Unilever has realised that traditional advertising can only communicate a brand so much to so decreasing few consumers (especially in Asia) so it has invested heavily in online magazine formats to really connect with consumers, especially women. Unilever has created BeBeautiful.in to engage consumers.
The portal has become so popular in India that it has over taken traditional beauty and food magazines in ratings. Unilever has effectively become a media publisher.
The clever thing about the brand is that it does not promote its beauty products overtly, but clearly everyone knows that’s why the site exists. The brands are promoted subtly and contextually. However the site lives and dies on the compelling and very targeted content.
The online content portal was created as a result of research from online searches, which showed that people searched for items like 'What is the best hair care', 'Best oral care' and 'Best body and face care'. Consumers were shouting loudly and clearly that they needed help, guidance, information and advice on these needs.
Consumers expected brands to be able answer this question more than traditional magazines, and this inspired Unilever to create this compelling portal. The company now has the power over its consumers and rival brands’ consumers through content engagement. Plus, it doesn’t have to pay any media costs to do so.
The other key aspect to this clever bit of content engagement is that unlike facebook pages, Twitter pages, Instagram pages and Pinterest pages Unilever controls the data, not the social-network site. I have always wondered (and in fact wrote a blog about this years ago to ask) why brands spent so much money on marketing a rival media platform. Why does all the marketing creative say, go to my Facebook/Twitter page? You’re just handing your data to Facebook/Twitter to exploit and make money out of your consumers rather than you.
What Unilever has done ensures that it controls the data and therefore the entire CRM strategy around this data in relation to how these people interact with the content and ultimately how they engage with Unilever brands. This is a great example of how content marketing and data marketing work hand in hand more cost effectively than giving money to the publishers, where you have no control and you hand your data to rival publishers to exploit.
Unilever has also done something with Knorr around ”What’s for dinner” as a result of researching searches such as “what’s for dinner” and “how do I make curry”. The site is branded as Knorr, letting people know all the recipes require Knorr products, so it doesn’t work as well as the unbranded BeBeautiful brand. But nevertheless Unilever is leading with content and capturing data along the way.
Both of these content themes are also backed up with extensive content engagement. Knorr has almost 7 million fans on Facebook and BeBeautiful has over 400,000 facebook fans in India. The brand engagement continues with updates on these platforms too. All round, content really is king for Unilever.