LONDON: Unilever, the FMCG giant, is diversifying its content strategy, with a leading executive declaring that it is time for brands to become more like publishers.

Hamish Priest, global innovations manager for the Dove brand, told a London event organized by the IPA: "We are continually trying to diversify our content to reflect people's changing ways of consuming content."

One of the ways that was being done was through partnerships with bloggers. "We are trying to marry together the worlds of the brands and the bloggers – that can help us attain that authenticity and credibility," he said in remarks reported by The Drum. "It takes a collaborative effort to get to content like that," he added.

Just as important as the creation of content was its distribution, otherwise brands were in danger of "creating cathedrals in the desert". Priest noted that 2bn people used Unilever products every day so "to really make a difference the content needs to have scale and reach".

One of Unilever's most successful pieces of content achieved 170m online views and exemplified another aspect of its diversification strategy as it experimented with advertising approaches beyond the usual 30-second spot.

Priest said the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video, which depicted artists' portrayals of ordinary women based on their own self-image, was an attempt to respond to cultural topics in real time. (Warc subscribers can read more on Unilever's marketing strategy here: Why Unilever is focusing on people, love and magic.)

"When trying to create content that responds to culture the window of opportunity is very light," Priest said. "In recognising this we created a manifesto – which meant we wanted to create a new piece of content every day – and it totally changed how we worked."

One hundred pieces of content were produced to support Sketches and Priest stressed that things didn't always need to be perfect. "It's OK not to please everyone, and it doesn't need to work every time - let's try it and see how it works," he said.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff