MMX: What is Unilever working on that you’re excited about?
Rob: Without question it’s the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and our commitment to brands that are a force for good in society. People are increasingly demanding that brands don’t just satisfy their functional needs like clean, nourished hair, but they also advocate for things that are important to people as well such as creating a broader more accurate depiction of real beauty. Unilever brands are in more than 90% of American homes – Suave alone is in half of all US households and has been providing affordable, high quality products for over 70 years. These are incredible legacies that we treasure and use to inspire us to work hard for the people that invite us in their homes every day.
MMX: What challenges do you foresee within your organization or within the industry as a whole?
Rob: I see this as less of a challenge and more of an opportunity – the notion that brands and businesses can and should be a force for good in the world. Too often brands are only measured by their commercial value. Our hope is we see a more robust calculus of the value brands add to the societies in which they exist.
MMX: Is there an aspect of the industry you think people are overlooking?
Rob: As marketers, we are in an era of abundance – media channels, consumer choices, ways to shop. I worry that as an industry we become too enamored, too quickly with every bright and shiny new toy. There are plenty of traditional media platforms that are still a very important part of the marketing mix. It’s up to us to think about the new role they can play as part of the mix and, if needed, help reinvent them to be more relevant in this modern age. I think it’s important to recognize that in many cases the problem isn’t the medium we use, it’s that the creative isn’t daring or insightful enough to break through.
MMX: Do you have any advice for today’s modern marketer?
Rob: Go back to the origin of your brand to find its real power. All brands, in whatever industry, were created because they filled a void for people. The future of your brand(s) can often be found by simply revisiting its past and the original reason it was created in the first place.
MMX: What are you currently binge-watching?
Rob: Ray Donovan and Narcos. I also have two boys 5 and under so I watch a LOT of Rescue Bots and Blaze and the Monster Machines.
Agata Monica is Managing Editor at Modern Marketing Xchange.