Unilever's 'Power Brands' Strategy

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG263
Case Length : 09 Pages
Period : 1999-2006
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Unilever
Industry : FMCG
Countries : UK; Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Brand-building is like a relationship; you need to work at it all the time, it just doesn't float along. If you're not constantly working at it, seeking to understand what the other side in the relationship wants and thinks, that relationship will disappear."1

- Sir Niall FitzGerald, Co-Chairman, Unilever, November, 2002.

"Unilever plans to continue following its current strategy of playing off customer preferences for a good deal over a prestigious brand."2

- Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, April, 2010.


In the late 1990s, fast-moving consumer goods company, Unilever with 1600 brands, found itself under tremendous pressure to find a balance between size and growth. Over the years, the company had grown significantly in size and it had begun to face a marketing attack from small, more agile companies.

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

Unilever also faced threats from the increasing power of retailers, brand proliferation activities, and decreasing concentration on more profitable customers.

In September 1999, the then co-chairman of the Unilever Group, Sir Niall FitzGerald (FitzGerald), initiated a five-year growth plan called the 'Path to Growth' strategy. An important part of that growth plan was the 'Power Brands' strategy...

Excerpts >>

1] Amanda Hall, "Unilever's Brand Guardian", Supplement, Campaign (UK), November 22, 2002.
2] Toby Sterling, "Unilever Reports 33 Percent Rise in Q1 Profit", Bloomberg, The Associated Press, April 29, 2010.

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