SINGAPORE: Unilever, the FMCG giant, regards the fragmentation of media channels as one of its biggest communications challenges as it moves to an "always-on" marketing approach, according to two senior executives.
"The thing that
keeps me awake at night is integration versus fragmentation," Keith Weed, chief
marketing and communications officer, told
Campaign Asia-Pacific, as he outlined the need "to hold our brands together"
and make them consistent and relevant "in a market and media that's
He foresaw "some sort of coming together on the agency
side so there is an overall ownership/leadership of our brand idea and
And he was emphatic on the need for a brand-centric
approach, saying that "optimisation is done for the brand and not for the
His colleague Luis di Como, senior vice president global
media, agreed on the scale of the task posed by integration, but argued that it
was also an opportunity as brands could use paid, owned and earned media to
achieve personalisation at scale and bring together content and context.
He added that brands were now operating in a more real-time environment
which changed the nature of campaigns, a point echoed by Weed, who said regular
big marketing campaigns were no longer enough as brands had to reach out to
consumers "24/7" via mobile and social media.
This socialisation of
marketing had also led to creativity increasing in importance as brands needed
to break through the growing clutter to earn the right to be noticed or engaged
Weed also observed that while Unilever wanted to be where its
consumers were, whether TV, social or mobile, it also wanted to be ahead of
them. "The role of marketing is to have a point of view on the future," he
"We want to get to the future first .. [but] it can't be too far
ahead," he added.
He referred to several instances where Unilever was
achieving this, whether by the allocation of budget to digital – 30% in the US,
low single digits in India – or the geographical shift in marketing emphasis –
there are now more staff in the Singapore and Mumbai head offices than in the
global head office.
Data sourced from
Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff