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How corporations think about brand innovation- unilever

January 7, 2011

Innovation is a much used word, but when it comes to the giant corporations who manage power brands, it’s become ingrained into their work practices and drives much of what they do.

Unilever is a great example of a company who pays a lot of attention to innovation and not just lip service.

Highlighted above are a small selection of slides from a recent company presentation to investors that indicate the types of things Unilever is doing to innovate.

The actions and the rule sets can be grouped into the following themes.

1. Growing brand by line extension and expansion
2. Doing things faster- rolling out products at a faster pace
3. Finding new ways of extending brands into higher value areas-e.g-Ponds Institute
4. Looking for technical synergies across categories- mayonnaise can help shampoo
5. Find markets where you can repeat success and gain efficiencies
6. Understand consumer needs
7. Get into emerging markets early because they are growing at a rapid pace
8. Improve the effectiveness of your communication
9. Think about sustainability

Unilever has the power of economies of scale to put these things into practice, but it’s worth taking a second to think about your brands and your brand portfolio and what you can learn from Unilever’s examples. Clearly, a core part of Unilever’s goal is to be truly global, so extending ideas and technologies is a core part of their innovation plan.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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