Get up, dust yourself, Unilever’s changed!

The evolution of marketing

Whether we like it or not, a lot of marketers shamelessly ape the Unilever way of managing brands.

No other brand company makes marketing tools as robust and well throught through as Unilever

No on else is as generous in letting the world know exactly what they are up to.

And nobody takes the trouble to painstakingly train their managers on how to use the tools as Unilever does.

And just when most brand teams are getting quite tired of pouring through reams of brand track data and laboriously collected household consumtion figures, and churning out endless brand keys that all end up looking like each other along comes a fresh dose of inspiration from our alma mater, Unilever.

Crafting brands for Life is the new Mantra at Unilever (it’s being piloted in India and rolled out globally), and here’s what their intent seems to be.

Rather than looking at people as a “sort of head looking for shampoo” or a set of teeth waiting to be scrubbed, they are now open to looking at people through the lens of their lives, needs and challenges.

The second principle kind of flows from the first. Rather than be too obsessed with the product, brands will be crafted as ideas that people can buy into.

And they want to get the balance right between magic and logic, and between the art and science of marketing.

And to top that, they want to bring nobility back into the marketing profession that has the power to change lives for the better.

That’s quite a welcome change for a company that had just seemed obsessed with cleaner bodies, whiter skin, shinier bathrooms, smarter moms and even smarter kids – carried to such an extent that we almost forgot there’s maybe more to life than just the benefits their brands offer.

Most of these principles have anyway been the way some of the most audacious brands have been built in the last few years. Think brands as far apart as Chipotle, Diesel, Luna, Chrysler, Nike, Puma, etc. So, the world had anyway moved on to a more exciting form of marketing  and building brands, while Unilever still seemed to hold on to an older style. Dove and Axe were more the exception than the rule.

But given the way things are, until Unilever moved, many brand and business owners haven’t felt confident enough to make a shift. Following the Unilever way has been the safest way for not just brand owners, but also the whole ecosystem that include armies of advertisers and market research agencies.

So thanks to Keith Weed and team from Unilever for atleast sanctioning (if not showing) a new and fresher way to build brands.

So, it now time to get up and dust off the way we market!