When Conny Braams took on the top marketing job at Unilever last January she had big shoes to fill. As one of the world’s largest advertisers, spending billions on marketing each year, all eyes were on her and how she would develop the FMCG giant’s strategy.
The role had been vacant for nearly a year following the departure of former chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed, giving CEO Alan Jope – a former marketer himself – plenty of time to consider what direction he wanted marketing to take.
Top of the agenda was clearly Unilever’s digital transformation, reflected by the fact ‘communications’ has been dropped from the title, with Braams taking on the new role of chief digital and marketing officer.
At the time of her appointment many jumped in to criticise the addition of ‘digital’ to the CMO title, suggesting the digital moniker is outdated. Mark Ritson, for one, has long criticised brands for singling out digital in a marketer’s job title as it can be limiting and puts tactics before strategy.
But Braams is very clear about the addition of digital to the top marketing job at Unilever and why it makes sense.