Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Change Consumer Behavior with These Five Levers (Keith Weed via Harvard Business Review Blog Network)

Any consumer goods company trying to reduce its environmental impact faces this challenge: your footprint is largely determined by what customers do with your products, not what you do directly. At Unilever, nearly 70% of the greenhouse gas impact of our products occurs when consumers use them to wash their hair or do their laundry.

The success of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan — our strategy for sustainable, equitable growth, tied to 50+ time-bound targets we've set for ourselves — depends on external factors like these, where we only have so much influence. While we can drive down the energy and water consumption of our factories directly, an entirely different approach is needed to reduce the greenhouse gas impact of our products across their lifecycle.

Fortunately for us, we engage directly with consumers through our brands, and it is these brands that have huge potential to be agents for change. As the renowned environmentalist Jonathon Porrittargues: "Brands are so much better placed to narrow that frightening 'values-action' gap that politicians have to confront (where voters say one thing and promptly do another) and are somehow more trustworthy precisely because they are so clearly in the business of making money out of doing the right thing."

This point is illustrated by our Lifebuoy soap brand, which spearheads our efforts to reduce childhood mortality through the simple act of handwashing at key hygiene moments throughout the day. Handwashing promotion is an extremely cost-effective intervention: a $3.35 investment in handwashing brings the same health benefits as an $11 investment in latrine construction, a $200 investment in household water supply and an investment of thousands of dollars in immunisation.

But it is the fact that this brand is critical to our business's future growth that gives NGOs and governments the confidence that our handwashing programmes are not flash-in-the-pan philanthropy. As for consumers, as our Global Social Mission Director for Lifebuoy, Myriam Sidibe, pointed out recently on this blog, "using local brands that people know and trust can actually be one of the most comfortable and easily accepted approaches to educate them about a topic like hygiene."

Brands can be even more powerful agents for change when we understand exactly how people use products, and what values, habits or motivations influence this use. We synthesized our own knowledge and experience as a marketing company with insights from experts from psychologists to academics and those out meeting the people who cook, clean and wash with our products every day. The result was Five Levers for Change, a set of principles brought together in a new approach we believe can increase the likelihood of achieving sustained behavior change:

The five levers are:

Make it understood. Do people know about the behavior, and do they think it is relevant to them? This lever is about raising awareness and encouraging acceptance. Lifebuoy soap's 'glo-germ' demonstration uses ultra-violet light to help children understand that washing hands with water alone isn't good enough to get rid of invisible germs.

Make it easy. Do people know what to do and feel confident doing it? Can they see it fitting into their lives? This lever is about convenience and confidence. In many parts of the world, laundry is washed by hand, but it is typically in these countries that water is scarce. Our Comfort One Rinse fabric conditioner only requires one bucket for rinsing, not three. But it took live demonstrations and samples, not just TV commercials, to establish consumer confidence that one bucket of water was really all that was needed for effective rinsing.

Make it desirable. Will doing this new behavior fit with their actual or aspirational self-image? Does it fit with how they relate to others or want to? We are social animals, and we tend to emulate the lifestyles and habits of people we respect, and follow social norms. Recycling has reached a tipping point in some countries because the bag or box outside the house is so visible. To tackle infant mortality, Lifebuoy taps into desire of new mothers to be a good mum, and to be seen that way by others.

Make it rewarding. Do people know when they're doing the behavior 'right'? Do they get some sort of reward? This lever is about demonstrating 'proof' and pay-off. Our Suave shampoo brand encourages people to turn off the shower while they lather their hair and showed how families could save up to $150 a year through cutting their energy bills.

Make it a habit. Once people have made a change, what can we do to help them keep doing it? This lever is about reinforcing and reminding, 'refreezing' people in their new habits so it becomes unconscious again. Lifebuoy's handwashing campaigns run for a minimum of 21 days and include quizzes, posters and songs to encourage repetitive behavior.

Using these five levers, marketers have an incredible opportunity to positively shape the lives of consumers and their impact on the rest of the world. But can brands do it all? We would argue no. Whilst brands are perfectly placed to tackle some of the five levers, such as "Make It Desirable," they can struggle to tackle others alone, because there are still so many factors that are out of our control. It is difficult for a brand to help make recycling easy, for example, if there is no recycling infrastructure for a consumer to use. Similarly, while we've tried to make the case to customers that shorter showers can save them money, it is a hard sell because consumers' energy bills are difficult to understand, and it isn't clear to them what sorts of activities cost them the most money.

Brands will have the most positive influence when they work with these 'structural' factors, rather than against them. This is why we are also working to influence the broader factors that shape our behaviour: the presence of good hygiene education in the school curriculum; the availability of recycling infrastructure; and energy and water policy that incentivizes efficient use. These are just some of the things we believe would enable our brands to act as multipliers to achieve the transformative changes needed for a sustainable world.

Monday, 15 October 2012

CMOs Take Stage to Push Value of Marketing at ANA Meeting Final (AdAge, By E.J Schultz)

Is it a profit-seeking business or a social cause for good?

If you walked in cold on the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing conference last week, it was a logical question. The record 2,056 attendees heard presentations from the likes of Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever on what J&J's Worldwide VP-Global Marketing Kim Kadlec called "the intersection of marketing and social responsibility." Speakers danced between the concepts in presentations that played up their benevolence as much as their brand strategies.

A common theme was storytelling and defining a brand's story. As Unilever Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed said, "we have to stop looking at consumers as armpits that need deodorizing."

J&J is a health-care brand that connects people who are suffering. McDonald's wants to position itself as a nutrition-education advocate. Unilever champions sustainability. And more and more of that story is being told via social and digital media. "I didn't bring a sizzle reel," said Ms. Kadlec. "So much of what we do is outside that box."

Ms. Kadlec's presentation included a long look at the marketer's "Campaign for Nursing's Future," which she said helped produce the first increase in young nurses in two decades. She tugged on heartstrings, showing more than a few emotional spots. "I did not expect to cry at this conference," one attendee was overheard saying as Procter & Gamble Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard showed off the marketer's Olympic-themed "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign.

Of course, promoting a higher mission and building profitable brands are often one and the same, a point driven home the last time the ANA met in Florida two years ago, when "purpose-driven marketing" was the buzzword.

Twenty-four months later, it seems marketers face even more pressure to prove their societal worth—one need look no further than Alex Bogusky's scathing satire of Coca-Cola's polar bears for that (see page 6).

And it's a tough sell for some marketers. Neil Golden, senior VP-chief marketing officer for McDonald's USA, spent a lot of time rebutting criticism that the fast feeder has contributed to the nation's obesity epidemic. He highlighted changes to the Happy Meal, which now includes apple slices.

But with much talk about causes, there were few hard results. One of the better-received presentations was from Ford Group VP-Global Marketing and Sales Jim Farley, who gave a straightforward talk with case studies and frank discussion of what has worked for Ford in digital marketing. The company, taking a cue from video-gaming, now "prelaunches" new models months in advance, spending 20% of the launch budget before a car hits showrooms.

Oddly, the company that was the most unabashed in discussing good works as a means of making money was Luta, a sportswear marketer launching in the U.S. that earmarks 50% of profit for battling youth violence. "Is it a charity, a business? I want people to be confused," said Luke Dowdney, CEO-founder. "That's how we'll deal with some of the social problems we have."

Sunday, 14 October 2012

In A 'VUCA' World, Unilever Bets On 'Sustainable Living' As A Transformative Business Model (Forbes, Avi Dan)

In 2010 Unilever committed to doubling the size of its business in 10 years while reducing the environmental footprint and increasing its social impact. They have embedded a new business model called Sustainable Living through a new marketing strategy called ‘Crafting Brands for Life,’ which puts people first, builds brand love, and unlocks the magic of brands.

Keith Weed is Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of Unilever, and a director of the company. Prior to his present post he served as Executive Vice President of Home Care, Oral Care, and Water. I spoke to Mr. Weed following his keynote at last week’s ANA’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

AVI DAN: You were very outspoken about how ambitious your plan is from the beginning. What was the strategy behind this approach?

KEITH WEED: We felt that in order to be accountable, and have our employees and partners accountable, the scope has to be established publicly, and that we have to set up specific goals and timetables. Otherwise it is just too easy not to meet these goals, especially when the scope of the plan is as transformative as this.

AVI DAN: How did your approach to sustainability evolve and inform your new business model?

KEITH WEED: We are not trying to make sustainability a separate agenda; we’re trying to make it a central agenda. We didn’t want it to be a couple of pages in a magazine but a commitment that the whole company could get behind.

AVI DAN: Why change the business model in the first place?

KEITH WEED: We look at the world through a lens, which we call VUCA, which stands for “Volatile, Unstable, Complex, and Ambiguous.” So you can say, “It’s a very tough world”, or you can say, “It’s a world that’s changing fast, and we can help consumers navigate through it.” Two-and-a-half billion more people will be added to the planet between now and 2050, of which 2 billion will be added in developing countries. The digital revolution, the shift in consumer spending, all this suggests that companies have to reinvent the way they do business.

AVI DAN: One of the interesting features of “Sustainable Living” is that you extended it throughout the whole supply chain. How did that come about?

KEITH WEED: When we researched improving sustainability in our own organization, we realized that our own footprint in things like reducing waste in electricity, water etc., would be only 6%. But a quarter of the resources come from the supply chain, from sourcing raw materials. And another 50-60% in consumer use, in people using water to wash clothes, for example. The model had to be comprehensive to be successful.

AVI DAN: Is there a financial benefit to sustainability?

KEITH WEED: We have saved in eco-efficiencies in our factories €250 million. Similarly, to our suppliers, there’s a savings as well.

AVI DAN: In this VUCA world, what other skills should marketers adopt?

KEITH WEED: I would advise marketers to look to the future more. There are enough people in business, and probably finance, who spend a lot of time counting where the money goes. But in a fast changing world, marketers need to focus more on foresight and insight. Both are important of course, but I would argue that foresight is even more important.

AVI DAN: What keeps you up at night?

KEITH WEED: Lack of integration. With all the new avenues of communication there is a proliferation, which is very difficult to manage. I would love one-stop shopping but I refuse to sacrifice quality.

Monday, 10 September 2012

How Unilever Found the Balance Between Creativity and Sales - CMO Keith Weed on Bringing Rigor, Repetition and Results to Advertising (AdAge, By Jack Neff)

If a marketer has ever earned a reputation for pushing creative boundaries within the past decade, it's Unilever, as evidenced by its wins at the 2007 Film Grand Prix at Cannes. Trouble is, over the same decade it's produced inconsistent results, shrinking its market share overall.

The task of delivering on both sales and creativity falls to Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed, a career Unilever executive named to his leadership post and placed on the company's executive board in 2010 by CEO Paul Polman. And while Mr. Weed is happy with the business results -- including organic sales growth of 7% in the first half of the year putting Unilever near the top of his competitive set -- he's still not completely satisfied.

"We've just about got the balance right," Mr. Weed said. "We could go further on the creativity." In the parlance of Unilever's "Crafting Brands for Life" strategy unveiled last year, it's all about delivering magic along with logic. And in a break with his predecessor and friend Simon Clift, Mr. Weed has come down squarely on the side of copy testing to help deliver the logic.

Some Unilever veterans and agency executives have privately expressed dismay at the company's embrace of copy testing. This is just the latest in a long debate: Some disciplined packaged-goods executives see it as a necessary assurance that ads will sell stuff. At the same time, agency creatives and some marketers argue that pretesting spawns dull work.

'It's Inarguable Proof'
"I've increased the spend on advertising pretesting quite significantly," Mr. Weed said. "I've certainly got enough evidence, real hard evidence, showing that ads we've pretested perform better in the marketplace than ads we don't. It's inarguable proof."

That said, he acknowledged that Unilever executives have at times frustrated agencies by incorrectly using copy testing. "If you use pretesting as a go/no-go gate, you're using it incorrectly," he said. "We have trends. We have marketing strategy. We have segmentation. By the way, we also have judgment and gut and all the other things. So to me, it's one of eight things you should be considering."

Even if there are kinks to work out, it's hard to knock the results logged by Unilever. Reviewing Unilever's performance over the past decade in a recent report, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood said the company has gone from losing global market share every year from 2002 to 2008 to gaining share for each of the past three years.

While the company performed near the bottom of its global competitive set for top-line growth from 2001 to 2005, it came in at the middle in the food category last year, ranked No. 2 in the beauty and personal-care market behind Estee Lauder, and No. 1 in the home-care arena, according to Bernstein analysis.

And when it comes to creative work, while Mr. Weed wasn't pleased with Unilever's awards performance in 2011, he's happier so far this year after Unilever agencies won 22 Lions at the International Advertising Festival.

"The one I particularly covet," Mr. Weed said, is the Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness. That came for Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London's work for Axe Excite in the U.K. that served as the cornerstone for a global campaign.

Mr. Weed is also proud of Dove's Ad Makeover, created by Ogilvy & Mather, London. The app, a winner of cyber and PR Lions, lets Facebook users zap any ads they think make women feel bad about their looks.

In the universe of corporate mission statements, Unilever's "Crafting Brands for Life" may be the only one to include the nuance to manage the tension between freewheeling creativity and traditional consumer packaged goods discipline. Marc Mathieu, the Coca-Cola veteran who became senior VP-marketing at Unilever last year, underscored the choice of the word "crafting."

"If you want to do magic, the first time you're not going to get it right," Mr. Mathieu said. "You need to rehearse, repeat, learn and get it right. Then you go and show it first to someone you trust, a friend not someone who will judge you and say it's stupid. And then when you're ready, you do your trick in front of 50 people. That's why we used the imagery of craftsmanship, so people understand that magic doesn't happen by accident. We should do magic that works."

Mr. Mathieu is testament to another Unilever balancing act: the bringing in of outside talent while preserving much of the indigenous corporate culture. "Paul [Polman] opened that door of saying, 'We need to inject some new talent,'" Mr. Mathieu said. "I think it's a good thing. Otherwise I wouldn't be here."

A Big Factor at Play
While Unilever isn't afraid to look outside for expertise, Mr. Mathieu said, "you also need a culture that embraces that expertise because with great expertise usually comes great weaknesses. You need to create a whole team and culture surrounding those people."

That's one reason why Unilever has doubled its spending on marketing training under Mr. Weed. Another bigger factor at play is the need for Unilever to keep pace with the emergence of digital marketing.

And while it's clear the center of marketing gravity has shifted toward London in recent years for Unilever, some close to the company see local tweaks still adding too much complexity. Mr. Mathieu, however, sees the balance as working.

"Coke was very Atlanta-centric" and dominated by a single flagship brand, Mr. Mathieu said. At Unilever, he sees more of the influence of marketers outside headquarters and across brands. "We no longer live in a world," he said, "where great marketing is going to be born in the West and exported to developing countries."

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Inside Facebook's Push to Woo Big Advertisers (Wall Street Journal, By Shayndi Raice)

After joining Facebook as FB -5.40% vice president of marketing last year, Carolyn Everson made it her mission to win over skeptical ad executives who complained that spending on the giant social network wasn't paying off.

At the time, many companies were using the site to promote brands on their own Facebook pages—but most were paying little to nothing to do so. While Facebook was starting to push more paid notices, it was unclear whether such ads actually led to purchases.

Facebook executive Carolyn Everson's mission is to help the social-media company, win over skeptical ad executives. Shayndi Raice has inside details on digits.

Carolyn Everson is Facebook's liaison with Madison Avenue. She is working with big brands to help them gauge how ads on the site can pay off.

So last October, Ms. Everson created a "Client Council," calling together senior advertising executives from 13 big brands and ad agencies. The goal: to learn from each other how Facebook could do better.

"I love being challenged," said Ms. Everson. "When people doubt us that's when we're at our best."

The first meeting took place in Facebook's loft-like Madison Avenue offices. Attendees included marketing heavyweights like Keith Weed from Unilever, ULVR.LN +0.40% Stephen Quinn from Wal-Mart WMT +0.48% and Wendy Clark from Coca-Cola KO +0.70%.

A nervous Ms. Everson arrived wearing a blue dress in honor of Facebook's signature color. Mark Zuckerberg welcomed the group via video conference. As the ad types peppered the young chief executive officer with questions, a theme emerged. If they committed to spending big bucks with Facebook, how could they be assured a return on their investment?

Mr. Zuckerberg's response, according to one of the attendees: "That's a great question and we should probably have an answer to that, shouldn't we?"

The remark underscores how Facebook has been coming up short on one of its most crucial goals: proving that ads on the site can help marketers move products off the shelf.

There is a lot riding on the effort. Facebook derived 85% of its total $3.7 billion in revenue in 2011 from global online ad sales. Last month, the company reported its second-quarter ad revenue rose just 14% from the previous quarter and 28% from a year ago. Those growth rates have slowed markedly over the last two years; quarterly ad revenues in 2011 grew by as much as 87% from the year-ago period.

Facebook's chief financial officer, David Ebersman, on a call with analysts attributed the 28% growth partly to a 9% increase in ad rates. He explained that ad impressions—or the number of people who see an ad—are climbing more slowly than the number of new users as more people access Facebook via mobile devices, where the company still has only limited forms of advertising.

The eight-year-old social network has also seen its stock tumble by 46% since it went public in May at a more than $100 billion valuation. Much of the drop has been fueled by concerns over the efficacy of Facebook's ads and the company's ability to continue to grow its ad business—especially as more users rely on mobile devices, which have small screens and little real estate for advertisements.

Some advertisers have yanked their Facebook ads because they have had trouble measuring whether the ads led to sales. In May, General Motors Co. GM +1.14% pulled $10 million of ads from the site, citing such concerns. High-profile defections are particularly troubling, since one big advertiser's actions can have a broad ripple effect on dozens of smaller advertisers.

"At the end of the day, you will get the early adopters of the large companies who can see [Facebook] as a big trend but you won't get sustained businesses without people understanding how ROI [return on investment] is concerned," said Unilever's Mr. Weed. "As a businessman and marketer, ultimately, you care about ROI."

Executives acknowledge that the push is on. On the company's last earnings call, in late July, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Facebook is making "important progress" in proving return on investment to marketers. Though nearly all top advertisers spent money on Facebook ads in the last quarter, she conceded that the total was only a small percentage of the advertisers' digital ad budgets. She characterized the shortfall as an "imbalance" and a "substantial opportunity."

The task of changing that equation falls to Ms. Everson, who is Facebook's main liaison to Madison Avenue. Ms. Everson, 40, previously worked at Walt Disney Co. DIS +0.10%and at Microsoft Corp., MSFT +1.65% where she was vice president of global ad sales and strategy. Recruited from Microsoft in April of 2011, Ms. Everson, who is based in New York, travels once a month to Silicon Valley.

The crux of advertisers' doubts centers on whether Facebook ads actually sell goods and if they can be measured in a way that can be compared to other forms of advertising. Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., YHOO -0.14% among others, went through similar tribulations a decade ago when they helped pioneer online search ads, which come up when users type in certain keywords.

But while the results of Google and Yahoo ads can be directly tracked by clicks, Facebook ads are harder to measure. Some smaller advertisers, like Zynga Inc.ZNGA -3.11% or 1800Flowers.com Inc., can track how users respond to ads because a purchase will take place as a result of clicking on the ad. But for many brands, ads on Facebook don't consist of an offer to directly buy something. They are more akin to TV ads, which marketers study to see how brand exposure might lead to offline sales.

Since the October meeting in New York, Ms. Everson has set in motion plans to convince the world's biggest brands that Facebook ads can indeed work—and to quantify how so.

Ms. Everson is sending measurement wonks across the country, like missionaries to preach the Facebook gospel. She is partnering with third-party firms to track how Facebook ads lead directly to purchases. And she is offering new types of information about Facebook ads to data-hungry marketers who are struggling to figure out how to parse the social media field.

Most of world's biggest brands have an entire department dedicated to measuring how ads work on various formats, like TV, radio, print and online. Facebook is sending its lieutenants to work hand-in-hand with these internal teams to learn the methods they use and then customize a way to measure Facebook ads using that brand's own methodology.

One disadvantage to marketers is the fact that Facebook doesn't offer them access to the conversations that the social network's 950 million users are having among friends. The company hides those discussions for consumer-privacy reasons. In lieu of such data, marketers have had to use other metrics, such as how many people "like" a brand's Facebook page.

But the monetary value of a "like"—the equivalent to a thumbs up from a Facebook user—is difficult to assess. Sav Banerjee, executive social strategy director at New York digital-ad agency Rokkan Inc., found that in most cases when he paid for ads to get users to "like" a page, the number in fans went up but the number of people engaging with the brand page stayed the same.

"The investment doesn't translate to ROI," said Mr. Banerjee.

Under Ms. Everson, Facebook is now considering giving advertisers a sliver of data from conversations. For example, Facebook would tell advertisers how many people are talking about their brand, the top things they are saying and those people's demographics—but not violate privacy policies by revealing information about individual people.

Keith Camoosa, executive vice president and head of North American research for Universal McCann, the media buying unit of Interpublic Group of Cos IPG +0.09% ., said he has pushed Facebook executives to let marketers see more of what consumers are saying about their brands.

"The number one driver of new sales comes from word-of-mouth, and that's something marketers can't see with Facebook," he said.

Other marketers, such as Thomais Zaremba, digital marketing manager for Ford Motor Co., are optimistic that Facebook will be able to share more data.

"We couldn't determine who was seeing our ads and what actions they were taking from seeing the ads," said Ms. Zaremba. Google, she said, gave more detailed information.

Ms. Everson decided her team needed to construct an entirely different tracking system. The idea is to methodically comb through industry sectors and develop new measurement methodologies for each group—from consumer packaged goods to the auto industry. In particular, the company has focused on breaking down who has seen an ad by region so it can be compared to other regions.

To help with the process, Facebook asked big brands like Unilever to send in their marketing and research gurus for targeted sessions. Late last year, Unilever sent 10 emissaries to Facebook for two weeks. The group spent one week at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters and the other in New York.

During the confabs, Patti Wakeling, Unilever's head of advertising research, said she told Facebook's head of research and measurement, Brad Smallwood, that she needed to better understand the data Facebook was using so it could be applied to the ways Unilever studies how its ads perform.

Facebook, which previously only provided advertisers with the number of people who saw an ad on its site, soon gave Ms. Wakeling other data on how many people saw Facebook ads in a variety of areas. Facebook also figured out how many people in a region saw a paid ad versus other types of ads such as print, radio or TV.

The moves meant Ms. Wakeling could begin comparing how many people in one region were exposed to a paid Facebook ad against the number of people in a region who were exposed to a television ad. By comparing campaigns across regions, she could track the success of the ads with any resulting increase in sales in the specific regions. Ms. Wakeling said Facebook was "very collaborative."

Facebook's Mr. Smallwood also ran a series of test ad campaigns with advertisers between last October and this January based on the methodologies they were learning from each other. By April, Mr. Smallwood had conducted 63 such campaigns.

Later in the year, at another Facebook meeting with its Client Council in New York, Mr. Smallwood displayed a chart to the gathered executives. Out of all 63 test ad campaigns, only one campaign had a less than one times return on its investment. The majority showed a return on ad spending of three times or better.

One of the campaigns was for Unilever's Suave beauty and grooming products. Using the methodology Mr. Smallwood developed with Ms. Wakeling, Facebook was able to show that for every dollar Unilever spent on the social media site, the consumer products company got $8.41 back in sales.

Unilever's Mr. Weed described Facebook's efforts as "impressive." But he added that Facebook must continue to evolve its strategies. "These things are a journey," he said. Unilever declined to comment on how much money it is spending on Facebook.

Facebook also began bringing in third-party firms to independently study the results of its ads, in order to show that people exposed to an ad were more likely to purchase goods.

About two months ago, Facebook's measurement team visited Universal McCann's Mr. Camoosa with results it gathered through a third party called Datalogix. The company identifies people who have been exposed to an ad on Facebook and then mines retailers' credit-card and purchase data to determine whether those people bought the product.

Mr. Camoosa said the data showed there was a correlation between exposure to Facebook ads and product sales—but that it didn't show that the ads necessarily were more effective than other types of online ads. Facebook is "at step one," he said.

As for the holy grail of return on investment, Ms. Everson said, "I don't think anyone cracks it. The best thing you can do is create a methodology."

Some marketing executives remain skeptical. "I won't tell you that I buy the [Facebook] results 100%, but I accept the results 90%," said Jack Klues, CEO of Vivaki, a digital-advertising firm owned by Publicis Groupe PUB.FR +0.90% SA. "I'm cautious on how literally to interpret" the new data.

Others are beginning to act on the new Facebook information. By last month, GM and Facebook were in talks to bring the auto maker back as a paid advertiser, after Ms. Everson met with GM's then-global marketing chief at an industry conference in France.

A spokesman for GM said the company has had meetings with Facebook.

Ford and Coca-Cola have also recently endorsed Facebook's ads as having an impact on their sales. Coca-Cola marketing chief Joe Tripodi said at the same advertising conference in France that Facebook ads probably help drive its beverage sales.

"If we can get 40-million plus fans, or even some subset of them talking positively about the things we're doing, ultimately that's a good thing for us," Mr. Tripodi said.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart's Mr. Quinn said he is increasing his Facebook ad budget this year, though he declined to reveal dollar figures. Facebook advertising is "one of the major growth areas in Wal-Mart's marketing efforts," he said.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Truth Will Out: Integration (Triple Pundit, By Ashley Coale - CSRHub)

So what exactly did Unilever CMO Keith Weed mean when he told the annual Marketing Society audience  in London at the end of last year that CSR departments have become redundant? Well, besides meaning to be just a little bit provocative, he also meant that the time has come to look past add-on CSR units within a corporation and start thinking about integration.
Calling a CSR department redundant wasn’t Weed’s way of saying CSR or sustainability efforts no longer have value. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Much like the example that Unilever is striving to set, integrated sustainability means putting sustainable principles into every facet of business operations. CSR is not the sole purvey of corporate affairs, the corporate foundation, the marketing department or even facilities. It’s part of all these departments and more. With integration, sustainability drives strategy, planning and the core of what and who the business is.
Companies that put integrated sustainability into practice strive to build a culture of environmental and social responsibility. Fostering a culture that embraces these values down to every decision is an effective way to standardize and insure compliance. (See Bertel’s Framework for more on this idea). Leaders such as Inteland Cisco incorporate sustainability goals – among other core frameworks – into individual employee performance reviews and base bonuses on successful achievement of these goals.
Intel and Cisco, among other leaders, also work to integrate sustainability into governance strategy. Board-level planning and decisions to embed sustainability into strategy reinforces this type of corporate culture. It also pushes the company to take a longer-term approach and innovate for the future challenges of a resource-constrained world. (For more on Intel and Cicso, check out their ratings on CSRHubIntel scores a 66 andCisco scores a 69.)
With the whole team on board, and executive reinforcement, there is no longer an isolated CSR effort. Instead, sustainability becomes a part of each decision, product and service. Nike’s Considered Design is an example of sustainability at conception, design and production of a product. Rather than looking at how to reduce impact after the product is made and shipped, Nike has taken a leadership role in employing principles of sustainable design right from the start. Integrated sustainability means thinking about this challenge every step of the way and in every conference room, office, assembly line and factory.

Monday, 16 July 2012

How business can help people improve their health and wellbeing (The Guardian)

Unilever's chief marketing officer argues that cross sector partnerships are critical to creating the transformation required to tackle threats to health and wellbeing

As part of our Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has made a commitment to helping more than one billion people take action to improve their health and wellbeing by 2020.
Delivering on this commitment won't be easy. At Unilever, we believe that public/private partnerships are critical to creating the type of transformational change needed to tackle threats to the future health and wellbeing of people in need and achieve our sustainability goals.
An estimated 2.5 billion people - over half of the developing world's population - do not have access to improved sanitation. Of these, 1.1 billion people have no sanitation facilities at all, and practise open defecation, which poses the greatest threat to human health.

Children are particularly vulnerable: poor sanitation is a leading cause of diarrhoea, which results in at least 1.1 million deaths of children under five annually. In the developing world, one child dies of diarrhoea every 20 seconds; a statistic that I personally find appalling.

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7c is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the global population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Unilever has been actively addressing the lack of access to safe drinking water, and delivering against our goal of making safe drinking water available and affordable to 500 million people. The recent launch of Waterworks, a non-profit initiative that will provide safe drinking water to those most in need, serves as an example of our commitment.

But sanitation is an area that has been largely neglected by most companies, NGOs and governments. At the current rate, the sanitation MDG target will not be met until 2026. Open defecation remains a very real problem that needs to be addressed more decisively if we want to safeguard the future of children around the world.

Raising awareness of the sanitation crisis is particularly relevant this week as South Sudan – a country in which access to sanitation is estimated to be below 10% in some areas – celebrates its first anniversary as a country.
The Unilever Foundation and Domestos, our toilet hygiene brand, have joined forces with UNICEF to help improve access to basic sanitation by supporting UNICEF's Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programme. We will contribute to changing the behaviour of hundreds of thousands of people through sanitation programmes that promote good hygiene practices, help create demand for toilets and raise awareness for the sanitation crisis. In the first year, the programmes we are supporting will help 400,000 people to start living in open defecation free communities in nine countries across Africa and Asia – including South Sudan.
Together with our partners, we will deliver life-saving solutions that help improve the quality of people's lives, and in turn, drive significant and scalable social change. Unless we do so, the children of South Sudan, and of other countries around the world, will not be able to build a future for their countries.
Keith Weed is chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Seeking a creative edge in Cannes sun (Evening Standard, By Gideon Spanier)

The eurozone is in crisis and Britain is back in recession, but you wouldn’t know it at the Cannes Lions festival where the bars, private beaches and yachts were heaving.

The annual, week-long pow-wow for the advertising industry — a mixture of speeches, parties and awards — was full of paradoxes.

One ad agency flew in actor John Hamm, aka Don Draper from TV drama Mad Men, a fictional ad man from a bygone era. Then there was internet firm Yahoo, on its third chief executive in just three years, which felt that having a big yacht sent out a positive message. Meanwhile, The Guardian deservedly won a prestigious Gold Lion after splashing out on its “Three Little Pigs” TV ad, even though the paper continues to lose £40 million a year.

Cannes matters because advertising generates £320 billion in annual revenues worldwide, up 4% on last year, despite economic jitters, according to Zenith Optimedia. The UK market is worth about £16 billion.

This is a rare opportunity for face-to-face contact for ad folk from around the globe, who meet in search of that magical, elusive quality: creativity. As WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell likes to say: “We know it exists. We usually know it when we see it. We know that our future prosperity depends on it... But we can’t put a number to it.”

One of the best ways to seek inspiration is to look at the thousands of pieces of work on display. The talk in recent years has been about the rise of Asia and Latin America. However, this year, Western markets, including the UK,  did well.

The top Grand Prix awards in film and press went to agencies in the US, Italy and France. The US-based Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle triumphed with a gentle animated film telling the tale of a farmer trying unhealthy industrial methods before returning to natural ways. French channel Canal+ also won for its hilarious TV ad about a film director called The Bear. Both were proof that story-telling counts.

Press ads also performed strongly. Clothing chain Benetton won for its striking “Unhate” campaign, which imagined political rivals such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy kissing.

If this was the year that the West bounced back creatively, it was also a year when old-media firms — particularly those from London — regained some swagger. In addition to The Guardian’s success, The Sunday Times won Gold for its poster ads for the Rich List and Channel 4 took a design Gold for its More4 branding.

Digital innovation was oddly lacking. Even the smartest piece of work, Nike Fuel Band, which measures how much energy you’ve expended, is more of a physical than a virtual creation.

On the basis of awards won, emerging markets such as India, China and Russia lack creative clout. “There isn’t yet the work which is of a quality to win,” believes Miles Young, worldwide chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather.

He is well qualified to judge as his agency was the most-awarded, bagging a record 83 Lions. Domestic politics doesn’t explain fully the lack of strong work. “China is much more creatively led than Russia, even though you might argue China is less democratic,” says Young, whose Shanghai office won a Grand Prix for a Coca-Cola poster.

It’s not just agencies that come to Cannes seeking inspiration. Clients attended in record numbers — all the better to keep an eye on their agencies. 

A quarter of the 11,000 delegates, or nearly 3000, came from brands, according to Britain’s Top Right Group, formerly Emap, which runs the Lions.

Drinks company Diageo had around 17 staff — double last year. Energy giant Shell, which barely sent anyone previously, had 20. “The primary purpose of being here is following through on a belief that brilliance in creativity drives a disproportionate economic return,” explains Diageo chief marketing officer Andy Fennell.

“It’s a really cluttered media world — with social and search on top of TV and magazines — so creativity is at a premium,” believes Keith Weed, the top marketer at consumer goods giant Unilever.

Some fun-loving ad folk grumble that Cannes has become more sombre with so many clients. For Unilever's Weed, “this is a business conference”.

Most Brits were surprisingly upbeat, even allowing for the sunshine and rosĂ© wine. WPP’s £350 million deal to buy digital agency AKQA, announced at the festival, showed London is still a fertile breeding-ground for world-class talent.
Sir John Hegarty, whose Bartle Bogle Hegarty agency was behind The Guardian ad and Grand Prix-winning work for Lynx deodorant, says: “I think London is producing better work than last year — but you get ups and downs.”

Hegarty has the benefit of the long view, founding BBH in 1982 and keeping it independent. “One of the problems in the UK is that there aren’t enough people starting agencies with passionate beliefs,” he warns. “I think there are lots of people who are starting agencies who are desperate to make money. But money is a tool, not a philosophy. Consequently, you don’t get that commitment to creativity.”

Cannes could do with more of Hegarty’s passion.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Unilever Taps Facebook Masses to Give Water to 500 Million (AdAge, By Jack Neff)

When Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan in late 2010, perhaps the most ambitious goal was to provide safe drinking water by 2020 to 500 million people -- more than currently live in South America. Now the consumer packaged-goods giant is tapping Facebook's 900 million global users for help.

Unilever Global Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed was expected to announce the not-for-profit WaterWorks partnership with Facebook and Population Services International during a presentation at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes on Friday morning.

Through a Facebook app and the website, joinwaterworks.com, users can donate between 10 euro cents to 1 euro daily (about $1.27) via Facebook Credits (or ultimately other means). They can direct contributions to individual WaterWorkers, who will distribute Unilever's PureIt water purification products. In their newsfeeds, they'll get photos and updates both from the aid workers and the people and villages they help.

Keith Weed
It's a social-media twist on a charitable-marketing approach long used by another Unilever sustainability partner -- Save the Children. And in an interview Thursday before his talk, Mr. Weed said the program has been embraced personally by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who met with him and other members of the social-network's client council earlier this week in Cannes.

Beyond goodwill, it's not clear how much Unilever or Facebook benefit financially from WaterWorks. Facebook is phasing out Credits, so introducing more users to it won't be strategic. Though the program will include Facebook ads, it's run through the Unilever Foundation, a not-for-profit arm that reports to Mr. Weed, who also oversees sustainability efforts.

Asked how WaterWorks helps Unilever's brands and business, Mr. Weed said: "Not at all."

That's probably what tax collectors want to hear, since the Unilever Foundation is a tax-free not-for-profit. It may not be what shareholders want. But Unilever likely does get some benefit, beyond the warm feeling.
The company gets 54% of its sales from developing markets today, among the highest ratios among any global marketer. Water is one of the biggest and most life-threatening problems facing Unilever's consumers there.

"The biggest killer in the world still is water-borne diseases," Mr. Weed said. "Every 20 seconds a child dies of water-borne diseases."

In Mumbai, he said, people only get two hours of public running water daily. "They move water around the city, and if the water is on between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., that's when you're day starts. … That's now. What happens when there are 2.5 billion more people?"

Since announcing its water goal in November 2010, Unilever is 40 million people on its way toward its goal. "So between now and 2020, I've got quite a lot to do to get to 500 million," Mr. Weed said. "I decided the only way to do this is to get to the masses … through charitable work. And we started discussions with Facebook to co-create this idea."

Facebook has attracted plenty of critics lately, but Mr. Weed isn't among them. "I'm a great supporter of social media generally and Facebook specifically," he said. "Certainly we have found ways that the Ben & Jerrys of the world or local brands like Marmite can engage beyond the 30-second ad."

As he sees it, if bigger brands don't get the scale to make Facebook a major piece of the marketing mix, some of the blame may lie with marketers. "What we need to get our mind around is we need to develop creative for social media," he said. "Social media by design, and why care/why share are all very important things."

More broadly, digital is still trumped by TV and traditional media broadly in Unilever's marketing budgets, though in the U.S. he said it matches the roughly 30% share that consumers spend in media time online. In India, where consumers spend 4% of their media time online, the digital share is more like 4%, he said.
Can he envision a world where digital becomes the bulk of spending for the world's second-biggest advertiser? Yes, Mr. Weed said, but first marketing and the world will have to change a bit.

"Our biggest challenge is to have always-on quality content, which is cost effective," he said. "Right now you can pick two of the three, but you can't get all three. You can be always on and quality, but it's going to cost me money. Or you can be always on and cost effective, but you're not going to have quality."

Unilever's content partnerships with the likes of Viacom and News Corp., he said, are part of addressing that challenge. Another challenge is making mobile marketing work, addressing the mode by which the next two billion consumers in the world will likely get online, he said.

And the third change is the convergence of digital and traditional media, which may render the question moot by eliminating the distinction. "I can imagine in the next few years the distinction between traditional and digital disappears, because whatever you have on your device will also be on your TV," Mr. Weed said. "The moving picture on a flat screen is alive and well," he said, by whatever means it's delivered.

Of course, the digital revolution may have to wait until delegates leave Cannes. Mr. Weed originally planned to invite the Cannes audience to sign up directly for WaterWorks, displaying the profiles of people who did so instantly on the screen. Given the reality of spotty wireless and internet connections in Cannes, however, he may scrap that part of the presentation -- but Unilever will still match the contributions made by the audience.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cannes 2012: Loving thy brands (afaqs, By Anushree Bhattacharyya)

At the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Keith Weed, chief marketing and communication officer, Unilever and Marc Mathieu, senior vice-president, marketing, Unilever spoke on the topics, 'Crafting brands for life: How Unilever is reinventing marketing'. Together, they discussed the key factors of marketing and what companies should do for not only richer dividends but for better future.
Usually products are created for sale, but now companies are creating products to be loved and cherished for life. In this process, some products are disliked, therefore FMCG companies are looking for products and solutions that will allow sustainable growth. At the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Keith Weed, chief marketing and communication officer, Unilever and Marc Mathieu, senior vice-president, marketing, Unilever spoke on the topics, 'Crafting brands for life: How Unilever is reinventing marketing'.
Together, they discussed the key factors of marketing that Unilever follows and what should companies do for not only richer dividends but for better future.
Weed said, "As marketers, people should have long-term vision. They should be able to understand in which direction the world is moving and hence work towards achieving sustainable growth. They should understand that demand-led growth is no longer enough as now everyone is looking for social and environment-led growth as well. The job of the marketers is to walk ahead of the consumers and identify what they need."
He next gave the example of William Lever, one of the founders of Unilever, and how he fought the issue of hygiene through the launch of detergent Sunlight during the time of the industrial revolution in England. The company since then has become the largest producer of soaps and detergents and continues its battle with hygiene.
"Developing and emerging markets are growing at a fast pace. While at present half of the middle class consumers belong to Asia, by 2030, the number will increase to 42 per cent and by 2050, is touted to go to 54 per cent. By 2050, it is estimated that the world population will grow to 9.5 billion people from the present 7.2 billion people. While people are now driving the business, companies should now look at reducing the environment load and increasing the social impact."
According to him, companies should now invest in building brands that are loved as consumers are no longer just buyers, they are real people with real lives. Companies should focus on establishing empathy.
Taking forward the concept of 'Love brands', Mathieu shared certain points that can be adopted by marketers of other brands. "At Unilever, our brands bring together a superior product to buy into. Also, we engage our brands' users to build brands. Then companies should nurture brands' DNA for generations to come," he added.
Furthermore, he emphasised that companies should focus on building brands that people can't live without. "Marketers should concentrate on making the brand an integral part of the consumer's life, so much so that they can't live without your brand. They should unlock the magic of the brand and this can be achieved through communication. The communication designed for the brand should be able to gain the trust of the consumer, it should be able to create an emotional connect. Overall, one integrated brand experience should be created," added Mathieu.
According to Mathieu, marketing is a craft experience, and those who are involved in the process should be confident of moving fast and should be ready to experience new things and further spread it across the world.
At the end, Weed talked about a new initiative called 'Water Worker', which the company has begun in collaboration with PSI and Facebook, wherein once a user of the social network site clicks on the brand's page, she gets an option to participate by donating any amount of money. With the donation, poor people are given the water purifier from Unilever. "The idea here is to provide clean drinking water to everybody. The global foundation will work to create a better world," remarked Weed.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Business, sustainability and children (The Guardian, By Maritza Ascencios for UNICEF)

Ahead of Rio+20, a twitter chat gave audiences the opportunity to question leading CSR figures from Unilever and UNICEF, and learn more about children's rights, business and sustainability

Businesses small and large inevitably interact with and have an effect on the lives of children both directly and indirectly. With 2.2 billion children under 18 years old – almost one third of the world's population – businesses should consider children as they develop their sustainability strategies.
As part of the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children will bring together business leaders at a panel event to discuss why business should consider children as they develop their sustainability strategies. The event, taking place on 17 June, is set to engage business leaders and other stakeholders to explore how their decisions can maximise the positive impacts and minimise the negative impacts on children. In the lead up to the Rio event, UNICEF hosted a Twitter chat which aimed to open up the conversation and encourage questions on children's rights, business and sustainability, to the groups most affected – children and young people.

Suba Jayasekaran, CSR specialist from UNICEF and Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer from Unilever, explained how businesses can step up their efforts to respect and support children's rights in the workplace, marketplace and community. For UNICEF, the framework for business to respect and support children's rights is the Children's Rights and Business Principles, which outlines specific business actions that can be taken. Recognising children as key stakeholders is essential around issues such as youth, child labour, child protection, health and nutrition.

The role of small business
Asked how the millions of small businesses can get more involved, UNICEF responded that it provides tools and guides for small business to begin learning more. Participants responded that a problem for small business is that many are unaware of the issues and thus will never seek tools. In order to promote the involvement of businesses effectively to achieve more impact, Unilever indicated that businesses need to engage on the whole value chain, citing an example of working with more than one million smallholder farmers. For UNICEF, work at country level through different platforms and associations provide other opportunities to engage small business and national companies.
To encourage traditional profit-driven businesses to engage more deeply in children rights, Unilever replied that for businesses to be sustainable the issues involve not just today's customers, but also tomorrow's customers and workers. This is especially relevant given the transparency and memory of the Internet age because businesses will be held to account.
Marketing to children
Another challenging question concerned Unilever's position regarding the marketing of food to children. Weed pointed out Unilever's global marketing code which guides marketing – for example, this guide ensures no marketing to children under the age of six and strict standards exist for marketing to children between six and 12. A subsequent question on heavily branded corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities aimed at the youth by the tobacco and alcohol industry elicited a response from UNICEF pointing to principle six of the Children's Rights & Business Principles on marketing and advertising that respects children's rights and promotes positive living.

How sustainable should a business be?
The question of how a business gauges how sustainable, ethical or responsible is 'enough' garnered a response from Unilever that in a resource-constrained world, decoupling growth from environmental impact is essential. Sustaining growth without having a negative impact on the environment while delivering increased social value is the approach Unilever is taking. In November 2010, Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan which is its business model that commits the company to a ten-year journey towards sustainable growth.
In support of such efforts, UNICEF has just released Children are Everyone's Business, a practical handbook to help companies understand and address their impact on children's rights.
With participants from 59 countries joining in to learn and challenge business, the twitter chat generated interest from around the globe in advance of Rio+20 conference.
Businesses represented at the Rio+20 panel event - Children and Business: Making the Connection to Sustainability - will consider these and other issues with speakers from corporations including Grupo Arcor, Ikea and Novo Nordisk.