LONDON: Unilever, the consumer goods giant, is set to strengthen its marketing operations in the UK, with a particular emphasis on food and personal care.

Paul Polman, the Anglo-Dutch organisation's chief executive, has previously stated that advertising and innovation will play key roles in Unilever's growth strategy both during and after the downturn.

The owner of Ben & Jerry's and Dove now intends to hire 30 new members of staff, of varying levels of seniority, in the UK, to handle either brand communications or category management duties.

It will also appoint a new brand director for the country with responsibility for its corporate brand, and aims to fill this position from within its existing pool of talent.

Last year, the company began featuring its logo in TV spots for its products for the first time, indicating a heightened focus on this area.

Its food and ice cream division will be one beneficiary of the scheduled recruitment programme, taking on half of the new intake, with personal care absorbing the other successful applicants.

Paul Nevett, marketing director of Unilever's food and ice cream arm, argued these efforts were essentially "growth driven."

"We attribute Unilever's strong growth and success in 2009 to staying close to shoppers' needs, and we remain committed to doing things the right way for consumers," he added.

More broadly, Nevett suggested that the planned additions reflected the FMCG titan's ambition of "driving its brands harder" despite the current economic climate.

There are around 400 marketing-related positions tied to Unilever's food and personal care units at present, with a combined expenditure of more than £140 million ($228m; €161m) in the 2008/09 period.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff