Unilever commits to “bigger, better and faster” innovation

Unilever, which owns the Lynx, Flora and Magnum brands, increased its marketing spend by €330m to €5.6bn last year.

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The FMCG manufacturer says the increased investment and “bigger, better and faster” innovation was the driving force behind its increased profit and sales for the 12 months to 31 December.

Unilever reported an 11% increase in turnover to €44.2bn (£38bn), and an increase in profit to €4.6bn (£3.95bn) for the period.

It has invested an additional €700m in advertising and promotions in the past two years, which makes Unilever the second highest advertising spender worldwide, trailing its rival Procter & Gamble.

Mike Polk Unilever’s president of foods, home and personal care, says that the company has made a “step-change” in its innovation programme which has seen it record 33% of its turnover from products launched within the past two years.

“Our brand portfolio is strengthening on the improved quality of our advertising and innovation. We’re doing things bigger, better and deploying them faster into more markets,” he says.

“Brands and innovation are at the heart of any FMCG company and ads and promotion are the fuel that drive the business. It’s an exciting time for marketing because media consumption is changing so fast and there are more tools to use.”

Last year, Unilever outlined commitments to double the size of its businesses without making any incremental impact on the environment, which is at the core of the company’s R&D activity for product innovation.

The company has also outlined plans to leverage its corporate brand alongside its portfolio of consumer brands and has promoted Paul Nevett, currently UK vice-president of marketing for food, as the global vice-president of the Unilever brand to oversee its corporate brand strategy.

Polk says that Unilever’s commitment to sustainable growth is directly linked with its commitment to drive the global corporate brand.

“The Unilever brand stands as a trust brand around the world and is a powerful device if we use it properly. We’ve made a commitment to grow in a sustainable way and link that to the corporate Unilever brand and our product brands.

“We look at the business over a broader time frame than annual performance, so if we build a brand proposition with the added benefit of sustainability we allow the consumer to make more sustainable choices and create a competitive benefit for the business.”

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