Unilever’s marketing boss on her mission to make the complex simple

Chief digital and marketing officer Conny Braams believes if marketers can’t distil complex information into simple and transparent messages then they’re not doing a good enough job.

The Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with high profile evidence of climate change, has accelerated a trend for more mindful consumption that Unilever chief digital and marketing officer Conny Braams heralds as a call to action for brands.

Speaking at the Festival of Marketing: Fast Forward, Braams explained that marketers are at risk of failing their consumers if they don’t make it easier for them to take the action they want.

“We believe we need to make sure, more and more, that our brands are not only doing less harm, but really standing for doing more good,” she said, pointing to Unilever insight showing consumers now expect brands to be responsible for making products more sustainably.

“More than 60% of consumers are planning to be more mindful about their consumption. They expect brands to provide solutions. During Covid 33% of consumers have stopped using a brand they felt didn’t behave appropriately,” she added.

One problem is confusion caused by an industry that has failed to provide transparency on issues of sustainability, leaving consumers trying to compare information presented in different formats and with varied accreditation.

“The problem they encounter is that we have made it so difficult. We have so many logos we put on our packs, it really isn’t transparent to source the information, and actually we make it harder for them to choose something that is more sustainable,” said Braams.

Fortunately, an answer is within reach. “What I now believe is that marketers are so well placed to make the complex simple – that is what we have been doing all our lives. If we can’t distil the critical messages and innovate based on something that is easy to understand, then quite frankly I don’t think we are doing a good enough job. Because we are pushing at an open door,” she added.

Unilever’s mission to be future fit means that none of its brands will operate without one eye on what consumers expect in terms of their behaviour and all will seek to do more good.

“All our brands will have a purpose. We believe that over the coming years we will all play a role in building a healthier planet, improving people’s health and wellbeing, and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society,” Braams explained.

Watch the video above to see the full session.

The Festival of Marketing is back from 18 to 21 October. We will be covering everything from powering growth and trends, to customer delivery, creativity and collaboration, with a stellar line-up of speakers. Visit the website for more information and to buy your pass.



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