Our Chief Digital and Commercial Officer Conny Braams shares her views on how we must unite to ensure the next iteration of the internet is a safer place for people to shop, stream, work and play.
South by Southwest (SXSW) celebrates the convergence of entertainment, media, culture and tech, drawing in over 300,000 people to Austin, Texas from across the globe.
This year, Unilever’s Chief Digital and Commercial Officer, Conny Braams, was on stage alongside Jeremi Gorman, Netflix, Tim Mapes, Delta Air Lines, and MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan to discuss how the fast-changing consumer and customer landscape is blurring the lines between marketing and sales, transforming the way we do business.
Here are her five key insights.
The creative commerce revolution
“The most important challenge and opportunity for FMCGs is what I call the creative commerce revolution. The convergence of media, entertainment and commerce is blurring the lines between marketing and sales. If I sell my brand via Facebook, via Instagram or, at some point, via Netflix, is that marketing or sales or both?
You can’t really distinguish between these two disciplines as clearly anymore, which is why in 2022 my role evolved from Chief Digital and Marketing Officer to Chief Digital and Commercial Officer. As such, I became responsible for Unilever’s end-to-end digital transformation, as well as marketing and sales worldwide.
By bringing marketing and sales together, we are really making sure we build brands and convert to sales at the same time. And one thing has stayed the same, it all starts with a big creative idea.”
By bringing marketing and sales together, we are really making sure we build brands and convert to sales at the same time.
"As the commercial model matures, ad-supported streaming will become a significant investment opportunity and a key channel of the future.
Ad-supported streaming services are an example of an entertainment channel becoming a media channel and soon potentially a commerce channel where people will be able to ‘shop what you watch’.
The reason why we love streaming is that it increases our reach, especially with younger, harder-to-reach audiences. Our advertising can be much more personalised and we have the opportunity to transform the advertising experiences from a passive to a more active experience via gamification, QR codes and interactive quizzes. And, of course, it is an unmissable opportunity to connect our brands with premium content.”
As the commercial model matures, ad-supported streaming will become a significant investment opportunity and a key channel of the future.
We’ve always put a lot of effort into standing out on the shop shelf through pack designs, innovations, offers and displays. This is now duplicated in the online world which offers us an equally important shopping moment.
That is why we are working with our retail media partners more strategically to create best-in-class consumer experiences on retail platforms.
The only way to really win in digital commerce and make sure that consumers find you, love you and prefer you is to treat digital commerce as a business system, not a sales channel. As much as possible we need to make sure that we design for a specific channel, win in search, become a Partner of Choice by identifying mutual category growth opportunities, and equip our supply chain for the needs of the channel.”
Retail media is big – it’s booming.
Sustainability and social media
“Unilever is a business that has sustainability in its DNA. This focus on doing well by doing good goes all the way back to our founder William Lever, who launched Sunlight Soap in Victorian Britain to help make cleanliness commonplace and lessen the workload for women. And it’s been with us ever since – we want to make sustainable living commonplace.
Today, people are finding it difficult to make sustainable choices due to a lack of simple, immediate and trustworthy information.
revealed that social media is the No.1 most influential source of sustainability information for the consumer. In fact, three in four people (75%) said they are more likely to take up behaviours to help save the planet after watching social media content about sustainability.
There is a wealth of opportunity on social media to make sustainable choices simple and preferred. Our ambition is to improve the sustainability content produced by our brands and support the content creators we work with. Together, we are learning what is all likes and no action as we help people adopt more sustainable behaviours.”
Social media is the No.1 most influential source of sustainability information for the consumer.
“We want to help shape the next iteration of the internet as a safe, inclusive and sustainable space for people and brands. Our brands are supported by Unilever’s Web3 Collective – a cross-functional group of experts from marketing, digital transformation, media, tech, legal and finance – designed to help our brands get on the frontline of emerging innovation spaces safely and responsibly.
Our Dove brand found 63% of women feel misrepresented in the virtual world. So, Dove and Unilever Entertainment – our in-house entertainment team – developed the Real Virtual Beauty, a series of commitments challenging female representation in video games.”
We want to help shape the next iteration of the internet as a safe, inclusive and sustainable space for people and brands.
Our new research explores how brands can maximise the power of social media influencers and create content that encourages sustainable living.
Our brands are beginning to explore the metaverse – a virtual realm where real-world limits don’t apply, but real-world representation absolutely must. Here’s how we’ve started…