Unilever's global relationship marketing activity is set for significant expansion, with responsibility for the discipline handed to one of the fmcg giant's most senior marketers, global media director Alan Rutherford.

He will assess the company's use of relationship marketing across its core brands, among them Birds Eye, Persil, Olivio, Lynx, Hellmann's and Dove. The creation of an international team to oversee increased investment in CRM is thought to be on Rutherford's agenda.

Another outcome of the new drive will be Unilever's use of CRM as an additional marketing channel. It is thought likely this will involve mutual data-sharing and marketing group The Jigsaw Consortium of which Unilever is a member along with Kimberley-Clark and Cadbury Trebor Bassett.

Unilever's renewed emphasis on CRM is seen by some as a direct response to the new customer magazine pitched at mothers recently launched in the UK by Procter & Gamble.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff