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Unilever is building in-house content studios


By Seb Joseph, News editor

September 29, 2016 | 4 min read

Unilever is assembling in-house content studios that will be tasked with refining the way it markets its brands, paying close attention to the more pronounced consumer appetite for both entertaining and useful content.

Unilever is building an in-house content studio.

U-Studio and U-Entertainment will house the marketers picked to bring about the changes, with both paying paying close to attention to how ad blocking and search are changing how people interact with marketing now. Both will sit within the wider brand communications team, which it is tasked with future-proofing for what the FMCG business calls the “connected world”.

Little is known about either division now, save for job posts on LinkedIn, revealing it is currently searching for global directors to lead each team and that both are being piloted now.

What little the posts reveal explains Unilever’s reasoning for the studios, which is twofold. The first is the looming threat of ad blocking and the need to adapt its strategies to reach people who are more inclined to block ads now rather than endure branded content they’d rather not see.

The second reason is the fact that how people search is changing, leaning more towards curation and actively seeking-out experiences with brands. “The cleverest brands use seek-out content to capitalise on this behaviour,” the post for U-Studio's lead reads.

“They create branded properties, services and information people genuinely seek-out…. We can drive big SEO effects and push towards conversion by operating in this space."

A Unilever spoksewoman explained: “In Unilever, we recognise that in a connected world, people are increasingly curating and seeking out experiences with brands. The most engaging brands create ‘Seek-out Content’ – branded properties, services and information that people genuinely seek-out. For utility & informational digital content (e.g. How-to videos, infographics, articles, product information), we are piloting an in-house content studio approach, called U-Studio.

"For entertainment-driven content (eg. TV series, web series, games, music integration), we are piloting a new team, called U-Entertainment, with the remit to build direct partnerships with entertainment industry companies. Both U-Studio and U-Entertainment pilots represent exciting new approaches to content creation, which we hope to build successfully over time.”

To that point, chief marketing officer Keith Weed has previously revealed how the business is pushing to move its marketing beyond brand development alone, and in doing so sustainably generate new revenues from services instead of ads.

The business is reportedly working with Oliver Group, which has managed similar projects for companies including BMW and Ryanair.

It comes amid a wider shake-up of Unilever’s marketing, which spans everything from purging stereotypes against women in its ads to centralising its global and local marketing teams into a single function.

It will join a raft of FMCG-giants upping their game with it comes to in-housing content production. Earlier this year, The Drum explored how (and why) Mondelez and PepsiCo have kick started their own content offerings, with the former predicting it will create content so good consumers will actually pay for it. For both, there is the resounding belief that this will prove to be a new source of revenue.

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