Unilever’s top marketer Conny Braams has taken on a new title, shifting from chief digital and marketing officer to chief digital and commercial officer.
Although the move sees the FMCG giant’s top marketer drop the word ‘marketing’ from her title, Braams has stressed that Unilever is “not dropping marketing”.
“Before you ask, we’re not dropping marketing. We’re adding sales,” she said as she announced the news at the World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) Global Marketer Week today (7 April).
In a statement, Unilever says Braams’ role has evolved alongside the world of marketing, as “accelerated digitisation” is “blurring the lines between marketing and sales”.
These changes have brought about “new ways to build brands and convert to sales, driving short- and long-term growth”, Unilever says.
As a result, Braams’ role has expanded to include sales alongside marketing worldwide, to “maximise” opportunities for growth, as well as lead the end-to-end digital transformation of the business. The change came into effect on 1 April.Unilever’s marketing boss on her mission to make the complex simple
Braams has been the top marketer at Unilever since December 2019, when she was appointed chief digital and marketing officer. The word “digital” marked a change from her predecessor Keith Weed’s title of chief marketing and communications officer.
Speaking to Marketing Week in February 2021 in her first major interview since taking on the role, Braams explained why Unilever decided to add digital in.
“The biggest thing to understand is that it’s not just digital marketing, which a lot of people think it is. That’s an element of it, but actually with the creation of this job we’ve been able to take a look at the end-to-end digitalisation of Unilever and marketing,” she said.
Braams first joined Unilever in 1991, starting her career as a product manager for Cup-a-Soup in the Netherlands. Over the past 30 years she has worked in markets including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East across food, ice cream, home care and personal care. Prior to being appointed to the top marketing role she was executive vice president, middle Europe.
She also currently holds the role of deputy president at the WFA, and won the WFA’s global marketer of the year award in 2021.
The majority of Braams’ tenure as Unilever’s marketing boss has taken place over the pandemic. In early 2021, she told Marketing Week brand-building had been crucial to Unilever’s strategy while navigating difficult times.
“In a recessionary environment of course we [must ensure we observe] what is happening now, but we must also build brands for the longer term. Because that is our way to navigate through this high volatility,” she said.