Unilever: Unity in Diversity?
• Combining local roots with global scale
• Decentralization brought strengths through
diversity, but also problems of control.
• Portfolio growth - laissez faire.
• Over 1600 brands. Same product sold under different
brand names in different geographies.
• No strategic coherency.
The Path to Growth
• Winnowing of brands to bring down the count
• Masterbrands to serve as umbrella identities
over a range of product forms.
• Dedicated Global brand units for each
masterbrand to set vision at global level.
Why the need to change?
• Creates opportunity to fully leverage the brand equity
of the masterbrands.
• Exploiting the benefits of brand extensions and
• Unified global vision brings convergence of brand
identity and provides direction to the various
geographical level brand management units.
• Line extension under successful brand umbrellas is
easier, cheaper and ensures greater trial and smoother
acceptance of the new products.
Dove as a bathing bar.
Brand strongly linked to bathing bar
providing benefits over and above what
a soap provides. Focused on pure
Stress on functional benefits.
Dove as a point of view that celebrated
A far cry from competitors who sought
to create unreal images that real
women could never hope to attain.
From ads to PR. Helping real women
build self esteem and feel good about
From artifice and photo-shopped
models to “Campaign for real beauty.
An umbrella sheltering a whole range of
Broadening the definition of beauty and
inspiring women to take greater care of
Greater consumer engagement.
Brand Management in Unilever- Changes over time
• Multiple brands managed by
geography specific brand
• Checkered identity of products.
• Decentralized and no overarching
• Leveraging strong brands through
enfolding weaker ones into the
umbrella of strong brands.
• Associations, extensions.
• Single global Brand Development
team and geography specific
Brand Management teams.
• Strategic convergence of brand
identity through one global
• Greater consumer
engagement, PR and social media
as mediums of marketing
Re-defining the brand@ Unilever
• Splitting of brand development and Brand
• Brand as entities with point of view and vision
• Singular global identity.
• Masterbrand umbrellas. Leveraging on equity.
• Greater consumer connect through use of social media
and PR for communication.
Managing Dove in social media era
A wider outreach
Greater consumer connect
Cheaper and easier with
Greater PR coverage
• Loss of control- malicious
content and consumers had
power to shape their peers’
discussions on the platform.
• Parodies etc. leading to
dilution of message.