Unilever is a large company that has control of many brands. The company’s brands are categorized in food and beverage and home and personal care. Unilever’s top brand is Dove, the hygiene product company that markets to both men and women. They also are the top ice cream selling company and have several brands in that niche including Ben and Jerry’s.
One of Unilever’s biggest challenges is the fact that they do not have direct relation to the customers that actually buy the product. A lot of business owners can relate to this, how do you increase product sales when you are not in control of marketing to the end user?
Linking Products to the Brand
Unilever does the normal advertising routine. They market online and in print in order to show customers that Unilever is the company behind the products they buy. If you produce a product that gets sent to a retailer and has another brand name on it, you have to get the end buyer to understand that your company is behind that great brand.
Doing this is much like any regular advertising except that you might not see a direct return on investment. Instead Unilever is creating an awareness that keeps their brands on the radar. This is will ensure long term ROI.
The way that Unilever manages to get deeper into the market for each brand it controls is by being innovative. They have to keep up with what customers want and in some cases, tell the customer what they want. They create a new product and try to make it a ‘have to have’ product.
It might be a new shampoo for men or soap for people with sensitive skin, it might be a new healthier food item etc. Whatever it is Unilever must keep reinventing products and coming up with totally new ones to keep their brands trending.
Create a New Market
Many new products that are created are intended to solve problems that people didn’t even know they had. By listening and observing your audience you might be able to pin point some areas where there is an opportunity to create a market. This might not always pay off because the product you create does not build the market you hoped. However there are many ways to test a product to see if the market is actually there.
You can use the internet to create landing pages for products, send traffic to said landing page and see if you get any purchases. This is a cheap and easy way to see if your product might succeed in the real world. For Unilever they do this same thing on a larger scale.
Diversifying Your Market
Look everywhere for potential markets. Do not be closed minded or think that your business is not big enough or good enough for diversification. The internet makes diversification a lot easier by creating instant communication. There are no more excuses.
By reaching out to other growing markets and not just focusing on America and Europe, Unilever is extending its audience automatically and tapping into an up and coming market. Some Asian markets will see new middle class members who are going to be willing to spend money on products that may seem almost like luxury items to a region with a bad economy, Unilever wants to be there as it happens.
Checking, Re-checking and Balancing
With all the strategies that Unilever employs they must constantly be evaluating the results of those strategies. If something needs to be adjusted on the fly they must have the flexibility to do that. This takes faith in their managers and the ability to hire skilled professionals. So in a roundabout way, the people they hire and train become part of their marketing strategy.
Without people that can stay on task, be flexible and report accurate data, there is no way to consistently monitor how your efforts are doing. Unilever looks at its marketing strategy from an internal perspective as well as a customer perspective. If an initiative is not producing the consumer reactions it was intended for then a change must be made.
It can be difficult for a company like Unilever to continue to generate new customers when they are not in charge of actually marketing to the people who buy their products. In order to keep your company relevant when products are sold under a brand name, you must get people to become aware of the company behind the brands they love.
Also, in order to keep new customers coming in Unilever creates new markets and diversifies its market by reaching out to new regions. Unilever then checks and re-checks its efforts to make sure its marketing strategies are effective.