Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Unilever's Top Global Media Executive Klauberg to Exit (Advertising Age)

Unilever's top global media executive, Laura Klauberg, will leave the company March 31 to return to the U.S. and pursue other interests, the company said today.

Ms. Klauberg, 55, who became senior VP-global media in 2007, led a global media review for the world's largest advertiser that early last year split duties in major markets between WPP's Mindshare, which handles the U.S., and Omnicom Media Group.

She'll take a short break before pursuing other opportunities, the company said in a statement. A successor hasn't yet been named.

Unilever has seen considerable change in the ranks of its top marketers in recent years since Procter & Gamble Co. and Nestle veteran Paul Polman became CEO in 2008, though most key positions have been filled from the ranks of Unilever rather than outside. Last year, Keith Weed succeeded Simon Clift as chief marketing officer, and Silvia Lagnado, who led the globalization of the Dove brand and later became exec VP-savory products, became chief marketing officer of Bacardi.

Ms. Klauberg couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

In a statement, Unilever credited her with growing investment in media innovation, such as developing branded content with media companies, new mobile applications, online video content, digital out-of-home and leverage of social media and other new digital platforms.

Ms. Klauberg rose through Unilever's U.S. personal-care business, joining through the Chesebrough-Ponds acquisition in the 1990s and ultimately becoming senior VP-marketing for the company's former prestige personal-care business, including Calvin Klein. She became VP-media for North America in 2005 and added Latin American media to her oversight last year.

Unilever reported $.7.2 billion in advertising and promotion spending in 2009 and $6.5 billion through the first three quarters of 2010 as the company sharply stepped up spending globally along with most competitors.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Marketers told to prepare for “game changing” digital shifts (Marketing Week)

Customer engagement through digital channels and platforms such as tablet computers is crucial for advertisers, top marketers have said at a conference on the future of the industry.

The Guardian’s Changing Advertising Summit in London in October heard that the mobile web will be particularly influential, given recent predictions that it would outstrip desktop internet use by 2014.

Unilever CMO Keith Weed indicated a need to treat digital and mobile channels with the same level of commitment as traditional media, pointing out that there are now more mobile phones than toilets in India.

“Companies like ours are all over television. Are we all over the digital space?” he said, adding that increasing digitalisation and globalisation of consumer markets has contributed to a revolution in media advertising.

Watch Weed at Change Advertising Summit 2010.

Ben Hughes, global commercial director and deputy CEO of the Financial Times, told delegates that 10% of new digital subscriptions to the newspaper’s content have come through its iPad app.

The app has had over 400,000 downloads since its launch in May this year, he adds.

“Those that do not yet believe the iPad is a game-changer need to think again,” he says.

The growth of campaigns across multiple marketing channels, he continues, means that integration needs to be “more than a catchphrase”.

Print also plays its part in this, with the FT’s strategy involving new print products as well as extending the reach of existing ones.

“Media owners need to be platform-agnostic and provide content to all channels where their customers consume it,” he says.

Facebook vice president (EMEA) Joanna Shields told the summit that social media will also replace some areas of traditional advertising,

She pointed out that more people are connecting with brands this way than via companies own websites, telling marketers: “With the money you save by not running a campaign on television, you need to hire a few people to take the pulse on Facebook.”

Friday, 7 January 2011

Two-way communication channels open all hours (Marketing Week)

Marketing Week joins forces with RAPP, plus international brands Philips and Eurostar, to explore how brands can best use the social media spaceto develop real relationships with real consumers.

The internet, and the explosion of social media networks, mean today’s consumers are always switched on. They are now using their own personal technology to become active advocates - or opponents - of multinational brands.

That means the brands around them have to remain switched on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, come rain, shine or even (as Eurostar will attest) snow.

Some brands are fearful of this change while others are embracing it. Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer at FMCG giant Unilever, has said that given the intense competition between brand owners to connect with customers via digital channels, it will be the innovators that benefit.

The digital edge will be in all areas of digital marketing, social, gaming, search and mobile. And, in fast-growing markets like India and China, mobile penetration will “transform the way companies engage with consumers”, says Weed, with the next 1 billion online users set to come from the mobile market.

Mobile has, without doubt, added fuel to the social media fire. In just three years, the development phase for a new handset has shrunk from 24 months to three. And it will get quicker, says RAPP chief creative officer Rik Haslam.

He also predicts the reach of mobile will extend. The penetration of smartphones in some European countries is already well beyond the 20% tipping point where products and services are deemed mainstream. In Spain, 37% of mobile subscribers now own a smartphone, and in Italy the figure is 33%. The UK’s penetration is 28%, on a par with the rapidly growing US market, according to Nielsen’s Mobile Snapshot report.

As Haslam explains: “The landscape has changed. We are living in a turbulent world. There is turbulence in terms of health, religion, environment, economics and population. But there is also technology turbulence. Never before has technology moved so fast.”

While some brands are embracing the “always on” consumer, many more are stuck at a crossroads. Many have dabbled with digital, but with consumers increasingly connected, are businesses really ready for them? Marketing Week, in association with RAPP, hosted a seminar in London to discuss how brands can embrace the “always on” consumer. Brands Eurostar and Philips joined the panel debate.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Top marketing strategies for 2011 (Marketing Week)

What will be your marketing strategy for 2011?

The government spending review in October last year, and the VAT rise to 20% that came into force on 4 January are prompting a shift in consumer spending. The rise in VAT will mean a £6.2bn increase overall in household spend, while discretionary income will drop by £2.3bn in 2011, with the average UK household £225 a year out of pocket.

Research by The Futures Company points towards the emergence of a new, recession-forged consumer mentality. The global trends consultancy reported in October 2010 that 57% of consumers agree with the statement “I find myself thinking twice before making even the smallest day-to-day purchase”. Below, marketers suggest how they plan to adjust the way they communicate with consumers.

The overall challenge for marketers in 2011 will still be the idea of getting integration right in a fragmented media with fragmented audiences, thinks Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at Unilever. “Unilever board colleagues understand the reasons for the shifts from traditional media to new and more social media. There isn’t a lot of convincing that needs doing. These are people who are all on iPads and understand the revolutions going on around us. It’s my job, however, to deliver the capability of the organisation, but in that respect I’m pushing against open doors. How fast we scale it is more about how quickly we can get our 5,700 marketers up to speed.”

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Atifa Silk Interview - Unilever's Global CMO Still Needs Agencies - Just Not for Everything (campaign Asia-Pacific)

Keith Weed is fortunate in being the first marketer appointed to the Unilever board - a coup for marketeers across the world, as they fight for more recognition in their organisations. Six months into the job, Weed, who is responsible for all marketing, communications and sustainability strategies at the multinational conglomerate, feels he’s making a difference. He wants Unilever, second only to Procter & Gamble in global ad spending with a US$7.4 billion budget, to demonstrate as much skill as scale. To that end he’s taken the company’s business unit leaders on a trip to Silicon Valley, launched ventures in crowdsourcing, and is driving innovation in mobile.

Weed encourages experimentation with new agency models, although admits the digital space
continues to be a learning experience for agencies and advertisers alike. The Unilever veteran looks remarkably energetic at the company’s new regional headquarters in Singapore, as he eagerly explains that he still needs ad agencies — just not to supply the vast amounts of video content consumers seem to require these days.

Atifa Silk: What are you doing to drive nontraditional thinking within the organisation?
Keith Weed:
The stimulus for change is all around marketeers right now. The digital revolution we are living through is truly a revolution. It's hard to believe that only five to six years ago, Facebook and YouTube didn't exist. They are such a big force now.
The fact that Lady Gaga has a billion videos online, or that Halo Reach achieved $200 million in sales within 24 hours of its launch, just shows you the scale we are dealing with and the speed at which it is moving. I believe one of the ways that marketers remain fresh and keep innovating is by living in the space. I encourage all of our marketers to go out and live in it. If they’re not involved in gaming or Facebook, I tell them to get involved. The world is moving
very fast in that direction, and we will only succeed if we get ahead.

One of the things I did in the second month I was in this role was to take the heads of our global categories (our category EVPs) and the head of my media team to Silicon Valley to see the likes of Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. The purpose was to get better insights about how we could take our business forward. I also met with venture capitalists on that trip. I can tell you that one of the big things yet to hit us is the full force of mobile. Right now there are more new people connecting to the internet through mobile than PCs. So while we’ve got 1.7 billion people online globally, we’ve got 5 billion mobile phones. And, if you actually
look at the new connections to the internet, it’s all coming through mobile. With the smart phone
arriving in Asia, you’re going to see an explosion of the medium. They say every time is a new time. That’s true. But I think this era is exceptional because of the twin trends of digitisation and globalisation, and the fact that they are both feeding off each other.

Atifa Silk: The potential is exciting, but we hear that every year is going to be the year of mobile. Why will 2011 be different?
Keith Weed:
Every new area has people who over call it and under call it. The shift to mobile is happening right now. A real switchover will happen when we have a deep penetration of the smart phone. There’s still a lot to do before we get to that stage. Everything we do starts and ends with consumers. We need to understand what do consumers want and how can we satisfy what they want better than anyone else. The end point is that they decide to buy our brand rather than someone else’s. A good example of that would be Axe’s ‘Wake-up call’ campaign.
That was an application on a normal phone. When you move to smart phones it becomes very
different. I believe Apple’s iAd is a truly interactive space. It’s advertising like you have never seen it before. You go into the ad and you can navigate your way deeper and deeper. We were the first advertiser on iAd. We broke the launch of Dove for Men in the traditional way — in the middle of the Super Bowl. We took it on to the iAd and it became interesting and involving — beyond just the straight ad. If I compare that to the time when I was a brand manager and a media plan was a piece of paper with flow charts and bars and we used to debate whether we
should burst TV or drip it, I appreciate the skills needed in media planning these days.

Atifa Silk: Your competitor has had huge success with Old Spice. What is Unilever
doing globally with Axe to combat that?
Keith Weed:
Innovation in this area will always go backwards and forwards between the companies who are investing. Axe is the leader in this area — you can see that by looking into some of the work we’ve done in the US. We’ve actually stimulated response to Old Spice because Axe has dominated the digital area for some time. There’s going to be equal innovation from us going forward, but I can’t give you details yet. I do think they did some good work with Old Spice. It’s inspiration for everyone and shows what can be done in real-time marketing.

Atifa Silk: How much are you spending on digital globally and in Asia?
Keith Weed:
It varies hugely from country to country. It can be up towards 30 per cent in some countries and as low as two per cent in others. It depends on where the consumers are. Although I’m a great driver of digital in the company and have put a big focus on it since starting this role last year, I don’t have any particular love for digital. I am, however, a firm believer that we need to be where the consumers are. If our consumers are online, we must be online. They know us well in the TV world, in newspapers and magazines. And they need to know us equally well in the digital space. ‘Digital’ is a very unhelpful title. It’s about as helpful as ‘traditional’.
By ‘digital’ I mean social media, mobile, search, video, gaming and e-commerce.

Atifa Silk: Does the future sit in video and film?
Keith Weed: People often ask me if TV is dying. Let’s be clear: we spend a fortune on television. We’re the second largest advertiser on TV in the world. We’re going to continue with that for many years. Having said that, even when you move into the internet you
see that people aren’t sitting there just reading pages of text; they are watching video. The moving picture is alive and well. In fact, it’s growing significantly. We are seeing that people are watching a huge amount of video online. No, it’s not the traditional 30-second TV commercial, but there are plenty of other forms of video. The challenge for companies like us is in content. I’ve heard various estimates of how many TV commercials are made a year and, depending on whom you believe, it’s somewhere around 100,000. Yet if you look at the appetite for video online, the demand is nearer five million a year. The difference between the two is that your TV
commercial costs you a few hundred thousand dollars. It takes you six months to produce, and you can’t produce five million of them. But if we can unleash content elsewhere then I think there is a way to help feed this tremendous demand for more intriguing and engaging content.

Atifa Silk: Is consumer-generated content the most cost effective way to feed this demand for video?
Keith Weed:
I’ll give you an example to answer that. We recently did a crowdsourcing, consumer-generated event, where we briefed out commercials for 13 brands to consumers. There were 24,000 briefs downloaded globally and ultimately 460 films were made. The winning commercial was from a lady in Japan [Ryoko Kwanishi] for Vaseline. If I could show
you the quality of these pieces of content, you’d see there’s a huge opportunity for people who want to engage with our brands, and for us to create more economically-based content for the future.

Atifa Silk: What does this mean for the future of agencies? Should they feel threatened?
Keith Weed:
I’m a great believer in ad agencies, and a great fan of them. They generate the true creative leaps and are custodians of our brand equity. I don’t think it’s a case of one or the other, and I don’t think that crowdsourcing is going to impact them. I see it as a form of open innovation. For example, we work in R&D with professional research labs and our own
internal development teams. But we also do what’s called ‘open innovation’, where we encourage people to come forward with ideas. We supplement the work that’s done by the labs and our teams. I don’t imagine a crowdsourcing event coming up with a new brand, or a huge creative breakthrough. But I can see it fulfilling the desire for many hours of content online in a way that I can’t imagine we could do economically otherwise. In this environment what
might happen is that agencies find new ways to help create content for it. They are equally intrigued by it. And, frankly if a company like ours isn’t investing in new areas like iAd or crowdsourcing, we won’t carry on being a leading company. I’m a believer in experimenting, innovating and ensuring that we are not just a step ahead of the consumer — so when they get there we are already there — but that we are also a step ahead of our competition.

Atifa Silk: You’re also heavily involved in the social media space. Has there been enough progress in understanding the ways it creates value and ROI?
Keith Weed:
The measurement of ROI in this area is a big issue for us. We have different ways of measurement, some of which are more experimental than others. The good news is that I have enough evidence that says most of the time we can prove better ROI online than in TV. It is much more measurable. And you can react. So, if things aren’t working as well you’d like, you can use real time feedback with a dashboard of data and make adjustments during a campaign. It used to take days to pipe out a commercial to a TV station and weeks to read the results. You didn’t have the ability to change, which you can now do in the new world. The most important thing we have to consider is what we are trying to achieve from the different approaches. For us, social media is very much word-of-mouth, and I’m looking for engagement and advocacy. Our measures are more about people spending time with the brand. Social media is much more active than the passive ‘lean back’ media of TV. Here, people are leaning forward and taking part in something.

Atifa Silk: Agencies are battling in the branded content area. In some cases, clients are taking the lead. Who should own this space?
Keith Weed: I don’t know is my honest answer. In the spirit of experimentation I’m trying all approaches. It will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out. I hope ultimately we see a more economically viable branded content offer coming through our agencies. The model we use is the paid, owned, earned model and so for us paid is obviously print, TV, search — anything we pay for. The owned is Unilever.com, Axe.com, Dove.com and other sites that we own. That’s where we are generating content and are a media owner. That’s where consumers are coming in and interacting with us directly. The earned part is people talking about us and engaging
with our brand because we’re doing something interesting, such as viral. Out of that, the owned and earned space is growing considerably, and for the normal player it would be at the expense of paid. But for us it is actually in addition to it. We will continue to be big supporters of advertising. But, we do need advertising agencies to be more innovative in a changing world.

Atifa Silk Does the current agency model work effectively for clients in today’s increasingly fragmented world?
Keith Weed:
It works for us, but it is evolving. If you take the example of digital, there are three models that are going right now, and I personally can’t call which one is going to win in the long term. One model is that the big traditional advertising agency does the whole of your communication creativity, what people call 360 or integrated. Then, there’s the
holding company — a WPP, for example, which has agencies within it that specialise in digital. We see holding companies that have digital agencies and they use it across the spectrum. Or there are the completely standalone digital agencies. Our existing agency works alongside them and we manage the interface. Those three models are alive and well, and we use all of them. The easiest thing would be to deal with one agency, which can lead and integrate. But frankly I will go for the best before the easiest. Right now, we are working with the best people we can, and if that makes it a little more difficult for us to integrate with then we need to manage that.

Atifa Silk: If you were to set up an agency today, what kind of model would you create?
Keith Weed:
We did set up an agency many years ago called Lintas, which is now Lowe. Why did we set it up? It was because we couldn’t find someone that could help us do what we needed to do then. The reason I am involved in content development and functioning as a media owner is because I still don’t have anyone giving me all the answers that I’d like to see. It will happen. There’s innovation going on and there are a lot of people out there struggling and striving to sort out this very issue.

Atifa Silk: What’s the key to building a successful client-agency relationship?
Keith Weed:
Trust is the most important because with trust you get true creativity, experimentation and innovation. It’s very hard to take risks if you believe the person you are working with doesn’t trust you. Secondly, time and experience. I believe that having long-term relationships with agencies is the best way. If we’re having a problem with an agency, the first thing I do is look at changing the people — either within the agency or our team — before I’d
change the agency. Lastly, it’s creativity and delivery. At the end of the day we are here to build brands that are preferred over those of our competitors’. It’s about winning preference. To do that, we need to have brands that have more creative, differentiated advertising, which not only stands out and gets noticed, but also engages and builds relationships.