The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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Unilever's senior VP of global media, Luis Di Como discusses new marketing strategy 'Crafting Brands for Life'


By Stephen Lepitak, -

September 16, 2013 | 5 min read

Unilever's senior vice president global media has discussed the company’s new marketing strategy 'Crafting Brands for Life’ claiming that it will help it overcome the challenge of engaging customers in a multi-platform world, while addressing the ever quickening pace of change where it's brands are always 'live'.

Speaking at Ad Tech London about the global brand owner’s strategy, Luis Di Como examined differing campaigns developed for Unilever brands around the world and how they connected with consumers using online and mobile techniques.

"The digital revolution is changing the way we are creating and building brands within Unilever," he stated. "The pace of change will never be as low as it is today…we need to be experts in this new environment. We need to be experts in the craft of storytelling in this connected world across multiscreen platforms," he said.

To convey the pace of change, the Argentine-born marketer presented two pictures of crowds gathered at the Vatican when the current and previous Pope made their debut appearances. The first was a scene of the crowd for the announcement of Pope Benedict in 2005 and the second from this year, taken from exactly the same spot, for the announcement of Pope Frances. The remarkable difference? The second photo captured the crowd all taking pictures using their mobile phones, while the former didn't include a single one.

He used these pictures as an example of how the world was now able to create and share its own content, an innovation created through mobile that has created a problem for global companies such as Unilever.

"The challenge at Unilever is how do we connect and engage with people in this connected world" he explained, before adding that the new strategy would see its brands attempt to reach consumers using social and mobile platforms via engaging content that would work across "the whole consumer journey" including point of sale.

"We need to do that but with a purpose," continued Di Como before breaking the strategy down into three individual 'pillars'; Brand Purpose, Putting People First and Unlocking the Magic.

"We talk about the people in a realistic way and have an understanding of the human truth," he said of the the second pillar, while the third is set to see Unilever attempt to "provide integrated magical brand experiences that think end-to-end in this connected world. In this world, we don't own our brands, our bands are in the hands of consumers. We need to consider how we provide meaningful, contextual brand experience."

Di Como claimed that in this 24/7 "connected world" of social media and technology, brands now had to be "live" at all times, while delivering engaging content and deliver an emotional response.

This was evident in the campaign examples that made up the rest of Di Como's presentation, which included the Dove Real Beauty sketches video, created in 12 days, that has gone on to become the most viewed branded video online, to highlight the pace of change. He followed this with a spoof of the ad for men (see below,) reinforcing his point that brands cannot have total control over in this technological age.

A campaign for Indian detergent brand Active Wheel focused on delivering their message and content for free to consumers through their mobile phones, following the insight that for most in the regions of the country, their phone was the only communications platform that they owned.

He followed this up with the 'Cupidity' short film campaign for Cornetto which featured crowdsourcing to help develop the story, build engagement and cand distribute the branded films.

Another video featuring point of sale machines in Brazil distributing receipts including personalised recipes to show consumers how to best use its Hellmans brand was Di Como's way of featuring how it can now to harness the power of data.

"On this journey we had responsibility of crafting brands to make a better life for this plant on which all of us live," commented Di Como as he turned to focus on the 'Putting People First'. This was exemplified through a campaign health created to promote soap LifeBuoy, that had the social mission to help improve infant mortality and combat third world infection.We have to leverage our scale across all of the market and really deep to every consumer across the whole of the world and create a social movement that resonates with every person... We are in the business of scale but we must achieve intimacy and engagement at a personal level."He continued: "One of the things that we needed to do was to bring together was all of the communications, breaking down silos within the company. Breaking those silos internally was the biggest challenge," he revealed, while discussing the company's care brands. "We needed to bring everything together and make it apart of the overall marketing strategy."Di Campo argued that by breaking silos, Unilever was able to "build brand love" and create stronger brands. "When you have KPI's for brands, it brings everyone in the organisation together."Through 'Crafting Brands for Life' it is clear that Unilever aims to form a unique place in people's live, through its products and message positioning, across any and all platforms available, in every corner of the world.


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