Speaking today at World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Global Marketer Week 2022, Unilever Chief Digital & Commercial Officer and WFA Deputy President, Conny Braams, called for collective action to ensure people are put first in the next iteration of the web.
Conny’s keynote, titled “The internet of people”, explored the opportunities that exist within Web3 for marketers to engage with consumers in previously unimaginable ways and highlighted a critical need to understand and prevent unintended consequences.
Speaking for the first time in her new role as Chief Digital & Commercial Officer, Conny said:
“This is not the first time the advertising industry is coming together to discuss opportunities driven by the evolution of the internet. It’s not our first rodeo. As we begin to create and invest in the next environment where people spend their time, and their money, we need to be clear on what we are building and what we need to prevent - amongst all the hype - to make sure people don’t have an experience that is riddled with scams.
"The challenges and concerns of consumers today will only be amplified in an environment where personal data becomes more personal. Regulation alone is not enough. Self-regulation alone is not enough. Self-restraint alone is not enough.
“We need a shift in mindset, from solving problems to preventing problems. We need to act so we don’t need to react. Prevent before we need to treat. Foresight instead of hindsight. (…) A true technology evolution must be accompanied by the development of substantial, new, ethical infrastructures and policies. (…) Because the internet without trust, is scandal.”
Conny called for collective action from regulators, governments, advertisers, technology companies and people to create a truly decentralised, safe and trusted environment online.
She warned that: “The currency in Web3 is not crypto, the currency is trust. Web3 cannot be a mistake that the next generation pays for. (…) To put it into context, the founders of the future companies for Web3 are girls in Year 5 today. We have a window to act, to avoid the need to react. Because in the end, it’s people, not technology that will measure the success of our efforts.”
The biggest change that is set to hit marketers, is the next iteration of the web. Accelerated digitisation is already changing how consumers live, play and shop with the convergence of media, entertainment and commerce blurring the lines between marketing and sales. Leading to new business models and new ways to build brands and convert to sales, driving short-and long-term growth. As a result, Conny’s role has expanded to include sales alongside marketing worldwide, to maximise opportunities for growth, as well as lead the end-to-end digital transformation of Unilever.
As Conny announced today, “My role has changed from Chief Digital and Marketing Officer to Chief Digital and Commercial Officer. And no, before you ask, we’re not dropping marketing. We’re adding sales.” Conny’s role came into effect 1 April 2022.