The ROI of Brand Activism: Unilever’s Latest Findings
Purpose is not a luxury. It is a must have. Companies interested in the ROI of Purpose should look at the official results from a company like Unilever.
Earlier this month, Unilever announced that its purpose-led, Sustainable Living Brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business and delivering 75% of the company’s growth.
The figures, which were revealed by Unilever CEO Alan Jope at the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference in Paris, demonstrate that:
- In 2018, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands grew 69% faster than the rest of the business, compared to 46% in 2017;
- Unilever now has 28 Sustainable Living Brands – the four new entrants are Close Up (toothpaste), Wheel (laundry), Calve and Bango (dressings);
- Seven of Unilever’s top ten brands – Dove, Knorr, Omo/Persil, Rexona/Sure, Lipton, Hellmann’s and Wall’s ice cream – are all Sustainable Living Brands.
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands are those that communicate a strong environmental or social purpose, with products that contribute to achieving the company’s ambition of halving its environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. While all of Unilever’s brands are on a journey towards sustainability, our Sustainable Living Brands are those that are furthest ahead.
Addressing the conference audience, Jope said: “Two-thirds of consumers around the world say they choose brands because of their stand on social issues, and over 90% of millennials say they would switch brands for one which champions a cause.”
“We believe the evidence is clear and compelling that brands with purpose grow. Purpose creates relevance for a brand, it drives talkability, builds penetration and reduces price elasticity. In fact, we believe this so strongly that we are prepared to commit that in the future, every Unilever brand will be a brand with purpose.”
Jope added: “The fantastic work done by brands such as Dove, Vaseline, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s and Brooke Bond shows the huge impact that brands can have in addressing an environmental or social issue. But talking is not enough, it is critical that brands take action and demonstrate their commitment to making a difference.”
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Brands include Dove, which has helped over 35 million young people around the world with self-esteem education since 2005; Lifebuoy, which has reached one billion people with its handwashing campaigns; Vaseline, which has reached 3 million people living on the frontline of poverty and disaster with skin healing programmes; Ben & Jerry’s, which campaigns for social justice and climate change, and Rin whose Career Academy works with women across rural India, through mentoring and careers fairs.
OK. That’s good information. So, how do your brands stack up?
Is there a purpose that is authentic and meaningful that aligns with your brand?
If not, why not?