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The head marketer at Unilever believes that having the ‘right product at the right price’ comes before purpose.

Unilever feels that brand purpose is important for generating growth, but its chief marketer, Conny Braams, believes that a great product and pricing proposition comes first.

Before focusing on purpose, brands should prioritize getting their product and price right, according to Conny Braams, Unilever’s outgoing Chief Digital and Commercial Officer. She emphasized that purpose can be a powerful way to differentiate brands, but the foundation of a strong value proposition, with the right product at the right price, must come first.

 

Addressing previous criticism of Unilever’s purpose-driven approach, Braams clarified that purpose is not the sole focus and that product and pricing are fundamental aspects of the business. She explained that once these essentials are in place, brands can then express their values through purpose, building emotional connections with consumers. However, she emphasized that purpose must align with the brand and be related to its category benefits.

 

Dove, one of Unilever’s prominent purpose-led brands, exemplifies this strategy. The brand’s Chief Marketing Officer, Alessandro Manfredi, stressed the importance of operating within specific boundaries while driving purpose-led initiatives to maintain consistency. He highlighted Dove’s commitment to its white color palette and bird logo, regardless of purpose-led or performance-led marketing efforts, to ensure instant brand recognition in digital and e-commerce channels.

 

Both Braams and Unilever’s outgoing CEO, Alan Jope, have been advocates of brand purpose, believing that purpose-led brands experience faster growth. Jope’s successor, Hein Schumacher, will take over as CEO, and while it’s uncertain how he will approach brand purpose and growth, Braams emphasized that Unilever’s focus on purpose is an integral part of its business.

 

Despite the potential backlash in the age of social media and polarized views, Manfredi acknowledged that brands, including Dove, need to be cautious but authentic when expressing their purpose-driven initiatives. Selecting purpose-driven actions that resonate with the brand’s DNA and align with its values is crucial to avoid controversy.

 

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