Unilever aims to combine content and commerce

Stephen Whiteside

Search engines, brand websites and online retail platforms may not be the most glamorous parts of the digital marketing playbook, but they still sit atop Unilever's list of priorities. "Optimising all these things seems like really basic blocking and tackling; it's actually probably the best use of your time and your money," said Doug Straton, director of the FMCG group's North American Ecommerce Center of Excellence. "It's common sense. And none of the tools are remotely sexy"

Focusing on such channels could conceivably be regarded as lacking in imagination or innovation. But, in fact, it hints at a model for content development and distribution that fosters a virtuous circle encompassing long-standing components of the new media mix, including newsletters and email, and cutting-edge alternatives like Vine.