What Unilever Stands for (Part 1)

Continuing our exploration of purpose-driven brands, this week we take a look at Unilever, the global consumer goods company that’s winning with millennials and generation z.

What Unilever stands for

Purpose

Unilever has been a purpose-driven company from its origins. Today, our purpose is simple but clear – to make sustainable living commonplace.

Strategy

At the core of their strategy to animate their purpose is the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), what they refer to as the blueprint for sustainable growth. Learn more about USLP here.

This diagram from their website gives us a high level view of their strategy. Notice in the right column of Value We Create, the initiatives are tied directly to the sustainable development goals set by the UN in 2015.

As of 2017 Unilever revealed that they had 26 sustainable living brands and delivered 70 percent of its turnover growth and grew 46 percent faster than the rest of the business. The brands include its top six brands (Dove, Lipton, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s and Knorr) and its B-Corp certified brands including Ben and Jerry’s and Seventh Generation.

In 2016 Unilever launched a campaign called “Bright Future” that highlights some of the social impact they have been making with their brands. This article from The Drum gives a good summary along with the video. The article also features a quote from the CMO which sets their stance on brands with purpose:

Brands with a purpose are at the heart of Unilever and we believe that the small choices we all make every day can make a big difference to the world we live in.

Building trust
At the opening session Cannes Lions Festival in 2018 Keith Weed, Unilever’s CMO, said:

Unilever has always kept brand purpose at the core of its business since its inception and a brand without trust is just a product.

To regain consumer trust in the era of fake news and toxic content, as Weed puts it, Unilever has three key commitments:responsible platforms, responsible content, and responsible infrastructure.

Next, I’d like to take a look at a few purpose brands in their portfolio.


Love, Beauty, and Planet

Launched in the end of 2017 Love Beauty and Planet (LBP) is a “demonstration project for the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan” as AdAge puts it. LBP is a new line of neutral shampoos and soaps targeted at millennials. As Alan Jope, president of Unilever’s personal care business, explains in this Fortune article, LBP is going after two growth vectors that are attractive to the millennials: brands with purpose and the natural segment. The products are formulated and sourced in as sustainable a way was possible. Piyush Jain, VP of haircare at Unilever, explains:

Our philosophy is that we will obviously not change the world overnight, so we are working toward small acts, which together with our consumers over a period of time will make a big impact on the planet we live in.

Why are brands and projects like LBP important?
Unilever claims:

[B]rands that fall under what Unilever identifies as “Sustainable Living” grew more than 50% faster than the rest of the company’s business last year, and also delivered more than 60% of the Unilever’s 2016 growth.

Marketing Strategy
The target market for LBP is one that desires “a sense of discovery and finding it for herself.” Aligning to this, LBP’s marketing investment are not allocated for TV, but rather digital and social media as well as store placement and merchandising (source: AdAge).

Lifebuoy is a soap brand with the mission of changing the hygiene behavior of 1 billion consumers across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The brand has a strong presence in India and other emerging countries.

The brand’s key social program is Help A Child Reach 5 and is acclaimed by the brand expert David Aaker. As Aaker explains, this program saves lives by spreading the importance of good handwashing habits around the world. Aaker further explains the program is driven by two key facts:

  1. Every year, 2 million children fail to reach their fifth birthday because of diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia.

  2. Handwashing with soap at key occasions can reduce diarrhea by 45% and pneumonia by 23% worldwide, thus reducing infant deaths substantially.

This campaign was holistic in nature in that it encompassed the following.

Communications

Education
In India employees volunteered to teach children about the importance of hand washing.

Enabling Handwashing
To allow the children put what they learned in action, Unilever retrofitted water pumps. Ultimately, this enabled children to form habits of washing their hands.

Creating engagement
In 2012 their Dubai office set a Guinness World Record by getting people from 72 countries to wash their hands at the same time.

Lifebuoy’s social program has been regarded as the most impactful program in terms of number of people reached.


Lipton

Chances are that you know this leading global tea brand. Lipton’s purpose as stated on their website is:

Since 1880, nature has been our tea factory. Every cup of Lipton tea is grown using natural rain, wind and sunshine to give you our signature rich taste and aroma. What’s more we believe that every cup of our tea should not only help brighten your day but help brighten the future of all our tea farmers and their families, and of course, our planet too.

Taking the idea of brighten further, their big idea in their recent brand communications is optimism as can be seen from their brand video.


To be continued...

Whew, covered quite a bit in this post, but there’s more to come. In a future post we’ll continue to take a look at a few more of Unilever’s brands as well a quick recap of their approach to building a purpose-led brand portfolio. Thanks for reading.

What Gillette and Pantene stand for

This week we continue our tour with P&G’s purpose-led brands. In particular, we will take a look at Gillette and Pantene on how they took a stand and started a global conversation around social issues.

Gillette

Brand Purpose
Help men make a difference in their world.

Taking a stand
Gillette stirred up some controversy with their recent “We Believe” commercial, which touches on cultural issues as such sexual harassment and bullying. However, their social purpose campaigns have been around from a few years ago. In 2013 Gillette also launched a campaign and ad in India fighting the battle of gender equality.

Pantene

Brand Purpose
Help women shine—both in the healthy, beautiful hair and in their lives.

From Philippines to the world
Pantene’s recent marketing efforts are quite intriguing. Pantene’s movement for gender equality in the workplace started abroad instead of from US/Europe.

Aiming to stay relevant, in 2013 Pantene Philippines focused on bringing its brand purpose to life. They launched a campaign called whip it.

The campaign sparked a movement that spread around the world and found Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as a supporter. Pantene in the US continues the movement evolving it into a global campaign under a new name #ShineStrong.

Wrapping things up

To conclude our P&G discussion, I want to touch on this quote back in 2016 from the brand director for Northern Europe of P&G.

Everybody has to look at how they can make purpose work for them. They need to make sure their purpose is simple, memorable and inspires consumers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders. If your purpose is something that people can relate to and engage with then you have a strong purpose. You then need to put it into practice.

And the big takeaway here is revisiting our purpose and confirming if it is simple, memorable, and inspiring.

One more thing…

Before I go, I have one more item to share with you. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Fortune 500, a list which ranks companies by revenue. However, isn’t it time for rankings and lists that also take consideration of other factors like the good we do for people and our planet? There are quite a few out there, but this one caught my eye last year.

That list is called the GameChangers 500. and it is listed companies are referred to as the world’s top purpose-driven organizations. They call it the new list for a new era in business.

Lists like the Fortune 500 have implied that success in business is based on maximizing revenue. By creating GameChangers 500 we are building aspiration for a new breed of organizations—organizations that define themselves as For-Benefit rather than For-Profit, and utilize business to not only make money but to also make the world a better place.

This article from Forbes covers the origin and methodology behind the list.

What P&G, Pampers, and Always stand for

Last year Accenture released a report about the rise of purpose-led brands. The report states that more and more consumers are choosing brands with a purpose.

In the next few posts, I’d like to explore with you two leading consumer goods company who are at the forefront of building purpose-led brands, P&G and Unilever.

Specifically, we’ll be taking a tour of a few of their well known brands. We begin our tour with P&G. Lots of ground to cover so let’s get started.

What P&G stands for

Purpose of P&G
Touching and improving lives.

At P&G, our purpose is to touch and improve the lives of every person in the world. Every one of our brands has a unique derivative of this purpose. And it is this purpose that drives everything we do.

This quote is from a speech by the global marketing and brand building officer, Marc Pritchard. The speech also touches on Thank You, Mom campaign, which originated from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The campaign started from finding and developing “an idea that united P&G’s purpose of touching and improving lives with the Olympic movement’s purpose of building a better world through sports.”

Below we’ll be looking how this overarching purpose is manifested in some of P&G’s brands.

Pampers

Brand Purpose
Improve baby’s happy, healthy development.

Shifting with cultural shifts
The global baby brand made a statement about the cultural shifts in fatherhood both in 2018 and 2019. The first commercial with John Legend and Adam Levine launched during Father’s Day and its sequel on this year’s Super Bowl. Both wonderful and both will make you smile.

Always

Brand Purpose
Empowering girls and women.

Mission
To encourage girls everywhere to embrace failure as fuel to build confidence & Keep Going #LikeAGirl.

Changing perceptions
The feminine-care brand Always debuted its campaign to change the perception of the phrase “like a girl” in 2014. The viral campaign, which was named PRWeek’s Campaign of the Year, got amplified in 2015 with an ad spot in Super Bowl.

P&G followed up with the “Unstoppable” campaign where the centerpiece is their partnership with TED to provide content around the theme of confidence.

Find more about this campaign over at their website.

To be continued…

In the next post, I’ll be covering two more P&G brands: one which made quite a stir in the ad industry during the Super Bowl and the other which sparked a movement from the Philippines.

Before I go, here are two new books about purpose I came across recently.

Creating Movements

A simple guide for leaders on bringing your team together to fulfill a higher purpose.

Your team has a purpose beyond making profits.

The question is... how do you bring everyone on your team together to bring the purpose to life? In other words, how can you create a movement within your team?

The following is a simple framework for creating such movements.

Let’s get started.

The Fundamentals

Before a successful purpose-driven movement can start, you must have clarity of your WHY, your WHERE, and your HOW.

WHY
Simon Sinek explains this well in his TED talk How great leaders inspire action:

By WHY, I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your case?What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

WHERE
Where is your team headed?

The WHERE is the future your team wants to create along with what it aspires to be.

HOW
Lastly, by HOW, I don’t mean HOW on the strategy level, but rather on a philosophical level.

HOW represents the values and beliefs that guide the way you do things. It is your way of doing things to fulfill your WHY and reach your WHERE.

A Hollywood-inspired Framework

Lights, camera, and action. These are the three essential things for the filming of a scene to start.

Similarly, there are three essential things to start a movement of change.

Understanding: your team has a deep understanding of the WHY, WHERE and HOW.

Connection: your team understands how the work they do connect to the purpose.

Action: your team has the tools to drive the decisions and actions with purpose. Your team has developed the habits to enable purposeful actions.

Understanding, connection, and action. Remember this as a simple framework for igniting a purpose-driven movement within your team.

Let’s go through them in a bit more detail.

Understanding

First, build an understanding of the change your team aims to create.

It’s a noisy world. Communicate with clarity and simplicity. Present a logical and persuasive case to win their minds.

Winning their minds is only half of the story. Equally important, connect with them on an emotional level. Move them. Win their hearts.

Here’s a list of tools to help you communicate and build an understanding of the purpose behind your movement.

Basic tools:

  • Booklets
  • Cards
  • Posters
  • Films and videos

Digital Experiences:

  • Websites
  • Apps

Physical Experiences

  • Workshops
  • Events
  • Exhibits

No matter what mix of tools you choose to use, remember to win not just their minds, win their hearts.

Connection

Here is the parable of the bricklayer as told by Angela Duckworth from her book GRIT: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success:

Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?” The first says, “I am laying bricks.” The second says, “I am building a church.” The third says, “I am building the house of God.”

Here is the famous NASA story as told by Mark Zuckerberg from his Harvard commencement address:

One of my favorite stories is when John F. Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

In both stories the protagonists understand how the work they do everyday ladders up to the higher purpose.

It tells us that we must help our team for a connection between what they do and the higher purpose. Set up the time and space for the team to reflect and envision how their work connects to the purpose.

Action

Now that your team has gained a deeper understanding and made the connection, it’s time to focus on bringing the purpose into action.

In the movies of Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow always looks to his compass to know where he should be headed next.

Likewise, you must equip your organization with the equivalent of a compass, a tool that guides you and makes sure your actions and decisions are consistent with your purpose.

Create a purpose compass. It could be as a simple checklist for your decisions and actions to make sure they are aligned with your purpose.

Next, cultivate habits that point everyone to the purpose. There is no point having a shiny North Star no one looks to.

Here a few ways to make celebrating your purpose and values habitual.

  • Hold annual events: designate a day in the year to celebrate your purpose and values.
  • Create annual publications: create a yearbook-like publication every year to celebrate and reflect on your purpose and values and how they came alive that year.
  • Make workshops part of your process: hold workshops before/after a project or at regular intervals for team members to think about and reflect on purpose and values.

Two takeaways here. Equip your team with a purpose compass. Build habits the orient your team to your purpose.

Purpose + People = Movements

You can design and create, and built the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. - Walt Disney

The heart of movements is people.

Help them understand the purpose. Help them connect to the purpose. Help them put purpose in action.

This is how a movement starts.

Godspeed.


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How REI discovered their purpose

REI’s Seven Steps to Discovering Purpose

Doesn’t it seem that stores are opening earlier and earlier every year for Black Friday? Sometimes I feel bad for those who have to work on Thanksgiving evening.

Looks like I’m not alone.

If you love the outdoors, you probably know REI (which stands for Recreational Equipment Incorporated). Since 2015, REI closes its stores for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. In fact, Black Friday is a paid holiday for its employees; REI encourages its employees as well as customers to go outside on Black Friday. Here’s what the current CEO Jerry Stritzke said:

We believe that being outside makes us our best selves — healthier and happier, physically and mentally. But as a nation we’re still spending over 90 percent of our lives indoors and it’s a trend we need to tackle. I love that there is a community of people in this country who dedicate their lives to that mission, so together, we are asking America “Will you go out with us?”

I’d like to share with you about how REI’s leadership team clarified and discovered their purpose. Straight from REI’s former CEO Sally Jewell, she describes how they discovered their purpose:

We spent time as a large leadership group, 150 people asking, “Why does REI exist?” Then we asked ourselves five times, “Why is that important?” And two more questions: “What would happen if REI went away?” and then, “Why do I devote my creative energies to this organization?” We took those couple hundred sheets and came up with one core purpose: to inspire, educate, and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. While we make money be being an outfitter, what we really do is inspire people to do things they aspire to do — educate them so they can try something that they’ve been uncomfortable trying before. And if we do that well, it works its way into their everyday lives and they begin to give back, and that’s the stewardship component.

Whew. That’s quite a dense and powerful quote. Let’s unpack it.

REI’s Purpose Discovery Process

  • Gather your team.
  • Ask: Why do you exist?
  • Ask “Why is that important?” five times.
  • Ask: What would happen if you went away?
  • Ask: Why do you devote your creative energies to your organization?
  • Gather everyone’s answers.
  • Review and internalize the results to craft your purpose statement.

There you have it - seven steps to discovering purpose.

What quip stands for

Launched in 2015 Quip designs and sells electric toothbrushes. What separates them from traditional competitors is their offering of a comprehensive subscription service. (Their commercial from last year is a great introduction to who they are.)

Where competitors in this space focus on the product itself, the electric toothbrush and brush heads, Quip focuses on building a habit. By embracing this angle, Quip not only provides a toothbrush focused on getting you to brush daily, but also sends you new brush heads as well as toothpaste when needed. And to further motivate you to brush, all this is fused with elegant Apple-esque design.

Quip’s Golden Circle

Here’s what I pieced from their website and blog about what they do and why they do it.

Their WHY:

Some oral care brands prioritize affordability, sustainability, or gimmicky gadgets, but unfortunately a focus on a complete oral health routine often seems to be forgotten.

quip was created to make great oral care more enjoyable, accessible and simple for everyone.

Their WHAT:

our primary focus is to simplify oral health, using honest dental tips, accessibly designed products and affordable services.

we deliver products, advice and services that guide good habits for life (their mission)

Having a holistic view

In an article about Quip from Fast Company, “According to the American Dental Association, about 50% of people don’t brush their teeth twice a day, and 75% do not replace their toothbrushes as often as they should. The Center for Disease Control points out that 40% of people don’t visit the dentist every year, and even less than that go at the recommended six-month mark.”

Quip’s service helps people get in a habit of brushing their teeth as well as replacing the brushes when necessary. However, that is not where Quip stops. To combat the problem of people not visiting the dentist, they have a platform to encourage and remind you to visit your dentist every six months.

This leads to a key takeaway. By adopting a holistic approach in what they do and how they communicate, it builds their credibility and authenticity in actually caring about people’s oral health. Think about it, would you believe a company that focuses on making electric toothbrush, or electric toothbrush company that doing all it can to help you build a habit and also remind you to go to the dentist?

Turning personal hygiene products into a lifestyle brand

Their design-centered products and services are backed up with their solution are their social media marketing efforts. Quip is adept in harnessing Instagram. As Inc. explains, “Quip’s own Instagram page intersperses images of the toothbrushes in such bathrooms with ones that have nary a bristle in sight — but that perfectly fit the minimalist aesthetic and include brief brand mentions, cheeky brushing references, and handy dental advice.”

For reference here’s a list of the main articles that served as the basis of this issue’s contents.

Other Purpose-related News

Purpose isn’t just for big enterprises. Over on my blog I cover how a pizza place with two locations discovered their purpose.

Lastly, here are two articles I’d like to share with you this week.

How a 7th-grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement - The Washington Post
The first is a story of a 7th-grader creating a climate change movement.

Millennials are skipping the corner office: Here’s what they want instead | Ladders
The second is about what millennial professionals crave from their careers. (Hint: it has something to do with purpose.)

How Google’s sales team discovered their purpose

This is the story of how a sales team of Google searched for their purpose. Before moving on though, let me explain why I selected this case study.

The company mission statement myth

There is this myth that if my company has a purpose statement or a mission statement, my team doesn’t need a purpose.

The problem with company-wide purpose statements is that these statements need to accommodate for everyone across the enterprise. When you spread your net that wide, naturally, these statements are going to be abstract. Don’t get me wrong. Company purpose statements are necessary. They inspire us. They give us a sense of direction. However, when it comes to day-to-day stuff, they cannot provide the clarity you need. Company purpose statements simply cannot be relevant at at micro level of a team.

Let me give you an example.

Google’s mission statement is:

to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

As Lisa Earle McLeod explains in her book, Selling with Noble Purpose:

Google’s mission is real and powerful. Yet it still needs to be translated for sales - particularly for the B2B salespeople who sell advertising to major corporations such as Home Depot and Nordstrom.

Before the sales team defined their purpose, even top sales performers were frustrated with one saying:

I’m passionate about our mission statement, but it’s easy to think of myself as just the money person — the one who delivers the sales so everyone else can achieve the mission.

Realizing this dissatisfaction, this sales team at Google reinterpreted their mission statement. They translated it into a purpose statement focusing on the individual business customer:

To help organize our clients’ information and make it universally accessible and useful.

This slight tweak creates clarity by focusing the sales team from the world’s information to the individual client’s. The team members now have clarity on the difference they make for each customer everyday.

How the Google sales team discovered their purpose

In her book, Lisa explains the process she uses with clients including Google. Here’s a summary.

A three-part process

The purpose creation purpose of Lisa has three parts:

  • How do you make a difference to your customers?
  • How are you different from competitors?
  • On your best day, what do you love about your job?

After exploring these three questions, look for keywords and key themes which are concrete and compelling to you. Refer to these as you brainstorm and write down variations of your purpose statement.

Sit on it

Before selecting the final statement, sit on it for a week. When you revisit your ideas, ask others for feedback to get another perspective. Finally, look at your ideas and find the ones that excite and inspire your team. If you’d like to learn more about her methods, do check out her book, Selling with Noble Purpose.