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Cannes 2012: Loving thy brands

By , Seminars, Cannes | In Advertising | June 23, 2012
At the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Keith Weed, chief marketing and communication officer, Unilever and Marc Mathieu, senior vice-president, marketing, Unilever spoke on the topics, 'Crafting brands for life: How Unilever is reinventing marketing'. Together, they discussed the key factors of marketing and what companies should do for not only richer dividends but for better future.

Usually products are created for sale, but now companies are creating products to be loved and cherished for life. In this process, some products are disliked, therefore FMCG companies are looking for products and solutions that will allow sustainable growth. At the 59th International Festival of Creativity, Keith Weed, chief marketing and communication officer, Unilever and Marc Mathieu, senior vice-president, marketing, Unilever spoke on the topics, 'Crafting brands for life: How Unilever is reinventing marketing'.

Together, they discussed the key factors of marketing that Unilever follows and what should companies do for not only richer dividends but for better future.

Cannes 2012

Weed said, "As marketers, people should have long-term vision. They should be able to understand in which direction the world is moving and hence work towards achieving sustainable growth. They should understand that demand-led growth is no longer enough as now everyone is looking for social and environment-led growth as well. The job of the marketers is to walk ahead of the consumers and identify what they need."

He next gave the example of William Lever, one of the founders of Unilever, and how he fought the issue of hygiene through the launch of detergent Sunlight during the time of the industrial revolution in England. The company since then has become the largest producer of soaps and detergents and continues its battle with hygiene.

"Developing and emerging markets are growing at a fast pace. While at present half of the middle class consumers belong to Asia, by 2030, the number will increase to 42 per cent and by 2050, is touted to go to 54 per cent. By 2050, it is estimated that the world population will grow to 9.5 billion people from the present 7.2 billion people. While people are now driving the business, companies should now look at reducing the environment load and increasing the social impact."

According to him, companies should now invest in building brands that are loved as consumers are no longer just buyers, they are real people with real lives. Companies should focus on establishing empathy.

Taking forward the concept of 'Love brands', Mathieu shared certain points that can be adopted by marketers of other brands. "At Unilever, our brands bring together a superior product to buy into. Also, we engage our brands' users to build brands. Then companies should nurture brands' DNA for generations to come," he added.

Furthermore, he emphasised that companies should focus on building brands that people can't live without. "Marketers should concentrate on making the brand an integral part of the consumer's life, so much so that they can't live without your brand. They should unlock the magic of the brand and this can be achieved through communication. The communication designed for the brand should be able to gain the trust of the consumer, it should be able to create an emotional connect. Overall, one integrated brand experience should be created," added Mathieu.

According to Mathieu, marketing is a craft experience, and those who are involved in the process should be confident of moving fast and should be ready to experience new things and further spread it across the world.

At the end, Weed talked about a new initiative called 'Water Worker', which the company has begun in collaboration with PSI and Facebook, wherein once a user of the social network site clicks on the brand's page, she gets an option to participate by donating any amount of money. With the donation, poor people are given the water purifier from Unilever. "The idea here is to provide clean drinking water to everybody. The global foundation will work to create a better world," remarked Weed.

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