Making marketing a noble profession

Viewpoint: Marc Mathieu, senior vice-president of marketing, Unilever

Marc Mathieu

The birth of marketing was all about improving people’s lives. People like Henry Ford (founder of The Ford Motor Company), used it to drive a social progress agenda.

Brands have always played a pivotal role in society in helping people deal with their fears, anxieties and questions. Brands are a great marker for people, especially in difficult economic times. Now people want brands to stand for more than just a product, they want a human idea that they can believe in.

More than ever people want to be part of the conversation; they want to co-create brands and they want the truth. If they don’t believe they should give their trust and confidence to a brand or they don’t feel like they’re part of the brand trust, then they will shut down. And I think this is a good thing.

One of the core focuses of Unilever’s Crafting Brands for Life marketing strategy comes from the idea of remembering that we are selling products and brands to improve people’s lives. We want to create brands that people can’t live without, inspiring brand love.

The other leg of this new strategy is craftsmanship, which is this balance of logic and magic, art and science. It’s putting as much vigour and precision into the craft of marketing as a craftsman does in shaping a violin, a bottle of wine or a table, and make the experience something a little magical.

Marketing should bring something into people’s lives that is a bit more than just an ad or a promotion.

The fact that everyone wants to be a marketer [through social media] and people want to co-create and co-market brands with us shows that we have the opportunity to make marketing one of the platforms for people to drive their agenda of progress.

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