was defending our large and successful European deodorant business when a major global competitor launched a new deodorant brand across Europe (they later withdrew the product!).
What should all global leaders know about growth?
The short answer is that growth needs to be sustainable, not just economically, but also for the environment and society. Sustainability needs to be a central part of the business model and reflected in organisation design. For example, my key responsibilities cover Marketing, Communications and Sustainability. The need for more sustainable consumption requires more sustainable approaches to business and products. Marketing needs to engage with this agenda to innovate more sustainable solutions and to help change consumer behaviour. With a predicted 9 billion people on the planet by 2050, it’s easy to see why we have put Sustainable Living at the heart of everything we do. Our approach is captured in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (www.sustainable-living.unilever.com)
How do you balance resources between the growth economy of the BRICs and mature markets?
Unilever has a strong presence in the developing and emerging growth markets with 54% of our sales in these countries. We have been in many of these markets for 100 years, so we already have a big presence and do not need to radically rebalance resources in the way some other companies are doing.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Tell us a secret.
I love to paint (pictures, not walls!)
K. Weed, Unilever: “In the digital age, product superiority is even more important in our marketing mix” (http://www.cmoworldtour.com)
Monday, 14 November 2011
Unilever plc : Unilever and World Toilet Organization partner for the World’s First Toilet Academy (www.4-traders.com)
Ho Chi Minh: With 2.6 billion people across the world without access to clean toilets, Unilever is proud to announce the world's first Toilet Academy that will address the global sanitation issue.
To celebrate World Toilet Day (19th November), Unilever's health and hygiene brand Domestos (also known as Vim) has announced the global roll-out of Domestos Toilet Academies, starting with a pilot Academy in Vietnam opening next year, that will help provide sustainable and long-term solutions to sanitation that benefit local societies and help stimulate the local economies.
The Domestos Toilet Academy, developed in conjunction with the World Toilet Organization, will run month-long training courses for local people interested in setting up their own businesses to source, sell and maintain toilets, and educate local communities on the importance of sanitation.
Lack of sanitation is a serious health risk to the billions of people with no toilet facilities, particularly those who are forced to engage in the demeaning practise of open defecation . The lack of functioning toilets in schools is also a major cause of school dropout by adolescent girls .
In Vietnam, only half the population has 'some sort' of sanitation facility, and 82% do not have access to facilities that meet the hygiene standards of the country's Ministry of Health . By addressing these issues, the Domestos Toilet Academy will help accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation; to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015, and therefore contribute to Millennium Development Goal 4, to reduce child mortality. Currently the MDG for sanitation is the goal lagging the furthest behind.
"It is unimaginable that in 2011, 2.6 billion people, two fifths of the global population, do not have access to a clean toilet. We know that better sanitation saves lives, which is why we at Unilever have committed to sustainably improve sanitation through the Domestos Toilet Academy programme. We are working with the World Toilet Organization and local communities to not only help millions of people get access to clean toilets, but also help them create sustainable businesses, to give them a better life," said Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever.
Jack Sim, Founder of the World Toilet Organization added, "Having access to a clean and functioning toilet is something that many people take for granted. In the past few years, progress has been made in Vietnam towards improving sanitation; however there is still a long way to go. Only 12% of schools actually have hygienic toilet access, with rural areas suffering the most. By working in partnership with Unilever's Domestos, we can effectively pool resources and expertise to work towards a shared goal for improved sanitation and create a long-term, focused solution that reaches the people that need it most."
Weed added, "For Unilever this project emphasises the importance of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. It is a true demonstration of our commitment to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020. Additionally, Unilever will be partnering with UNICEF to help address the sanitation crisis and promote health through improved hygiene and access to toilets."
Opinion: CMO World Tour interview with Unilever's Keith Weed (Campaign / CMO World, by Frédéric Colas)
There is, says Unilever’s marketing boss, a lost generation. It’s made up of marketers who left school before the arrival of digital and are still waiting for their children to grow up and induct them into IM, Facebook and the rest of the social media jungle.
They need to accept the fact that they are missing out, and accept that “ultimately we all need to be digital natives,” he says.
“It’s like being caught out suddenly with everyone going to use cars and you’re still on a horse, I mean it’s going to work for a very short period of time,” he says. “If I wasn’t iChatting with my 20-year-old at university he wouldn’t be talking to me. If I wasn’t texting and sending photographs back and forth with my daughter I wouldn’t have a relationship.”
Weed says the challenge for CMOs in the digital age is to constantly be at the cutting edge.
“You could say that it is easy for the second-largest advertiser in the world, we have big budgets and if we can’t do it shame on us,” he says pointing out that while smaller companies will always be nimble, medium-sized brands may struggle to be competitive against those like Unilever that have the firepower and start ups with greater energy.
His own personal digital consumption is powered by his Blackberry (for inputting and the fact that it doesn’t drop calls in the UK) and an iPhone. An iPad has replaced a laptop for his travels but at home there is a laptop in every room.
Weed admits to being a lurker on Twitter, which he uses to research important news stories, but keeps Facebook for his friends and LinkedIn for work, mostly to allow people to get in touch with him.
He also acknowledges the importance of social commerce, recently changing his choice of leaf blower purchase after reading reviews on Amazon pointing out problems with the strap.
“What struck me is the importance nowadays of having great products that can be peer reviewed. You can have great advertising but if you don’t have great products you can't have someone out there sharing their personal experiences. It has put a much greater emphasis on product quality and, in fact, product superiority in our overall marketing mix,” he says.
Frédéric Colas: How has your personal digital life impacted your vision of marketing?
Keith Weed: One of the things I say to all my team is you’ve really got to live the space. It’s a term I’ve stolen off Babs [Rangaiah], who heads digital for us here in Unilever and it is so true. I mean could you imagine someone who would only ever listen to the radio coming up with fantastic TV commercials, if you hadn’t seen TV, engaged with TV I think it would be very hard to come up with great TV commercials.
I expect all marketers in Unilever to be living the space, engage and if you are going to be a great [marketer] you need to be a great digital [marketer]. So that would be the first thing I would say is just get a feel.
FC: What is the likely impact of mobile on Unilever’s marketing strategy?
KW: We are a mass-market consumer goods business, everyday two billion people use our products so this is massive - a third of the planet is using our products. But actually this is made up of single decisions and single purchases and the great thing about a mobile device is it's a very personal thing.
So first you are engaging with people where they are at that moment, their lifestyles. So, for example, young people now use mobiles rather than watches to tell the time and certainly to wake themselves up.
…going beyond that, of course, then everything has to be about specifics, can you imagine now you are in Central Park and it’s a sunny day, because of the mobile device we know it is a sunny day, we know you are in Central Park and we can now send you an offer to say there’s a new ice cream just being launched called Magnum — why don’t you go and try one?
By the way here are the three nearest stores, and by the way here is a coupon you can use to try a Magnum. That sort of marketing that one-to-one marketing is only just around the corner.
FC: How does digital change the job of the CMO?
KW: The fundamentals will remain the same as far as people buy brands. They buy brand experiences, they enjoy products and services and they repeat purchases based on the enjoyment of that product and service. That will always remain the same, so no matter how we engage people you can’t get people to repeatedly use a product that isn’t any good and you can’t get people to develop a relationship with a brand they don’t like. I think what’s different is the way we engage people, and certainly we have had a mass approach to engagement of people with TV.
TV still remains incredibly important, but I think we will see TV coming down and a more personalised engagement on a one-to-one basis, which of course is not only because the devices enable you to do it, (but) the data behind that gives all [marketers] the opportunity to understand better what their particular consumer wants, likes, and is interested in, and hence has a better chance of engaging with them.
I think that is the exciting part and that is going to change and change the whole social graph and right now lots of people are collecting lots of data, we don’t have the power yet to unlock that, but we will.
FC: How does digital change your vision of marketing in two key words?
KW: For me it would be “connectivesness” and “always-on”. I think this connectiveness with an individual, the ability to interact with the people directly rather than via a TV screen or indeed, of course, via a retailer. It's not like data used to be through just the retailer; now we have a direct connection.
"Always-on" creates an opportunity but a massive challenge for a company like ours. We have a well-honed system to spend several hundreds of thousands of dollars creating a 30-second TV ad.
You cannot do that and be always-on. So as I’ve said to my team the challenge is to have always-on, quality content that’s cost effective and right now you can have two of the three, but you can’t have three of the three. I want two of the three, I’ll get three of the three but we’ve got some work to do before we get there.
FC: How does Unilever hope to achieve always-on quality content that’s cost effective?
KW: We have been connecting directly with a lot of the content providers so I’ve been out with the Viacoms, the News Corps and the MTVs, the top studios and broadcasters, because the digital evolution is even more profound for them than it is for us.
But the big way it’s really profound is their distribution model. We can be part of the distribution model. We have a model, which I know many people do, of the paid, owned and earned media spaces.
'Earned' is an exciting area around social pages, we all know it’s the good old TV but we also put in search etc.
But in the 'owned' I think with some good content we can have a much more dynamic place in engaging consumers beyond just communication messages into content and that way I think we can get some interesting partnerships.
FC: How is your marketing structure adapting to digital?
KW: We have a marketing structure that has brand development – people who build the equity and innovation on a cross country, regional, global basis and then we have what we call brand builders, who are marketers and much more focused on local markets.
What we have been doing is moving the role of digital asset creation more away from the local [marketers] to the cross country, regional, global [marketers] and for obvious reasons. It’s a very global medium and you can see a particular digital campaign in different markets. And you've got to make sure that’s it’s appropriate — and what’s appropriate to a Spanish speaker in Latin America might be very different to a Spanish speaker in North America, but both have visibility.
…On the other side, it’s the whole engagement on a community basis and the local [marketers] need to be resourced and have the ability to engage with consumers on a very local basis.
So in one way we’re going more global and creating structures, making sure the IT platforms are robust whether be it from data protection through to functionality, which you don’t do so much if you’re doing it with a local agency in a local market.
But then on the other side we’re pushing the local marketers to get closer to their communities, being community managers, engaging with their consumers, ensuring that the presence of their brand in their particular market, whether it be across YouTube, whether it’s a combination of natural and bought search across to what people are talking about in Facebook, all adds up and makes sense.
FC: On what challenges would you like to get the advice from your peers at the World Federation of Advertisers?
KW: To me the two challenges are: How do you create always-on cost effective quality content and really understanding how to [do] community management. You could end up putting a lot of resource talking on a one to one basis with a lot of people in a very ineffective way and we’re still working on that as I’m sure many others are.
For additional content from this conversation visit cmoworldtour.com and wfanet.org, where you can also propose questions for future guests and find other CMO World Tour content.
Thursday, 3 November 2011
Unilever’s global communications planning director Geoff Seeley says the UK is still leading the way in “communications thinking”, as the company posted an increase in sales for the third quarter.
Speaking at MediaPro 2011 yesterday (2 November), Seeley said the UK homes the world’s marketing thought leaders, although developing markets are doing “a great job” of executing campaigns, specifically in new media such as mobile and digital.
“We have invested heavily at the centre [in the UK] to transform the way we are undertaking marketing in developing markets. We have a strong CMO in Keith Weed and a mandate from the CEO to [concentrate on growing the brand in emerging economies],” he added. Unilever CEO Paul Polman forecasts that 80 to 90% of Unilever’s future business will come from developing markets. Third quarter results announced today (3 November) reported that a 13.1% rise in sales in developing markets such as India and Brazil offset slower growth from developed markets.
Seeley said yesterday that Unilever has produced “pockets of fantastic work” in developing markets, particularly in China where the company recently produced a branded TV programme for its anti-dandruff shampoo brand Clear. Unilever claims the programme and corresponding marketing activity reached one third of the Chinese population and achieved media value of 7.4 times the marketing spend.
Seeley added: “[The UK] still has the [marketing] brainpower and is leading the way we think about communications.”
Unilever reported a 7.8% increase in sales for the third quarter, which it said was driven by increased prices and growth from emerging markets. The Flora and Dove maker raised prices by 5.8% in the three months to 30 September. A 2.9% drop in Western European sales were offset by a 2.4% increase in prices. The UK, the company adds, saw “good growth and share gains”.
Rival Procter & Gamble reported a 4% increase in organic sales last week.