Marc Mathieu often quotes Albert Einstein by reminding us that, "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." Not only is this an appropriate quotation for someone who is often credited with reinventing concepts of marketing for our times, but it demonstrates how Mr. Mathieu cares deeply about new ideas and new values.
As Senior Vice President of Marketing at Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch giant with claim to over 400 brands and the world's second-biggest advertising spender, he is responsible for the development of the company’s new global marketing strategy– “Crafting Brands for Life.” This is the industry's most comprehensive program for driving consumer-led growth that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. It also supports the company’s growth ambition of doubling the size of its business while simultaneously reducing its environmental impact. Unilever believes that its brands “play a major part in helping us achieve our sustainable living aims of helping more than a billion people improve their health and well-being; halving the environmental footprint of our products and sourcing 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.”
"Crafting Brands for Life" embeds sustainable living through a new marketing strategy. At the heart of this dramatic, large-scale project are two pivotal elements:
- It is not a "CSR" (Corporate Social Responsibility) program. In fact, Unilever dismantled their CSR department to demonstrate that "crafting brands for life" is not an "add on," but an essential part of the Unilever ethos.
- The marketing department needs to be the lead for sustainability. This may mean than an organization needs to be realigned, but it certainly requires an entirely new strategy to reinvent marketing that changes how people engage with brands.
Which brings us back to why Marc Mathieu quotes Einstein… In addition to making sustainable living commonplace, he is regularly talks about two other shifts dramatically affecting marketing. The first involves emerging and fast growth markets and the challenge of reaching new consumers with different needs, while the second is the impact of social media.
Prior to joining Unilever, Marc Mathieu spent 17 years of his career in marketing roles at Coca-Cola, including SVP Global Brand Marketing, in addition to earlier positions in Southeast Asia and Division President for France & Benelux. Marc is also a co-founder of the strategic branding consultancy, BeDo, and an advisor to the social commerce start up, We&Co. Marc started his career as a marketing director at Danone.