Mark Curtis

Unilever – developing living brands?


As part of Accenture Interactive’s partnership with MOFILM, we’ve had the opportunity to be involved in a video series, BRANDTECHTalks, that features two of the most important CMOs in the world. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Unilever’s CMO, Keith Weed, to understand more about how his organisation is infusing the latest technology and innovation into their products, services and marketing.

Consumer packaged goods companies have not been the fastest out of the blocks to embrace the opportunity to develop digital services that grow out of their brands, but I think Keith’s approach is unusual and far-sighted – reaching out to entrepreneurs to build a mutually rewarding eco-system for innovation

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Unilever, the world’s second-largest advertiser, is tapping start-ups to accelerate innovation. “Technology has fundamentally changed how brands connect with people”, Weed says.

To stay ahead of the curve, the consumer product company has launched The Foundry, a program whereby entrepreneurs, creatives, technologists and inventors can submit solutions to corporate challenges.

The Foundry is a great example of how large organisations like Unilever are reacting to the challenges that we have outlined in our Living Services report. Living Services looks beyond the “Internet of Things” to show how the digitization of everything and liquid expectations, is driving organisations to fundamentally rethink how they design products and services, to be as fast and flexible as a start up.

For its part, Unilever embodies Living Services by crowdsourcing solutions on to challenges such as:

  • Providing people with clean water to use for home care and personal care via new products, devices, services or processes to access clean water in countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam and China
  • Turning the Knorr product into a service via Chef Wendy, its text based recipe advisor based on the ingredients in your fridge
  • Using HD video streaming to connect with global consumers directly for market research purposes using Discuss.IO
Mark Curtis

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