Home >> Marketing >> Article

Companies are not changing at the same pace as their customers: Simon Clift

07-August-2013
Font Size   16
Companies are not changing at the same pace as their customers: Simon Clift

Former Global CMO of Unilever Simon Clift threw light on ‘how digital media and the changing agenda of citizens’ concerns is changing brand communications forever’, while addressing an exclusive audience of CMOs at The CMO League – an initiative by exchange4media Group.

Drawing on his vast experience of 30 years spent at Unilever, it wasn’t surprising that Clift drew many of his insights from his time spent at the Anglo-Dutch major.

The rapidly changing media environment has made it necessary for marketers to be present on multiple platforms, but Clift believes that companies are not changing at the same pace as their customers. This is because most marketers belong to “the lost generation” – people who are not digital natives (have not grown up in the digital age) – and thus, still have the fear factor when it comes to incorporating digital as part of their marketing plan. 

While many marketers still cannot dream of “life without TV”, Clift highlighted the campaign of the fastest growing ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s in the UK, which was a completely digital campaign.

Clift also brought to the fore the point that brands need to pay heed and acknowledge consumer concerns. This is important as trust in companies is falling globally. Consumers are increasingly blaming companies for problems and expect them to address these issues. Unilever, on its part, put these concerns on centre-stage and benefitted immensely. And, this reflected on the company’s share prices.

Finally, Clift highlighted the characteristics of a successful brand:
Universal truth: It is important for brands with universal briefs to also focus on local insights and gather these inputs from different sources. Clift draws on the example of deodorant brand Axe, which was launched in the UK in 1982. The brand was not launched across the Atlantic despite its success on the belief that there was no demand for the product. Unilever finally launched Axe in 2003 in the US and garnered over $4 billion in revenues. Clift believes that had Unilever understood the universal need of the target group, it would have entered the US market much earlier. Clift added that that most borders in global organisations are created by managers.

Purposeful positioning: Unilever was founded on the principle of purposeful positioning and this principle continues till date with the brand Lifebuoy being the best example. Lifebuoy’s campaigns have been positioned to teach children to wash their hands, particularly before any meal, thus ensuring a healthier lifestyle. Clift says that this helps the brand not only in engaging consumers, but also stakeholders, particularly employees, who feel proud to be associated with such an organisation. What also pays is differentiated advertising, a fact best illustrated by Unilever’s very successful ‘Real Beauty’ campaign.  Clift added, “Purpose and creativity can change the company RoI.”

Total brand experience: Successful brands are those that are able to reposition themselves and meet the consumers’ desires. The perfect example being Nike, which successfully repositioned itself from being a shoe seller to a services provider. Clift reiterated that brands need to listen to the consumer closely, otherwise the power that the consumer wields today with “access to internet and a little creativity, can significantly impact brands”.

Simon Clift was speaking at a unique idea exchange called The CMO League, hosted in Mumbai on August 6, 2013. The event was sponsored by Zee, ABP News, Dainik Bhaskar, Laqshya Outdoors, AXN, India Today, Headlines Today and Business Today. 

Kartikeya Sharma says that June has been the best month for sales in the 11 years that the brand has been in India

The newly appointed CEO of ZEE5 on how he aims to have the widest appeal in the OTT space amongst Indian consumers

The VP, Marketing and Communications (South Asia), talks about the company's growth strategy, its focus areas, impact of demonetisation on consumer behaviour and much more

Siju Prabhakaran, South Cluster Head, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, talks about channel's rebranding, extending fiction shows to weekends and much more

right
left
RADIO CITY CELEBRATES ITS 17TH ANNIVERSARY WITH CONCERT, AWARDS AND FUN 5TH EDITION OF TIMES NOW & ICICI BANK’S NRI OF THE YEAR AWARDS GLOBAL INDIANS PITCH CMO SUMMIT BENGALURU SEES TOP INDUSTRY LEADERS AND MARKETERS IN ATTENDANCE DISTINGUISHED JURY COMES TOGETHER TO PICK WINNERS FOR PITCH’S TOP 50 BRANDS PITCH CMO SUMMIT BANGALORE SEES TOP CMOS ACROSS INDUSTRIES IN ATTENDANCE 1ST REPUBLIC TV GULF INDIAN LEADERSHIP SUMMIT & AWARDS HONOUR STALWARTS OF INDIAN GULF BUSINESS COMMUNITY SONY YAY! CELEBRATES ITS FIRST BIRTHDAY WITH PARTY FOR TRADE PARTNERS THOUGHT LEADERS AND TOP DIGITAL MARKETERS SPEAK @ EXCHANGE4MEDIA GROUP’S TECHMANCH 2018 IN MUMBAI EXCHANGE4MEDIA’S IDMA 2018 RECOGNIZES INDUSTRY’S BEST DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS REALTY PLUS UNVEILS COFFEE TABLE BOOK AT 10TH CONCLAVE & EXCELLENCE AWARDS @AHMEDABAD EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK WINNERS OF INDIAN DIGITAL MARKETING AWARDS 2018 OFF THE CUFF SEES ‘SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN’ MAN PARAMESWARAN IYER IN CONVERSATION WITH SHEKHAR GUPTA EXCHANGE4MEDIA’S LOUDEST.IN HOSTS INAUGURAL EDITION OF MUSIC INC. IN MUMBAI EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK IMPACT’S 40UNDERFORTY ACHIEVERS PORTER PRIZE & INSTITUTE FOR COMPETITIVENESS RECOGNIZE STRATEGIC ACUMEN IN COMPANIES DELHI AD CLUB-SAARC AWARDS 2018 RECOGNIZE EXCELLENCE ACROSS CREATIVE, MEDIA & DIGITAL AGENCIES BSNL & CALL2ACTION COMMUNICATION INDIA LAUNCH MOBILE ADVERTISING PLATFORM, INFOMO IN NEW DELHI CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST KAILASH SATYARTHI LAUNCHES BOOK ‘EVERY CHILD MATTERS’ SENIOR JOURNALIST VIJAY TRIVEDI LAUNCHES BOOK ‘YADA YADA HI YOGI’ BASED ON YOGI ADITYANATH EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK IMPACT’S 40UNDERFORTY ACHIEVERS

This comes after the government has deemed Whatsapp’s reply to the first notice sent to the IT Ministry as unsatisfactory, according to reports.

At the debut edition of D-CODE, 13 Industry champions will crack the code on the best performing digital campaigns

Aggarwal previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer of Zee5.