The 3 pillars of Unilever’s marketing strategy for the connected age

With 7000 marketers and brand partners around the world, collaborating on strategy development is a mammoth undertaking for Unilever, not to mention executing considering it’s the world’s second largest advertiser, with two billion people in 180 markets using one of the packaged goods giant’s products each day.

Unilever’s senior vice president of global media, Luis Di Como, spoke about the organisation’s marketing strategy, newly defined for the ‘connected world’, during a keynote presentation at the annual customer and user conference of tech partner, which is taking place in San Francisco this week.

In one sentence, Unilever’s marketing strategy is this: ‘Crafting brand for life.’

It is the combination of three key pillars:

1. People first

“Putting people first,” is the first pillar. “Putting people at the heart of everything we are doing. We don’t talk about shoppers or consumers, we talk about real people with real lives, needs and dreams.”

2. Indispensable brands

Di Como spoke about building brands that people cannot live without. “Brands need a clear purpose, with a clear point of view,” he said.

3. Magical experiences

“Unlocking the emotion, sharing in those magical brand experiences across the whole path to purchase, across the whole consumer journey.

“And there’s one thing that we’ve learned in this connected world, and that is the power of cooperation, collaboration, crowdsourcing.”

In regard to the second point above, an example Di Como referenced, regarding clear values, is the famous ‘Real Beauty’ campaign/theme for the Dove brand, including the ‘Sketches’ video that enjoyed wide popularity earlier this year. He spoke about the huge amount of effort that went in to making that piece of content spread virally, including social listening and fluid reaction and content publication (with Salesforce products Radian6 and Buddy Media, respectively).

“We have learnt a lot over the years about how to create and distribute content in this digitally connectetd world,” Di Como said.

The first half of the equation is the content itself. Insightful content. “Compelling content that is really rooted in a deep human truth,” is a key ingredient, Di Como explains, “and at the same time, [content that’s] aligned with the brand purpose.”

Equally as important, but more commonly overlooked, is the distribution of that content, “using all of the power of mobile social and the whole digital ecosystem.

“Critically what we have learned is to really start with a plan, see what’s working, see what is not working, and have the agility and be nimble in the response and have a real-time publishing approach in order to have the success,” he said.

The next endeavour Di Como hopes will spread across the globe is one launching today, called ‘Project Sunlight.’ As Dove tackled the issue of body image, Project Sunlight hopes to tackle social, economic and health disparity, especially in children, in developing nations.

Billed as a “movement that’s already happening,” it’s complete with profound video (below) featuring not a whole lot of information beyond platitudes. According to, there have already been two million ‘acts of sunlight’, which has something to do with creating a brighter future for every child, and, we gather, somehow involves low-cholesterol mayonnaise. (But we are jetlagged, so reserve judgement for yourself.)