Strong brand purpose means 30% faster growth, says Unilever

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever: faster growth for strong brand purpose

Related tags Advertising Unilever

Brands could be missing out on around 30% better growth if they fail to engage consumers with a strong brand purpose, according to Unilever.

The fast moving consumer goods giant, parent company of brands including Dove and Axe, made the comments to The Drum in a recent interview,​ in reference to the different growth rates experienced by brands in its own portfolio.

“All the brands that have started [the Sustainable Living Programme] are growing 30% faster than many of the other brands in our company​,” said Unilever’s executive vice president of global marketing, Aline Santos.

“All the brands with strong purposes run 30% ahead of the others, so it is a huge number and a significant difference.”

Sustainability; stereotypes

Offering what consumers consider to be an authentic brand identity and voice appears to be becoming an essential marketing move for companies, particularly when looking to court millennial consumers and those younger.

As the largest generation ever, millennials’ global spending will reportedly reach $2.5 trillion dollars in five years, and according to Euromonitor International, ethically conscious and environmental concerns are key among the consumer group.

When asked how much more would they be willing to pay for a product that is environmentally or ethically conscious, around three quarters of the youngest age group (15 - 29) said at least a little more, with many saying somewhat or a lot more.

Unilever believes that its Sustainable Living Programme and its recent commitment to end stereotyping in adverts​ are two strong routes to tap into these demands.


The multinational launched its commitment to end gender stereotyping in its adverts - a move it dubs #unstereotyping - during this year’s Cannes Lions advertising festival.

Santos’s comments to The Drum indicate the company believes its advertising pledge could have a similarly powerful impact on consumer engagement to that of its sustainability efforts.

“If we can do this, it will be brilliant for Unilever, because consumers are going to connect with our brands in a much stronger way,”​ asserts Santos.

Unilever, however, is keen to stress it has not set a deadline for the full implementation of its unstereotyping programme across all of its brands.

In a couple of years’ time you may be seeing something different. We haven’t put a date for that and I don’t know when this is going to be all clear, but the commitment internally and with the partners that we have are 100%.”

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