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Unilever "road tests" new model
LONDON: Unilever, the consumer goods giant, is "road testing" a new approach to ideas generation by creating teams containing talent drawn from various disciplines across its ranks.
As part of this process, the owner of Persil, Hellmann's and Ben & Jerry's is forming what have been described as "brand republics", comprising roughly 30 staff members apiece from various different business units.
They will include specialists from its marketing and branding functions, alongside experts in fields such as innovation, market research and design.
Among the aims of these teams, which will convene for between three and four days at a time, is to take a broad perspective covering areas like product development, strategy, storytelling and branding.
Marc Mathieu, Unilever's vice president, marketing, argued that face-to-face interaction would be particularly beneficial, as it offered significant advantages.
"Each [team member] has had the shared journey and experience of the brand and share a common point of view and a certain level of camaraderie, which cannot happen otherwise despite using technology like email and Skype to communicate,"
he told Marketing Week
Dove, the beauty range, and Lynx, the personal care line targeted at young male shoppers, will be two of the brands that trial this model in the first instance.
"We are looking to institutionalise it, but [at present] it's something we're road testing. Half of the meeting is about the content and half of it is journey," Mathieu added.
By working together for several days in a row, members of these cross-disciplinary teams should be able to "immerse themselves" in all aspects of the brand, he continued.
This initiative falls under Unilever's "crafting brands for life" programme, which is based around collaborating more closely with consumers, making brands "change agents" that embody powerful ideas shoppers can buy into, and rediscovering the "magic of marketing".
Elsewhere, Unilever is also running a "hackathon" for its communications specialists and partner agencies, lasting two days and seeking to establish a "Unilever way" of marketing.
Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff, 27 June 2012
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