Can brand builders do well and do good?

JWT's digital director, Josie Brown, CMO's roving reporter at Cannes, looks at how Unilever is employing both social responsibility and brand strategy to gain success

Few global businesses have been as committed to connecting commercial success with global sustainability as Unilever.

The global CPG powerhouse, which maintains brands such as Dove, Lifebuoy and Ben & Jerry’s, puts social sustainability programmes directly in the hands of the brand builders – not PR or corporate communications – in order to connect brand purpose with social good.

Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, made a passionate presentation at the Cannes Lions last week, laying out a case that brands with social purpose deliver deeper engagement with consumers and that ultimately drives to commercial outcome. He states Unilever brands succeeding in delivering ideas that blend social purpose with a brand idea are growing twice as fast as others in the Unilever portfolio.

Weed proposed three key elements that need to be in place to help brands do well and do good:

Ideas: Inspire and touch people emotionally through creative ideas.

Trust: More trust is required between publishers, clients and agencies in a new marketing age where more specialists and more channels are required to deliver attention grabbing and engaging creative work.

Transformation: New collaborations that bring together technology innovation and creative ideas will lead to deeper engagement with brands.

The work Weed showed on the Cannes stage for Dove, Magnum, Lifebuoy and the Unilever masterbrand were powerful examples that demonstrate how a clear social purpose can be harnessed to deliver powerful creative brand ideas.

The latest Dove work reinforces the brand’s purpose to reinforce that beauty be a source of confidence for women, not anxiety. A film shows signage being hung above doors – making one entrance read ‘beautiful’ and one entrance for ‘average’. The film shows women reading the signage and choosing to enter through the ‘average’ door. The idea in the film is a powerful, emotional connection that certainly delivers on Dove’s social purpose.

Brands need to trust publishers will work with them fairly to ensure these ideas reach and connect with the target audience. Weed made an impassioned plea to online publishers to present paid online advertising where consumers can see it.

In an era of ad-blockers and click-fraud, Unilever is pushing for online advertising standard practices where all ads appear within a readable screen and are 100 per cent visible (not cut off).

The power of transformation in marketing at Unilever was also evident in the work Weed presented for the Masterbrand. Unilever Foundry is a new initiative to connect startup businesses and technology platforms with Unilever’s brand marketers.

One of the outputs is a project called ‘Unilever Futures’, and is about harnessing the talents of new, young entrepreneurs and contributing to fund their social marketing efforts.

If Unilever can genuinely crack a model where brand marketers deliver social purpose as part of a consumer brand proposition that truly delivers commercial outcomes for the corporation, the company will set a new standard others will race to emulate.

- Josie Brown is the APAC director of digital for J. Walter Thompson.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Marin Software’s digital marketing solution as a short way of streamlining and finding a scalable solution...

Al Drazhev

How BizCover is boosting search advertising success

Read more

It is really inspiring to see that medial psychology & machines are going hand in hand to innovate new things and even are improving ...

CBT Professionals

How psychology is shaping better machine learning

Read more

Anything is achievable when you talk the talk .. good luck

Mo Al Hooti

Data Creative crowns Matt Bates as new CMO

Read more

Great hire and good luck Andrew. I am sure you'll do a fabulous jobRob

Rob

Amaysim marketing and commercial chief joins property tech investment startup

Read more

I need to be reborn before i can grow up & become a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in