Make the emotional connection: an unforgettable illustration of a basic rule

Make the emotional connection: an unforgettable illustration of a basic rule

“We are crafting brands for life,” said Christine Cea, senior director of Marketing Communications for Unilever.

Speaking at the Sustainable Brands Conference earlier this month, Cea made many memorable points about Unilever’s goal of embedding social impact into brands like Dove and Lifebuoy soap.

In the 1880s, William Lever had the goal of “making cleanliness commonplace” with his soaps. Today, said Cea, the corporate goal has broadened: “Our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace.”

To get there, she said, “Brands need to stand for something. A brand’s point of view must be authentic, relevant, consistent, honest and transparent. We view buyers of our products not as consumers but as people.

“We create empathy to build brand love. When you make that emotional connection, you unlock the magic.”

It’s an important, fundamental truth. We all aspire to achieve it. But how? It’s always easier said than done.

Cea gave as effective an example of “how”  — and brought tears to most eyes in the room — by showing an unforgettable Lifebuoy ad.

In it, a father walks on his hands across his village – Thesgora, India, known for its high rate of diarrhea – to celebrate the first of his children living to the age of 5, an event made possible by the practice of washing hands with soap.

“The idea of self worth is incredibly powerful,” said Cea, and so are our messages when we can connect them to authentic, relevant emotional pathways.



Posted on

June 27, 2013

About the Author

Brooks Clark

Brooks is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

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Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

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Scot Case

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A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

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