Friday, 27 January 2012

Unilever's Keith Weed: Moving beyond corporate social responsibility (

One of the challenges we face each year in Davos is to keep a focus on long term global, regional and industry agendas in amidst the myriad short term issues around us and that the media invariably focus on. Of course ‘great transformations’, ‘shared values’ and sustainability initiatives don’t provide for sexy copy, as Gillian Tett emphasized in the FT debate on Tuesday night that I participated in. But if we can’t take a step back here with such a broad group of leaders to look at different ways of doing business, then I’m not sure when we ever can. I am pleased to say the sessions I attended on Shared Values and also on Sustainable Consumption did exactly that.

Similarly, we had a fascinating discussion this morning on new ways of building global partnerships with NGOs and UN agencies to solve major social problems, as we announced the new Unilever Foundation today. In a discussion with senior people from Unicef, Oxfam, PSI, Save the Children and the World Food Programme we explored how business can, in the words of PSI’s CEO Karl Hofmann ‘move out of CSR and into P&L’. This is something Unilever has long explored ever since our William Hesketh Lever’s vision of ‘doing well by doing good’ in building Port Sunlight in the UK. So in addition to our stretching environmental and sustainable sourcing targets, Unilever is committed to helping a billion people improve their health and wellbeing by 2020; and as with so many other difficult challenges we can only achieve this in close partnership with others.
My view is that companies need to look at their own impact on society and the environment and build on their particular strengths to create a more sustainable world. In Unilever’s case we are active in 180 countries, with over half of our sales in developing and emerging markets, and of course our core product range of essential items like ‘soap and soup’ means it is natural to focus on hygiene and nutrition. For initiatives to really work, they need to move way beyond traditional, transactional CSR or philanthropy (we abolished our CSR department) and link directly to cause related marketing for big global brands. You could call it moving from a .org to a .com relationship with NGO partners. So we are working with our core five partners in conjunction with our brands like Lifebuoy, Domestos, Pureit, Knorr and Walls, in a way that will help drive revenue for the brand as well as demonstrably do good work.

Keith Weed the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever
Pictured: Unilever: 2011′s ‘five levers for change’ CSR campaign

UNILEVER : launches Global Foundation (

Partnership with five global organisations to deliver sustainable change worldwide launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

To help achieve the Foundation's mission, Unilever has formed partnerships with five leading global organizations that are committed to creating sustainable change worldwide: Oxfam, PSI, Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

The Unilever Foundation is a key action that Unilever is taking to help achieve its goal of helping more than one billion people improve their health and well-being, and in turn, create a sustainable future.

"We live in a rapidly changing world. One where populations are growing, water is becoming increasingly scarce, and where food security is a growing issue. Unilever is committed to addressing the unmet social needs that our business can play a unique role in helping to solve. This is especially true in developing and emerging markets where we have deep roots," said Keith Weed, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Unilever.

"We aim to double the size of our business while reducing our environmental impact and deliver increased social value. Together with our partners, we will deliver life-saving solutions as we work toward achieving these ambitious goals," he added. The challenges of the 21st century are increasingly complex:

  • Over 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.

  • More than 3.5 million children under 5 die annually from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.

  • One child dies every four seconds from preventable and treatable diseases.

  • 2.6 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.

  • An estimated 925 million people suffer from chronic hunger.

"Two billion times a day, somebody, somewhere, uses a Unilever brand. Our global reach and scale, coupled with a deep understanding of what triggers consumer behaviours that can lead to a sustainable future, uniquely enable us to drive long-term scalable and systemic change," added Weed.

The Unilever Foundation will be working with its Global partners on a number of live-saving initiatives:
The Unilever Foundation's partnership with Oxfam will improve lives around the world through programmes designed to empower individuals and deliver good nutrition and clean, safe drinking water. According to Barbara Stocking, Oxfam Chief Executive, "Unilever and Oxfam have been working together across the world for quite a number of years so we are pleased to be working with Unilever with the new Foundation as it is set up. The first way that we are going to work together is in the UK, providing food parcels to the very poorest people and helping them move from surviving to thriving. We are looking forward to extending that worldwide, focusing on two pillars core to Oxfam's work on tackling poverty and inequality - the rights of women and access to clean drinking water."

In supporting PSI, the Unilever Foundation is making a tangible contribution to improving the health of children and families through delivering behavioural change interventions focused on hand washing, clean drinking water and sanitation. "The launch of the Unilever Foundation represents the best of what is possible in Davos," said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI. "By pooling ideas and resources, private companies and health organizations can improve the health of millions of children and families worldwide. PSI is excited to be working with Unilever, a company that recognizes - and values - the economic impact of good health."
The Unilever Foundation is working with Save the Children to save and improve the lives of children around the world. This will involve improving access to health workers and life-saving vaccines, and ensuring more children and mothers are reached with high-impact health and nutrition programmes. The partnership will also provide a platform to catalyse a global movement and generate the public and political will for a global breakthrough on child survival. Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of Save the Children International, said "Save the Children is proud to be selected as a partner for the Unilever Foundation. This partnership will help us to deliver transformational change to millions of children's lives around the world through our EVERY ONE campaign. Each year 7.6 million children die needlessly of preventable illnesses. The support from Unilever will bring us a step closer to ensuring that a health worker is within reach of every child, life-saving vaccines are available for all, and children have enough food to grow up healthy. Combining our global reach and joint mbition - we can give children the chance to fulfil their potential."

The Unilever Foundation and UNICEF are partnering to improve sanitation in developing countries through UNICEF's Community Approaches to Total Sanitation ('CATS') initiative, a behaviour change program that promotes good hygiene practices, helps create demand for access to toilets, and raises awareness of the sanitation crisis. "By investing with communities in sanitation, this partnership is helping us break one of the last taboos in public health - open defecation - and demonstrating real leadership for the private sector," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF's Executive Director. "Improved sanitation could prevent the deaths of over one million children each year so these investments have enormous potential for the future health and strength of their societies."

The Unilever Foundation is also partnering with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Project Laser Beam, a public-private partnership that aims to create a scalable and sustainable model to improve nutrition, health, and livelihoods in Bangladesh and Indonesia. "With millions of children around the world suffering from malnutrition, there has never been a better time to take action on this truly solvable problem," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. "Project Laser Beam is investing in the next generation by ensuring that our children grow up healthy and strong. The knowledge and expertise of partners like the Unilever Foundation help make this goal a reality."

Additionally, the Unilever Foundation is also working with other organizations worldwide by providing a combination of direct funding, expertise, products and employee support that help to help address country-specific needs primarily aligned with the Foundation's mission.

About the Unilever Foundation Partners

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and suffering. Since its Oxford-based beginnings in 1942, it has grown into a worldwide force. Oxfam is now working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.

Oxfam has one million supporters in the UK. For every £1 donated to its general funds, 83p is spent on emergency, development and campaigning work, 10p is spent on support and governance and 7p is invested to generate future income. Oxfam has more than 700 high street shops across the UK selling donated fashion, books, music, homewares and new ethical products. It is supported by a workforce of 22,000 volunteers. Oxfam also launched the UK's first online charity shop in 2007. Oxfam GB is affiliated to Oxfam International, a global confederation of 15 independent Oxfams which share the same purpose. Visit

PSI is a global non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges like a lack of family planning, HIV/AIDS, maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Twitter:; Blog:

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

Save the Children
Save the Children works in more than 120 countries. We save children's lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential. For more information visit:

World Food Programme
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting malnutrition and hunger worldwide. Each year, on average WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries. WFP has prioritized reaching children in the first 1000 days, when their brains and bodies are subject to permanent stunting due to a lack of micronutrients. WFP procures 80 percent of food and nutrition supplies it purchases from the developing world. WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on For more details see http://www.wfp.

For additional information, please contact:
Kate RedmanSave the Children +44 (0) 78999 02886+33 (0) 60 204
Leona EverittOxfam+44 (0)1865
Marshall StowellPSI+1 202 785
Unilever PLC
Lucila ZambranoGlobal Media Relations Director
+44 (0)207 822
+31 (0) 10 217
Unilever PLC
Unilever House100 Victoria EmbankmentLondonEC4Y 0DY
+44 (0) 20 7822

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Unilever’s Keith Weed: ‘We have to find sustainable solutions’ (

This year’s theme: “The Great Transformation – shaping new models”, is well chosen. It is clear that the world cannot go on as it currently is doing, using up limited resources as though they will be magically replaced. We’re all aware of the impact of rising commodity costs but at an individual level, the repercussions are so stark – a statue being stolen from a park in the UK to be sold as scrap metal or cooking stoves only being used a few days a month. We have now reached a global population of 7 billion, and experts say we will be at 9 billion by 2050. Citizens in the fast-growing BRIC countries, and throughout the rest of Asia, have rising expectations of their living standards. We have to find sustainable solutions. This means that the world’s food, energy and water, to name just three examples, are going to come under tremendous pressure in the years to come. Irreversible harm may already have been done to our climate. That is why we are making some big commitments at Unilever to decouple our business growth from our impact on the planet. We are on a journey with our customers towards sustainable consumption, learning from each other, trying to develop products that customers choose to buy because they are of high quality, but also because they are much less resource-intensive.Great brands, and great companies, have always walked ahead of consumers. They have a point of view. They don’t just respond to current needs – what consumers say they want now – but they anticipate what consumers will need, or might need in the future, and they shape markets accordingly.As well as the debate on sustainability, I am looking forward to discussing “shared value” strategies with colleagues. This is, potentially, an inspiring way forward for business: using the disciplines of business to help fix social problems. Shared value represents a significant advance on simple corporate social responsibility initiatives, with which we are all familiar. It is real business for a good purpose.Expectations are always high at the start of the Forum. It should be a fascinating few days.

Keith Weed is Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever

Friday, 13 January 2012

Keith Weed - Unilever Global CMO - on Microsoft Advertising, Kinect & #CES2012 (

Gathered some short but sweet comments from Unilever's Global CMO on why the world's second largest advertiser is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, and what's thrilling him about Microsoft's offering in the consumer space that he sees opportunities to harness as a marketing vehicle.

More from us at:

Unilever's Weed talks media connectivity and consumer behaviour (Brand Republic, By Arif Durrani,

Technology convergence is set to dramatically change how people consume media and the best ways for marketers to try and reach them, according to Keith Weed, global chief marketing officer of Unilever.

Weed was speaking to JWT at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US this week and left no doubt about the need for marketers to find new ways of communicating in the age of convergence.
He said: "Connectivity, and everything joining-up, changes [everything] completely.

"When you have a connected TV, that's just now one platform, and we're going to have think one platform much more, in terms of how we engage with our consumers and how we build campaigns."
The global marketer behind world leading brands Cif, Knorr and Walls, and who famously gave his fellow marketers and board members iPads when he began his role in 2010, also revealed he'd been holding meetings with digital giants Google and Facebook.

Underlining the importance in being prepared for such shifts in media consumption, he said: "We're a mass market consumer goods business, we’re engaging with two billion consumers every day, and for me I need to understand about where those consumers are going, how do they consumer media, how do they live their lives, how do they interact with our brands."

JWT Worldmakers is a new webs-based initiative hosted by Bob Jeffrey, chief executive and chairman of JWT Worldwide, designed to explore the convergence of advertising, technology and entertainment.
Launched at this year's 45th annual CES in Las Vegas, all episodes of Worldmakers are available on JWT’s YouTube channel.

Follow Arif Durrani on Twitter: @DurraniMix
This article was first published on

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Connected Consumers Changing CE (Twice, By David Elrich)

Las Vegas - If you think your head is spinning dealing with the brave new world of connected electronics, consider the marketers who now have to sell products to newly empowered consumers carrying devices that keep them linked to the Internet at all times. During the Brand Keynote Panel at the Hilton Theater, six high-ranking marketing executives gave their views of this sea change, how it impacts their companies and how it will affect consumers as the object of those marketing messages.What was surprising is the fact there were no definitive answers to these questions. Realistically, one shouldn't expect them as an avalanche of new technology spreads across the globe, which is readily apparent at the 2012 International CES. Moderator Michael Kassan pointed out that more marketers than ever are attending the show so they learn about the latest technologies and what it means for people selling everything from cars to Pop-Tarts. CES - which Unilever CMO Keith Wood said now means "Connecting Everyone Socially"- is the launch pad for these devices, and marketers need to understand the changes they'll bring in order to survive. "Mobile is going to revolutionize retail - we've known this for decades," said Stephen Quinn, Walmart chief marketing officer. As he recalled how male customers would use their cellphones to get buying directions from their wives, to knowing chuckles from the crowd, Quinn stated how the move into the social space - with everyone posting on Facebook and other social media sites - would have a "massive impact" on retail. "What we see at Facebook is that human behavior hasn't actually changed since Neolithic times. People lived in villages of about 150, the average number of friends on Facebook," said Carolyn Everson, global marketing solutions VP. "Technology is connecting us to people we know and those we don't know and within four degrees of separation you're connected to about a million people." "We're seeing our customers are massively engaged in this," said Walmart's Quinn. The question for him was "how do we create an ecosystem around our joint objectives," with vendors. Along with cash register receipts Quinn watches other metrics. "We are watching our fan count on Facebook, using that as a real key metric."Another issue raised was the growing amount of data posted to social-media sites. GE's Beth Comstock mused about who owns the data, what was its value and how marketers could use it to customize sales pitches to individual consumers. One thing for sure was the growth of connected individuals. "The next billion people coming onto the Internet will be coming via mobile, not the desktop," said Keith Weed. "Technology is changing behavior and as marketer you're interested in how consumers behave, what they value, and how you can make their life experiences richer."Since this is CES, Kassan queried the panelists as to what they considered their indispensible tech device. To a man, and woman, it was a smartphone.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Worldmakers at CES 2012: Unilever's Keith Weed speaks with JWT's Bob Jeffrey

JWT Worldwide CEO and Chairman Bob Jeffrey, speaks with Keith Weed, Unilever Global CMO, on the Worldmakers set at CES, the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Unilever's Keith Weed: We Must 'Get to the Future First' (Ad Age Digital, by Michael Learmonth)

Global CMO Talks About New Technologies and Why Apple's iAd Is Still In Unilever's Plans

Unilever, the world's second-largest advertiser, brought more than 30 marketing executives to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to meet with tech partners and immerse themselves in the technologies shaping the way people interact with content and one another.
Ad Age sat down with global CMO Keith Weed to talk about the impact of connected TVs, the cloud, mobile, computers in cars and the other emerging technologies on Unilever's ad spending plans. The megatrend that Mr. Weed is watching closely: the move to an on-demand world of content and what it will mean for the billions Unilever spends on TV advertising worldwide.
"The cloud is important to us because now people can select what they want to view when they want to view it, and as an advertiser there are consequences for that," Mr. Weed said. "There might be an opportunity for the brand to be a filter; using Axe, say, to get male programming, or with a beauty brand or food."
Unilever is also forming what it calls a Digital Advisory Board and filling it with outside execs to help the packaged-goods giant navigate the future. Board members include former Microsoft VP-marketing Mich Matthews, former Yahoo EVP Hilary Schnieider and Dan Gill, CEO of Huddler, a startup that creates media properties out of message boards. The goal, Mr. Weed said, is to "get to the future first."

CMOs Explain Why They're Flocking to Vegas for CES (AdAge, By: Michael Learmonth)

From Tech Partnerships to Predicting Behavior Changes, Show Points to Future of Marketing
The merger of technology and marketing is well underway, part of the reason thousands of marketers and agency execs have over the past few years been descending in ever-greater numbers on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

In a keynote panel at CES, MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan called on a diverse group of marketers from AT&T, Walmart Stores, Facebook, GE, Hyundai and Unilever to explain the phenomenon. In short, the marketers need to understand the technology and the human activities it enables, such as how consumers connect with each other and with brands. "Why are so many marketers at CES? The real question is why all of them aren't at CES," Mr. Kassan said. He's running, in cooperation with CES, a CMO Club at this year's show.

For the non-technology marketer, it's about keeping up with and embracing fast-paced technological change. It's also about cultivating the tech partnerships that mass marketers increasingly need. "We simply need to know how consumers engage with media and engage with brands," said Keith Weed, global CMO of Unilever, whose team is also holding meetings with Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, as well as its Digital Advisory Board on Thursday.

Tech isn't the only thing changing. Human behavior is as well, as devices allow consumers to communicate and share on a massive scale, as well as interact with retailers and brands. "I'm a marketer and that makes me a behavioralist," said GE CMO Beth Comstock. "How is tech changing the behavior?"

Walmart is a longtime attendee of CES, if nothing else because it is a major buyer and seller of electronics to consumers. But now it's coming to the show with a wider agenda. As the devices get more powerful and social, retailers have to respond. "Everyone is getting smarter; customers won't tolerate a store that isn't moving as fast as they are," said Stephen Quinn, CMO of Walmart .

It goes without saying that mobile would transform retail, but Walmart saw it start to happen years before smartphones in the voice calls and texts sent in the aisles. "A lot of the behaviors around this have existed forever," Mr. Quinn said. "When the cellphones appeared a couple years ago we'd see guys in the store saying, 'Do you mean the red one or the blue one?'"

The behaviors are changing as the devices enable it. As they're connected to the web, they're getting re-wired for social. "We think we're at the early stages of what's happening with devices," said Carolyn Everson, VP of global marketing at Facebook. "The entire web is being rebuilt around people. People like to have their friends around them when they make decisions. You are going to see this in TVs -- instead of thumbing through thousands of channels, your friends will help bring content to you."

In cars, technology has become a marketing differentiator only when voice technology became good enough to enable it. "It's a delicate balance; it has to be two hands on the wheel, eyes on the road," said Steve Shannon, VP-marketing for Hyundai America. "A radio ad salesman in Detroit told me 20 years ago a car is just a radio on wheels. Now it's a search engine on wheels."

All of those devices, of course, are connected to a network struggling to adapt to new uses. "When you step back and look at the trends, every single device here is connected on a fast mobile network, and the devices in our pockets are supercomputers," said AT&T CMO David Christopher.

All of those net-connected devices are generating troves of data that now inform how marketers interact with consumers. Walmart , for example, uses historical patterns in the data to predict sales and make stores smarter.

"We've been through enough hurricanes that our system already knows and starts shipping water, batteries, generators and blueberry Pop Tarts," Mr. Quinn said. "The system doesn't know why, but in the last 10 hurricanes blueberry Pop Tarts turned out to be key to the recovery effort."

With data come matters of ownership and privacy, and marketers on the panel said that technologists alone won't be the ones to solve them. "Who owns the data and what's the value of the data," said Ms. Comstock. "Who is going to make sense of this if not us?"

The megatrend global CMO Keith Weed of Unilever is watching closely: Move to on-demand world of content (

Unilever was well present at the CES at Las Vegas, the world's second-largest advertiser, brought more than 30 marketing executives the event to immerse themselves in the technologies shaping the way people interact with content and one another.

Watch the video here on Ad Age, where it sat down with global CMO Keith Weed to talk about the impact of connected TVs, the cloud, mobile, computers in cars and the other emerging technologies on Unilever's ad spending plans.

MegatrendAs Ad Age puts it: “The megatrend that Mr. Weed is watching closely: the move to an on-demand world of content and what it will mean for the billions Unilever spends on TV advertising worldwide.”
Mr. Weed said:"The cloud is important to us because now people can select what they want to view when they want to view it, and as an advertiser there are consequences for that. There might be an opportunity for the brand to be a filter; using Axe, say, to get male programming, or with a beauty brand or food."

Second screen and TV ad spendInteresting perspective, a brand as filter, it might only be a matter of time before valuable advertising revenues also move away from the TV and onto the second screen, this is exactly where brands like Unilever can play a role, be it a filter or as another mechanism. Supplementary information in a branded environment, engaging with customers in their environment on their terms. The brand as a platform.

Open Digital Advisory BoardSecondly, Unilever is forming an open Digital Advisory Board, filling it with outside executives to help the company navigate the future. This open approach where executives from elsewhere are being invitied will spur innovativeness.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Cornered: Keith Weed talks about what marketers can do (

Fellow of The Marketing Society, Keith Weed is Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, championing sustainability, and was cornered by The Marketing Society’s editor Elen Lewis at our Annual conference and was asked what he thought all marketers should do…