Industry Workshop at Unilever

PCL students at Unilever Industry Conference

Industry Workshop at Unilever

Recently we took our students to Unilever, where they spent the afternoon discussing contemporary marketing challenges with senior executives. Find out below how they got on from Harry, one of our Student Co-creators.

Friday afternoon and we arrive at the grand HQ of Unilever on Victoria Embankment. After a quick coffee the afternoon sped into action with a talk from Geoff McDonald, Global Vice President HR. Geoff outlined his perception of the global market as well as current trends. He then explained how Unliever’s strategy has been developed to respond to these factors. It was fascinating to hear how such a large corporation interprets the world and how their business is changing accordingly. I was particularly impressed by their approach to sustainability. They have set bold targets to have less impact on the environment and are developing new products that aid this.

Walter Susini – Vice President of Global Brands Creative Excellence, talked brilliantly on how different Unilever brands are developed and then marketed to customers. This has given me a great insight into top level innovative marketing and brand development ready for our marketing module in the New Year. We were then set the task of analysing a brand we loved and the reasons behind this, before explaining our analysis to the group.

Debbie Weinstein, Vice President of Global Media gave a talk on viral media and how Unilever have been using it strategically to promote some of their products. She then set us a competition in groups to design a marketing campaign with innovative use of media. We presented our ideas in groups of three to different judges, the winner of each went into a final where we presented to everyone (including Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, who just entered the room!). The winning team had a great idea, pitched it very well and were given the prize of dinner on Unilever! It was great to develop my teamwork and presenting skills during the exercise.

Paul Polman managed to take the time out of his busy schedule to give a few words at the end of the day. He was impressed with the presentations he saw and talked on the importance of Unilever’s investment in developing the business people of tomorrow.

The highlight of the day was having an insight into the latest strategies and business ideas of one of the most successful companies in the UK. This exposure is invaluable and keeps my assignments packed with fresh insights and current trends.

I think the practice and development of team work and presentation skills during the tasks we were set is really great preparation for graduate and internship selection days as these are exactly the sort of activities that are set. I’m sure I’ll be more confident and prepared as a result of this fantastic opportunity to learn with Unilever.