Unilever embraces “two-speed thinking”

Unilever is trying to embed a culture of “two-speed thinking” throughout the organisation to stay ahead of fast paced technology trends that influence its marketing communications.

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The FMCG company believes it must get faster at working for its brands to continue to be successful because the rate of digital innovation is increasing all the time.

The concept of two-speed thinking means forgoing the traditional model of working sequentially on projects and moving on to a new idea when one project is finished, in favour of working on future ideas and technologies in parallel with current ones.

Ian Maskell, global brand director for Unilever’s ice cream brand Walls says: “The mantra inside the company is that we need to be faster. If you work sequentially, you’re going to be too slow – you have to start working on the next thing. If you don’t do that, you just can’t survive anymore because the world is speeding up so much. It’s a different way of thinking.”

Unilever pledged to double its investment in digital and emerging technologies this year, and the trend is set to continue.

Maskell adds, however, that although Unilever embraces digital innovations and virtual activation for its brands, it still has to get the balance right between virtual and physical platforms for brand communications.

“Two-speed thinking” sits alongside the “more magic, less logic” approach to developing more creative and risky marketing ideas that Unilever recently outlined.

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