How Unilever’s Brands Connect with Consumers




Year 2: April 22 intake

Summative Assignment 1 for MN5006QA (30% weighting)

Individual Assessment 1 – Case Study

Visible on Weblearn as from week/c 25/04/22 (Wk 1)

How Unilevers Brands Connect with Consumers

From soap to soup, Unilever [] markets a wide range of personal care products, foods, and household cleaners under popular brands like Dove, Bertolli, Lipton, Lux, Axe, Sunsilk, Surf, and Omo. Two billion consumers buy its products every day, adding up to annual revenue of $62 billion. The Anglo-Dutch company constantly conducts research to learn more about what consumers want and need, identifying even seemingly small changes that can make a big difference in the daily lives of people worldwide.

One of the companys most memorable marketing initiatives has been Doves “Campaign for Real Beauty.” Based on extensive consumer research into womens attitudes and emotions, the campaign uses ads, YouTube videos[], special events, and other communications to counter beauty stereotypes and make the point that real beauty is more than skin deep. By linking its soap brand to messages reinforcing positive self -esteem for women of all ages, races, sizes, and shapes, Dove has won the admiration and loyalty of consumers in many countries. For further insights into this campaign, read this New York Times article [|A326896384/232e7827241bf71ce86f1a47735e3ef1?u=tlearn_trl] (note a statement here: “what if I did look like that woman?”)

Unilevers Ragú and other food brands courted parents with both Facebook and YouTube (Gennaro’s family lasagna) before it was sold to Japan’s Mizkan Group for $2.15bn (Unilever-sells-Bertolli-Ragu-for-2.15bn). Nevertheless, Unilever campaigns tend to use communications that encourage ongoing conversations with marketers and among its brand fans. For example, marketers used the brands Facebook page (which had more than one million “likes”) to start a dialogue about getting children to eat. Its Facebook fans responded with dozens of additional ideas, which Ragús ad agency turned into helpful online videos that dish up tips with a sense of humor.

Heavy use of social media is one way that Unilever tries to create an emotional connection with its customers and understand their ever-changing needs and interests.

Campaigns combining Facebook, YouTube and twitter as well as special websites, have helped Unilever market its products such as personal care brands to highly targeted segments such as Latino families in the United States. Unilever’s , the Spanish-language website (English or Spanish), and Facebook page provide brand-oriented recipes, coupons, holiday ideas, household hints, and other information that Latino families can use. The company also holds Disfruita la Pasión de la Vida events outside supermarkets to attract and engage Latino consumers. In planning such events, the company turns to its Multicultural Consumer Marketing Insights research team for guidance.

Unilever is looking beyond immediate acquisition behavior to encourage healthy, environmentally sustainable behavior all over the world. Through research, it has determined that the first step is to help consumers understand why they should do something (such as wash with soap to prevent the spread of disease). The next step is to show them how easy it is to take action (buy bars of soap and use them). Then, they must make the new behavior desirable (washing can keep the family safe from germs). Next, it is important to make consumers feel good about doing this action (for themselves, their family, and society). Finally, find a way to continue the behavior over time (ask children to wash before every meal). With these five steps, Unilever has convinced millions of consumers in developing countries to adopt the healthy habit of washing their hands—promoting the companys Lifebuoy soap brand at the same time.

Unilever also sells laundry products in developing nations where water is a scarce resource, yet consumers are accustomed to rinsing clothes several times to get them clean. To address both consumer needs and environmental issues, CEO Paul Polman explains We’ve put products out in the market—fabric softeners—that only need one rinse. Even then, “consumers were still doing two or three rinses, so we had to be very creative in educating them, he says. Clearly, Unilever wants to build strong relationships with its customers by making sure its brands are down-to-earth and “real.”i


In the first sessions of this module, we identified several consumer behaviour frameworks that summarise the influences on consumer behaviour. Refer to one of these frameworks (e.g. Shiffman’s or others) and some of the relevant concepts and models therein to answer the question below.

How successful is Unilever in applying its understanding of factors that influence consumer behaviour to market its products?”

Select 3 factors and back up your arguments with theory and examples.

Your arguments should be supported by models and concepts from the course and illustrating them with examples.

Critical evaluations (balanced arguments, analyses, adequacy of procedure used by Unilever etc.) attract higher points. Note that the student may refer to all key influential factors but focus on just three, given the limited space.

Word Count: 1,000 words maximum


Continues with further directions on the next page

Further Directions

The report should be concise with minimum repetitions. It should be clearly structured (intro, main part and conclusion as well as sub-sections).

References to theory should be included, with definition of concepts, and fully Harvard referenced in the list of references.

The report should be up to 1000 words maximum. All non-key, but helpful information (e.g. details of models or research findings) should be put in an Appendix section with numbers and titles and referred to in the text – contents of appendices are not included in the word count. There is no point in piling up information that is not referred to in the text.

State the number of words in the first page.


iUnilever Ramps Up Hispanic Marketing, Media Post, April 2,2012,; Anna Maria Virzi, How Unilever Connects with Hispanics on Facebook, ClickZ, February 28, 2012,; Louise Lucas, Changing Lives, Financial Times, March 20, 2012,; Louise Jack, Unilever CEO Paul Polman on the Packaged Goods Giants Creative Shift, Fast Company, January 12, 2012,; Ann-Christine Diaz, Behind the work: Ragu and BFG9000s Tips for Finicky Eaters, Advertising Age, March 20, 2012,; and Ekaterina Walter, Marketing to Women,Fast Company, March 19, 2012,