Unilever has signed a new deal with mobile marketing company, Brandtone. Unilever will support Brandtone’s expansion into four new markets: India, China, Indonesia, and the US. Unilever will also build on the existing relationship with Brandtone in South Africa, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia and Turkey. Founding investor in Brandtone in 2010, Unilever Ventures has played an active role in its development and global expansion.
Unilever has signed a new deal with mobile marketing company, Brandtone, which will enable its brands to use the power of mobile and big data to build long-term one-to-one relationships with consumers, particularly in emerging markets, where mobile is a key tool to reach them – and to do so at scale.
As part of the deal, which was announced at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 event in New York last night, Unilever will support Brandtone’s expansion into four new markets: India, China, Indonesia, and the US. Unilever will also build on the existing relationship with Brandtone in South Africa, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia and Turkey.
Keith Weed, Unilever Chief Marketing Officer, explains: “Over half our turnover comes from emerging markets. Mobile provides a direct means of engagement with almost every consumer in those countries, and it is therefore absolutely critical for our brands’ growth.
“People are willing to share information about themselves in order to get more relevant advertising and offers. So the opportunity is there – if we do it correctly. We need to approach people with respect – maintaining trust and ensuring two-way dialogue. The work we do with Brandtone enables us to do exactly that. By building relationships with our consumers and adding something of value to them we can increase both purchase and brand loyalty” adds Weed.
Unilever has already run a number of very successful campaigns with Brandtone, including a promotion for OMO washing power in South Africa, which generated response rates of 30%, far above the industry average.
Donald Fitzmaurice, Co-founder and CEO, Brandtone, said: “This agreement takes our partnership with Unilever to a new level, and sees us partnering to open up key growth markets. There, we will continue to offer Unilever the means to responsibly and sustainably engage consumers in the most important developing and emerging markets. Our state-of-the-art technology platform, available globally through the cloud, with teams of highly experienced marketeers present in each market, allows us to achieve unparalleled results for our clients. We have already delivered some remarkable campaigns for Unilever brands in Russia, Brazil and South Africa, and we’re excited about taking this approach into the remaining BRICS – as well as other key growth markets – with their support.”
At the heart of Brandtone’s business model is meaningful value exchange; based on providing incentives, such as free mobile airtime, to reward consumers for interacting with brands and sharing information via their mobile phones. Campaigns to date have seen over 90% of consumers opt-in to further engagement, creating databases of profiled consumers that brands can build on-going relationships with. The campaigns devised by Brandtone are accessible to all consumers – using USSD (an interactive form of data messaging), SMS and IVR (voice message) technology – and are free-to-enter due to the company’s partnerships with the telco providers in each market. This provides an ideal channel for engagement in markets where mobile is the most reliable and widespread communication channel.
Founding investor in Brandtone in 2010, Unilever Ventures has played an active role in its development and global expansion to help brands to re-invent the way they do marketing via mobile.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7 out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily basis. We work with 173,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of over €50 billion in 2012. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in Q1 2013). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands such as Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s, Lux, Rama, Ponds and Axe, 14 of which now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.
Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined seven pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/.
Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2012 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan /Sustainability latest annual survey – both for the third year running. The company is an employer of choice in many of the countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and leadership development.
Brandtone is an international company that provides the means for the leading brands in fast-growing markets to conduct mobile marketing campaigns that increase sales, profile engaged consumers and build trusted brands. To date, Brandtone’s world leading clients include Unilever, SAB-Miller, Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Kraft and BP. The company now has operations in South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Kenya, Nigeria, India, China, Indonesia and the US.