Tati Lindenberg, Vice-President of Marketing for Dirt Is Good (Persil, OMO), Unilever, is chairing the Brand Purpose category in this year’s WARC Awards for Effectiveness. Here, she talks about clear KPIs, Disney’s Christmas film and why brands need to drive action.

How have the events of 2020 affected your role?

Every corporation has had to rethink availability, time and engagement. The Dirt Is Good community comprises nearly 100 people who come together once a month and it’s never been stronger because everyone can attend that meeting, and no one is left behind or feels left out. That improves our sense of community with our markets compared with where we were before the pandemic.

Secondly, and this is more related to the category I work in: before the pandemic, very few people would talk about ‘hygienically clean’ clothes; only a few pockets of consumers in China and South East Asia. Yet suddenly that became one of the highest search terms. Laundry habits changed and people started washing more often, and at higher temperatures. We needed to adapt the way we engaged to look at that context and consumer behaviour.

Tell us about how you work with your agency partners and how you ensure that the objectives you set help to build in effectiveness in your communications right from the start?

It’s all about having clear KPIs. A lack of clarity sometimes saw agencies bringing us work that was beautiful, but which didn’t deliver the business growth we wanted. That then creates a gap between beautiful creativity and the end result. For me, it’s about bridging the gap and understanding what I want the agency to deliver with each piece of communication.

What is the one campaign you have seen in the last year that has really made an impact on you?

I loved Disney’s Christmas ad.

There wasn’t an evident reference to the pandemic, it was authentic to Disney values and it brought this universal idea of togetherness through a simple story that could travel anywhere. While there was no specific mention of COVID-19, the grandma in it represented the people who suffered the most in 2020, her relationship with the young girl, the connection we missed.

What are the metrics that you would expect to see in a paper demonstrating effective brand purpose? What does success look like?

It needs to have an impact on society at large – either socially and/or environmentally. If it’s not driving action, it’s just wallpaper. It’s not real purpose. Purpose needs to be motivating to people. It needs to be an issue that people really care about. And it needs to be relevant to the product truth. It needs to be a cause that a brand can authentically support, and where the brand can make a real difference.

What advice would you give to entrants of the WARC Awards for Effectiveness in the brand purpose category?

Make sure purpose is at the heart of your brand positioning – it must relate to the key category needs and occasions, be driven consistently and in line with the brand’s personality. Also, it must drive everything the brand says and does – remember if your actions don’t live up to your words, you have nothing to say!

What are you hoping to see in the papers that enter this category?

How brands are being true to their heritage and how they are impacting on society. I’d love to be able to see how an overall campaign delivered purpose across whole ecosystems of communication. For instance, we launched Home Is Good, a beautiful campaign about encouraging people to stay at home during the first lockdown, but also partnered with National Geographic Kids to offer parents and kids tools, ideas and inspiration for home activities, developing curiosity and empathy. At the same time, we offered new products to reassure people on their new basic laundry needs – cleaning that is tough on stains and bacteria.

The WARC/LIONS Creative Effectiveness Ladder will be used in the judging of these awards and will help create a new global benchmark for effectiveness. Why is this so necessary?

The new Creative Effectiveness Ladder should help in continuously assessing and improving our creative work and ensure we achieve various types of marketing outcomes, as well as to avoid short-termism and, as a result, demonstrate the pay-off of long-term, creative marketing.

The WARC Awards for Effectiveness are open for entries until 1 April and the entry fee has been waived for 2021. Email effectiveness@warc.com if you have any questions.