Unilever’s Rahul Welde is not shy about being an advocate. As Vice President of Media for the company’s business region that spans Asia, Africa, Middle East and Turkey, he believes in applying non-traditional thinking to communications and media strategy. Not any easy task when considering Unilever’s portfolio of more than 400 brands—each with a strong presence in a majority of the world’s countries. The multinational giant also ranks among Asia-Pacific’s largest advertisers.
Rahul also serves as Regional Vice President of The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), and was instrumental in creating the organization’s Media & Marketing APAC Network two years ago. The project’s mission is to act as a regional voice for marketers as they tackle critical media-related issues in order to improve best industry practices. He explains, "These members-only sessions are designed to provide marketers with the chance to share their experiences, learn how to streamline their process and structures and benchmark their practices against those of their peers. It's an ideal way for marketers to learn."
His role at Unilever focuses on reshaping media strategy, planning and buying to meet the needs of today’s fast-changing landscape and driving this new agenda through a network of agencies and media partners. Rahul’s primary concern is delivering media effectiveness which he deems to be the result of encouraging innovation, setting strong cost management guidelines and constantly reviewing all analytics.
His WFA agenda also reflects the marketing challenges he faces on a daily basis within his region. Right now, he sees two of the major priorities for advertisers to be: 1. the challenges of developing truly integrated marketing campaigns in the face of ever expanding digital possibilities, and 2. the difficulties of measuring the ROI of marketing investments.
Sometimes the role of an advocate is also to be a critic. Rahul has also turned his attention to the current lack of reliable and transparent online audience measurement by underscoring the challenges this poses for major advertisers throughout the world, not just within the Asia-Pacific region. He stresses that while digital remains a top priority for the world’s biggest global marketers and will continue to attract marketing investment, he is calling for more reliable metrics to better demonstrate MROI or Marketing Return on Investment.
This year marks Rahul Welde 20th anniversary with Unilever. Prior to his current role, Rahul served as the Head of Media Services for Unilever South Asia. He joined consumer goods giant in 1991 after completing his MBA at India’s Symbiosis Institute of Business Management. Over the past two decades, he has taken on a variety of assignments for the packaged goods giant,ß including in such departments as Commercial, Sales and within the Corporate Center.