Byravee Iyer
Jun 18, 2014

Inside Unilever's real-time command centre in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Unilever has set up a ‘command centre’ in its Singapore offices to monitor and adapt its digital capabilities.

Unilever's real-time command centre in Singapore
Unilever's real-time command centre in Singapore

The command centre features live content streams and data feeds, enabling more effective analysis of campaign performance. “The idea is to stay on top of what is happening today,” said Rahul Welde, Unilever’s vice-president of media. “It is a key enabler in our ‘Crafting Brands for Life’ approach—putting people first in whatever we do and unlocking the magic for our brands. It enables our marketers to respond with speed and leverage the changing nature of the digital world.”

Welde and the brand team at Unilever were inspired by their experience with the Dove Sketches campaign, which quickly became the most viral campaign of last year. “The idea was to create a repeatable model that maximises things like views and talkability but also ensures campaigns are more targeted,” Welde said. 

The hub is used by Unilever’s brand managers and its digital, creative, PR and media agencies. The tools and technologies are developed in conjunction with Mindshare and other leading social-media and technology companies including Google, Unruly Media, Millward Brown and Microsoft. Some of these include search, video, social video sharing analytics. The centre has content discovery suites, social-listening trackers and syndicated and proprietary research all in place. Updated information and metrics appear on large screens around the hub.

Welde is so enthusiastic about the new model that he would eventually like to replicate the technology and make it accessible on his teams’ desktops.

So far, Unilever has used the hub to work on a couple of campaigns. The first campaign to be planned, executed and optimized from the hub was for Lifebuoy's ‘Tree of Life’ ad. Agency teams and partners collaborated in real-time within the space and managed campaign parameters across multiple markets from Brazil to Indonesia and across various platforms. Within a week, the campaign garnered more than 9 million views. It was the first time the company ran an Indonesia campaign from Singapore. According to Welde, it helped the brand dynamically shift resources around. “Minor iterative adjustments could make a big difference,” he said.

Also recently, the hub saw action when Unilever rolled out a campaign to promote Cornetto's assocation with Taylor Swift ASEAN tour. 

“It’s changing the way teams are working,” said Roy Sudipto, Mindshare’s regional chief client officer for Asia-Pacific. The ‘Tree of Life’ campaign, for instance, saw both Mindshare and PHD work together to deploy the campaign. “The old way of working is redundant,” Sudipto added.


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