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Unilever's 'macro' and 'micro' marketing

News, 08 September 2016

NEW YORK: Marketers must fulfil the role of both the "chief macro officer" and "chief micro officer" if they want to succeed in the digital age, according to Keith Weed, Unilever's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.

Speaking at a recent conference, Weed argued the "chief macro officer" role resembles the traditional function of brand custodians, as it requires encouraging people "to have a relationship with brands, but doing it on a broadcast basis". (For more details, including tips regarding the importance of influencers, read Warc's exclusive report: Unilever's new marketing formula: In.)

Equally, however, the "chief micro officer" must find ways of effectively communicating with consumers on an increasingly one-to-one basis.

"Now we can, with technology and being able to connect across the world, market to a single person. We've gone from mass marketing to massive customization," Weed explained.

"You can't have an individual relationship unless you get down to an individual basis," he added. "So the CMO, I think, has to be a Chief Micro Officer, understanding individuals in each and every place around the world."

In both cases, tapping the right options among the expanding range of tools and techniques on offer to marketers will be essential

"We need to be able – on one side – to do things globally. Technology loves scale; we're going to have to do things on a global basis," said Weed.

"But, also, we have to engage with people locally in the[ir] language; we have to engage with people in the culture; we have to engage with people in real time."

As an example of this philosophy in action, Weed pointed to the repositioning of Axe deodorant. This effort was led by a piece of tentpole content called "Find Your Magic", which has been viewed millions of times on YouTube.

"This is the 'chief macro officer'," Weed said. "That was the campaign we did at broad scale … and that's the sort of thing we're going to carry on doing."

Equally, though, the brand found a way to customise its messaging in Brazil, as its "Romeo Reboot" online film tapped digital targeting and analytics tools to compile scenes in a different order depending on the established preferences of the viewer.

"There are over 100,000 versions of this film. And in that 100,000 versions of that film, it picked which one you see because of your interests," Weed said.

Data sourced from Warc