“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.