Esi Eggleston Bracey_Chief Growth and Marketing Officer_Unilever

Unilever appoints Esi Eggleston Bracey to the new role of Chief Growth and Marketing Officer unveiling new ad spend and marketing strategy

Esi Eggleston Bracey, to date General Manager Personal Care North America and Head of Country US, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Growth and Marketing Officer.

From her new role Eggleston will be responsible for overseein the execution of the new marketing and advertising strategy as defined by Hein Schumacher (Global CEO of Unilever Group).

This is just one of the management and structure changes announced today by the company.
All the promotions, exits and appointments unveiled are framed into the comprehensive plan, full of reforms, whcih are aimed to increase growth and build back gross Unilever’s margin. This new comprehensive plan was presented today as well by Hein Schumacher (Global CEO of Unilever Group).

Esi Eggleston along with Priya Nair, who has been promoted to Business Group President Beauty & Wellbeing (she was to date Chief Marketing Officer Beauty & Wellbeing) and Eduardo Campanella from now on Business Group President Home Care and before Chief Marketing Officer Home Care, “represent part of an exceptional generation of Unilever leaders who combine world class marketing skills with frontline experience”, said Schumacher, and he added…”they are all great talents with impresive performance track records to match. An all, now part of what I hope and expect will be a great team to lead the next stage of Unilever’s development.”

Other key changesand promotions announced by the Group today include:

Unilever new structure
Unilever’s new structure. © Unilever.

1.- Fernando Fernandez, currently Unilever’s Beauty & Wellbeing Business Group, has been appointed Group’s Chief Financial Officer.

2.- Hanneke Faber, President Nutrition, has decided to leave Unilever to take on a new opportunity externally. Hanneke’s replacement will be announced in due course.

3.- Matt Close, President Ice Cream, has decided to leave Unilever at the end of 2023 after a distinguished 31-year career with the company.

4.- Peter ter Kulve, currently President Home Care, has been appointed President Ice Cream.

All the appointments will be effective on 1st January 2024 but all the executives concerned have already started to work in the transition, Schumacher said.

Increase brand investment and returns, one of the new key levers for growth

As the company did in 2022 and 2023, Unilever will keep on increasing its ad and marKeting investment in next years but with the spend now on focused on its 30 ‘power brands’, digital and big platforms.

Increase brand investment
© Unilever.

“Our product superiority scores are good and actually improving, but we need to be brilliant at executing across all consumer benefits and we are not there yet. And this means going from technical product superiority to a consumer perceived overall brand superiority,” the CEO of Unilever said, “…Turning to the next growth lever, increased brand and marketing investment and return.

CEO Unilever_new marketing strategy
New approach to ad and marketing spend presented by Hein Schumacher (Global CEO of Unilever Group). © Unilever.

“In short, we will increase the absolute level of brand and marketing investment, just as we did in 2022 and are on course to do in 2023. This is a must, but we will also ensure that our brand and marketing investment spend is more focused with deliberate allocation bahind bigger platforms, more consistent, fully funding our power brands, more digital and more effective increasing returns of marketing spend.”

Being simpler, going deeper and maximizing impact, or what is the same focusing in less projects with more impact is the overall principle that will guide investment and actions in all the key levers for growth defined by Unilever’s Global CEO.

Which are Unilever’s 30 power brands?

“We have incredible global reach and wonderful portfolio of brands, as I said, but insuficient discrimination when it comes to prioritizing the biggest brands and the biggest opportunities,” Schumacher explained and added: “…What do I mean with a power brand?. These include our biggest brands by turnover, the 14 in the €1Bn club like Dove, magnum and Hellman’s, whose growth has been accretive to Unilever delivering higher volume and price. There are tlhen 16 other brands which have the most potential to join them, like CIF, Vaseline, Nutrafol and Liquid I.V.”

Unilever 30 power brands
Unilever 30 Power Brands. © Unilever.

“Prioritising these 30 brands, which represent more than 70% of our turnover, gives us a real opportunity to improve Unilever’s growth profile. Hence, this brands will have the first goal on capital and resources. They represent our biggest value creation opportunity, which means they need to be brilliantly executed and consistently supported before anything else. And this doesn’t mean other brands are not important or will be sold or underinvested. But it does mean we can address the issue I referred to earlier. Too many projects competing for in-market execution and brand support,” Schumacher pointed.

Driving unmissable brand superiority, the first key lever for growth: New and clear KPI’s to meassure growth return on investment

The Global CEO of Unilever Group said on this paramount and key lever to drive growth: “Let me come now to the growth levers all designed to give these top brands the best chance of success, starting with what we are calling driving unmissable brand superiority.

Consumers today view our products in an increasingly rounded and sophisticated way. We have to be ready to respond.

It starts with product superiority, and we’ve made good progress here. With 70% of measure turnover now superior to competitors. However, winning the hearts, minds and pockets of consumers requires us to broaden the way we measure and deliver superiority.

We already have a proven concept on how to do this, as well as some great examples of where it is working well in practice, including Domestos power foam and Dove deep moisture body wash. In both cases, the focus on product superiority has been expanded to a quantitatively measured composite score of how brands perform against each of their key attributes, and that is unmissable superiority.

CEO Global Unilever
Hein Schumacher (Global CEO of Unilever Group). © Unilever.

And by including the other key attributes alongside product and price, we can give proper weight to increasingly important determinants like desirable packaging and to sustainability, which is key now for many consumers.

That’s why we’ll continue to convert our strong knowhow in this area into products that mitigate, or even better, eliminate environmental impact.

We know that consumers are increasingly prepared to pay a premium for this, and this revised way of thinking about superiority will allow us to identify the distinct drivers of superiority for different brands with real precision, enabling our business leadres to improve overall performance by addressing those attributes that male the difference.
Our next step is to embed the approach across all business groups in a rigorous and systematic way using clear and measurable KPIs. And I’m exited about these fundamentals of consumer products. Details matter, it all needs to come together.”

A new approach to sustainability and purpose

“In recent years, the debate around brands, sustainability and purpose has arguably generated more heat then light,” Schumacher pointed, and he added: “The topics have been conflated and the business case has got confused.

“My approach is simple. All of our brands or businesses will be expected tobe full and active participants in delivering Unilever’s four big sustainability priorities. Some priorities, of course, will apply to certain business groups and brands more than others.

“For example, our Home care business has larger plastic footprint than Nutrition. But this is an enterprise wide endeavor. Some brands will want to include the work they are doing on sustainability as part of the brand proposition to drive unmissable superiority.

That could be through the use of recycled plastic packaging or a sustainable sourcing claim. Many are doing this and that will continue. As I explained earlier, in fact I expect it to increase in line with the acceleration of our work on the big four pillars.

New approach to sustainability and purpose_Unilever
© Unilever.

And some brands will also want to go beyond the four areas, leveraging their expertise and insights in other areas of social and environmental concern and make this a part of their brand proposition. What has become known as brand purpose and when done well and with credibility, this can be highly effective. Unilever knows how to do it well, brilliantly in fact, think of Lifebuoy, Domestos or, of course, Dove’s campaign Real Beauty. For these brands and others like them in our stable, they will receive every encouragement to go on developing a social or environmental purpose as a part of their overall brand proposition. But we will not force fit this across the entire portfolio. For some brands, it simply won’t be relevant, and that’s okay”.

Again the approach here is based on being simpler. Going deeper. Maximizing impact. This is what will characterize the next stage of the sustainability journey.”

Image over the headline.- Esi Eggleston Bracey (Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Unilever).

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Financial turn at the head of Unilever.- Ex Heinz Hein Schumacher returns to become CEO

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