Business speaker Seth Godin is known for the down-to-earth advice he offers to entrepreneurs. One quote really resonated with me. He said: “Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.”
It’s a strong point – and it’s front and centre in the work we do at Unilever.
Earning and keeping consumers trust is not an easy task. It is a continual work in progress.
A recent global survey – the Edelman Trust Barometer asked people around the world to gauge their trust in four institutions – the media, NGOs, governments and business.
The 2017 results were not an easy read. “Globally, we have never before reported declines in all four institutions,” it revealed.
However, it also offered a way forward because 58% of respondents said they trusted businesses if they were shown to listen to consumers.
For us, a big part of earning and keeping your trust is listening to what you expect from us as a business and the products you buy from us.David Blanchard
Earning the trust of our consumers
For us, a big part of earning and keeping your trust is listening to what you expect from us as a business and the products you buy from us.
And we also know a big part of that purchase decision comes from your trust in the ingredients we put in them.
We believe in providing transparent information about What’s in our Home and Beauty & Personal Care products to help our consumers choose the right product for them.
This is an important part of building trust in our brands and we regularly talk to our consumers and other stakeholders to understand their expectations.
Many people, particularly in Europe and the United States, have told us that they want to know more about the ingredients we use in our Home and Beauty & Personal Care products, in a way that is easier to access and understand.
That’s why we’ve created an online product platform called What’s in our Home and Beauty & Personal Care products. Our aim is that each of our markets will have its own specific site. The first to go live are the UK, US, Germany and Netherlands.
The aim is to provide people with access to information beyond what’s given on the product label, such as Unilever’s approach to developing safe products, explanations of ingredient types and answers to common questions.
We have worked hard to do this in a way that is easier to access and understand.
Here’s just one example of the fragrance ingredients we’ll list and explain (and it’s one your nose will be used to if you like zesty smelling Home or Beauty & Personal Care products).
It’s citronellol, a floral rose smell with slight citrus nuances. This fragrance occurs naturally in many plants like rose and lemongrass.
Giving you more information on fragrance allergens
In Europe, our products are already labelled if they include any ingredients from a list of 26 fragrance allergens in line with regulations. And we’re launching an online search tool so people with an allergy to one of these ingredients can search for and easily identify products that may be suitable for them to use.
In the US, Unilever will voluntarily expand its labelling of these 26 fragrance allergens on-pack to cover the full Unilever Beauty & Personal Care portfolio.
In addition this year, we will disclose all fragrance ingredients above 0.01% (100 parts per million) of our product formulations on an individual product basis.
For Unilever, trust is a non-negotiable: that includes trust in our people, our purpose, our products and our ingredients, and we will continue to work hard to keep it.