By Louise Marshall, Business Management degree student
On the 29th of January, we were given the opportunity to have an industry day at the Headquarters of Unilever, finding out about the marketing strategies Unilever use in order to fully engage with their audience and benefit people all over the world.
We had 8 speakers throughout the day, not forgetting to include the CEO of Unilever himself Paul Polman and our very own CEO of Pearson John Fallon. Having the opportunity to have 2 CEO’s in one room is very much a privilege, with both being incredibly influential and sharing similar views in wanting to create a change in society.
It was our first speaker, Marianne Schoenauer, who told us the story and history of Unilever that really inspired me. The first branded soap, Sunlight, was created by Unilever which made a huge impact on hygiene in Victorian England. Today Sunlight still exists, with Unilever having started the ‘sustainable living plan’ which helps communities across the world to improve their hygiene and health. What hit me most is that the simple act of having a bar of soap in order the help with hygiene should not have to be a luxury. It is a necessity. Unilever are changing this and I believe we need help end this problem.
We were also given the opportunity to pitch ideas in order to help reduce bathroom waste and improve recycling. This was given to us by Jeremy Basset who was the Unilever Foundry Director. The Foundry is an initiative set up by Unilever which allows startups to pitch ideas, and if they are successful they can become a reality. It showed us how Unilever want to help and encourage entrepreneurs who share similar beliefs to them and want to have a positive impact in the world.
Aside from the personalised ‘Pearson’ Marmite jars which everyone was delighted by, and the goody bag containing products from the brands under the Unilever name, everyone extremely enjoyed the day.
The main message that I took away from the day was how important it is to create a positive social impact, and that as young leaders ourselves we have the power to change what’s going on in the world.