As Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of ten years, prepares to depart the business in April 2019, he has no plans of slowing down. In his continuing role as President of the high-powered Advertising Association, it’s likely that issues of brand purpose, sustainability, transparency and rebuilding trust in advertising will remain top of his agenda.

The high-profile marketing leader shared some of the lessons from three decades at Unilever at the World Federation of Advertisers annual conference, held recently in Lisbon, Portugal.

Lesson one: put people first

“We’re marketers, we’re advertisers, and putting people first is something I’ve learnt over and over again. It’s understanding that marketing is all about people. It’s about real people with real lives,” Weed said.

Weed also advised against calling people “consumers”, which reduces them to a mere target demographic.