LS International speaks with Joanna Allen, Global Vice President for Hellmann’s at Unilever on the importance of a diverse workforce for successful employee attraction and retention. Joanna discusses diversity and recruitment, exploring ‘gender and sexuality, but also diversity in terms of mental processing styles, kind of different strengths and different experiences from geographies.’
During the podcast, we speak with Joanna on the following points:
Working with diverse groups of people.
The effect diversity has had on recruitment.
Unilver promoting female leadership.
The biggest challenges for business over the next 5 years.
Lauren: Hi I'm Lauren Stiebing and welcome to this episode of the career success podcast. Today we'll be joined by Joanna Allen, the global vice president for Hellmann’s at Unilever. Joanna is an instinctive marketer who relishes a challenge and who performs best under pressure to deliver transformational impact. She has a high capacity to learn which provides her with a foundation for crafting a compelling vision for the future. With a breadth of experience and food and beverages as a global and local marketer, Joanna thrives in environments that foster diversity of perspective and demand high levels of productivity. Welcome Joanna.Joanna: Thanks Lauren, great to be speaking with you today.Lauren: Thank you for joining us. So basically, having worked across multiple markets globally, working with diverse groups of people is something that you must know very well. What are some of the benefits that this has had on your career?Joanna: Yeah, so certainly in roles that I've had both at Coke and Unilever, I've had the opportunity to work in roles with global scope and through this have got the privilege of partnering with an incredibly quite diverse group of marketers from developed and emerging markets, addressing quite distinct challenges and that diversity of perspective is something I've realized that I've appreciated as far back in fact when I was studying my degree at London School of Economics. That's one of the UK's geographically most diverse Universities. So, I certainly had an appreciation for it for a long time. I think from my personal career it's really made me appreciate more I would say matrix style career paths rather than kind of hierarchical ones. And so for each role I've considered as I've developed through my Career, I've always ask the question what new learning experience does this present and then what kind of unique experiences or capabilities do I bring that will add a kind a differentiated value to the role versus potentially the other candidates.Lauren: And has this had any effect on your recruitment strategy at all?Joanna: For sure. Earlier this week actually I was reading Wendy Clark’s article in campaign ahead of her chairing the Glass Lions jury at Cannes and she talked about nurturing mosaic teams and that was something that really resonated with me; with my own approach. And as I think about the team's I’ve lead, I've had the opportunity to recruit and work with talented marketers who represent diversity across so many dimensions. And of course gender and sexuality but also diversity in terms of mental processing styles, kind of different strengths and different experiences from geographies. I think it's easy to recruit people based on kind of natural affinity.Lauren: Sure Joanna: But I think I would challenge a team that all kind of thinks the same way or operates the same way to really deliver transformational business ideas as they kind of say “you need a bit of grit to form a pile”. I'm a big believer in terms of actually some of that diversity can really challenge a team and make it operate at a high level.Lauren: Sure and I know Unilever is the company that highly promotes female leaders. How do you think other companies can continue to bring diverse initiate to the forefront?Joanna: Yeah! It certainly is and I think under Aline Santos’ leadership there’s a really strong diversity and inclusion agenda at Unilever. I think two things stand out for me when I think about the actions that other companies can take to drive the diversity agenda. I think the first is around ensuring an active mentoring program. It doesn't have to be a formal program but I think somewhere that is encouraged. If you think about the role that you can play in an organization of helping somebody reach greater heights. I think I'd say that's one of the most powerful contributions a leader can make. The second thing that I think is really important is shining a spotlight on the role models. I think there's enormous value if you can identify with someone who's forged a path similar to one that you want to take. And whilst we all aspire to be pioneers sometimes is easier if you've seen someone tread that path in front of you. I think that's easier for some organizations or even within organization, some functions more than others but I think if you don't have the opportunity to showcase great female talent internally, there is always the opportunity to show that talent outside of your organization. I think that the time now is for action rather than just talking and so I would encourage organizations to take those first even small steps today rather than considering you know talking and acting less.Lauren: Sure. I know as well you know even from managers or mentors you know more senior people that you're working with it's always good to get some feedback. I wanted to ask is well what is the best feedback you ever been give?Joanna: Interestingly as I think about the best piece of feedback I've received it's not coming from a colleague or a boss in the work environment. It actually came from a medical professional Lauren: OkayJoanna: So, if you'll indulge me a little, when my son was born, he was born with a limb deficiency essentially he’s missing a hand on one of his arms and that was discovered quite early on in my pregnancy and so obviously we sort out a team to make sure that we have the right support for James once he was born. There was an amazing professional called Dr. Colleen Coulter who shared with me that I would be amazed at how adaptable James would be with what we felt was a quite a significant challenge. So I think, I mean, it certainly helps he's a very determined little boy, but as I went through that experience actually it challenged my leadership style at work as well. I really try to coach more rather than direct my teams. I’m an absolute advocate of teams asking for forgiveness rather than permission, and then, from a personal perspective, I think in the face of constraint or challenge I think about how I can be adaptable to a situation, rather than just get frustrated so we can always learn a ton of things from our kids and sometimes the teams that support them as well.Lauren: Yeah, that's great. Well, as well let’s shift a bit just to discuss the FMCG food industry. I wanted to ask as well, what are the biggest challenges that your business will face in the next five years.Joanna: Yeah, I think it's a challenge that is not unique to foods but in many respects food because food culture as in so much at the forefront of culture I think it's a challenge that is facing foods as much as anybody else.Lauren: Okay.Joanna: I think it's the opportunity and the challenge that comes from mass segmentation. And so whether that's about how we reach out and engage with our consumers, or say that the fragmentation of channels that consumers can purchase our products or even kind of the opportunities as we understand more about DNA for micro personalization. I think this is demanding a massive transformation of how people do business. And arguably that's tougher, it’s a tougher challenge on the more largest established companies I think, than sometimes it is of the small local businesses.As I said it's a challenge but I think it's also an opportunity and I think the benefit of working with a very sort of future facing organization like Unilever is that everyone recognizes the need for change.Lauren: Sure Joanna: And so, you know, just a couple of examples I think of how we are already kind of responding to that challenge, you know, because I look at How come we’re challenging ourselves to make sure our brands a fit for purpose within the eComm channel.Lauren: Okay Joanna: Adopting platforms like Celtra or Google's Vogon platform which are now enabling you know mass customization of relatively simple pieces of content that can then be deployed from a programmatic media perspective. So, I think it's certainly a challenge. I think that they were taking some of the steps to make sure as a business that we’re fit for the future but certainly one that will transform what our organization looks like and many organizations over the next five years.Lauren: Sure. And, I mean, there's a lot of discussion as well around the political state at this moment globally we've entered into a new age of political extremism. Do you think businesses can be a bigger force for good in society?Joanna: Absolutely. And frankly, it's one of the many reasons I joined Unilever, it’s one of the many reasons many people join Unilever. From its very foundation Unilever is a business that talks about value and values, so the perspective that we can have this kind of compounding growth model that benefits all stakeholders not just investors. I think in the context of political extremism, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with the Edelman team who led the trust barometer and there some great information about that online even if you don't what with the Edelman team directly and I think it was really interesting to see that, you know, in the context of the political situation that we're all operating in you know in business actually is secondary to NGO’s in terms of levels of trust. While government continues to kind of be really significantly challenged, it’s exacerbated.I think that the new context that were operating in, certainly something that people have been a lot of dialogue over and that in the last year is this sort a notion of the echo chamber where some would argue that facts matter less, that opinions become self-reinforcing. And there was an interesting piece within the trust barometer that talked about search engines. Arguably, even with their own biases, they are better at curating news than human editors. And so I think, you know, the challenge particularly for Brand marketers in that kind of new phenomenon of an echo chamber: actually, how do you connect with consumers? How do you penetrate that echo chamber?Lauren: Sure!Joanna: I think we’re just at the beginning of understanding the role that Influencers can play because often, actually, if you have shared values they can be a better forum for sharing your point of view than necessarily even hearing it directly from a brand. And I think you see that in food as much as you see that in any other category where the role of the micro blogger, the food blogger, the role of mum’s forums can be, actually, an incredibly powerful asset within your marketing campaigns beyond kind of the more traditional routes to engage in with consumers.Lauren: Sure! Joanna all your input has been very insightful and I'm sure our listeners have really enjoyed it so thank you so much.Joanna: It's been a pleasure, thanks for the time.Lauren : And thanks to all of our listeners for joining us on this episode of the Career Success Podcast.
For most people, having to negotiate probably ranks right up there with undergoing a root canal procedure or even public speaking. And yet, we all face many instances in both our professional and personal lives where we have to negotiate. M&A deals, supplier contracts, agreeing merchandising displays at retail stores are all business activities that involve extensive negotiation. But so too does asking for a raise or promotion. Persuading one’s child to go to bed on time or trying to get the salesman at the used car dealership to agree to a lower price are also examples of “negotiation”.
Despite the all-pervasive nature of negotiations, the process is something few of us enjoy. This is because some of us are not assertive enough and are unable to articulate our expectations and position firmly. In some cases, the two parties are not clear about what each of them values in a given situation and thus, what each is willing to give up to get what they value. In certain cultural settings, age and hierarchy also deter effective negotiations.
As Minerva Acevedo says in the LS International Career Success podcast, “negotiations may seem like an intimidating process because our egos get in the way and we let our emotions get involved. We tend to associate negotiations with being fair or about compromise when it really depends on the specific situation and how well we can control the process in order to achieve the outcome we desire. It's not really necessarily about winning”.
At its heart, successful negotiating is about giving to get; therefore, what matters is what each side gives up and what it gets in return. Negotiation is more art than science, as it involves other human beings, their egos and emotions in addition to more tangible gives and takes. The good news is that it is possible to acquire the skills needed to be an effective negotiator. Listed below are practical tips designed to improve one’s ability to negotiate and to also help move the other party along in the direction of a possible agreement. While some of the tips focus on the preparation, others are intended to guide one’s behaviour and actions during negotiations.
Do not view a negotiation as a conflict- it is in fact a process to narrow down differences and converge on common ground. All negotiations need not be inherently “zero-sum” in nature (meaning that one side loses all while the other wins everything). View negotiations instead as a way to ensure that both sides get what they respectively value more in the given situation.
Learn to separate person from the offer or counter-offer. We often view the offer made by the other side as inseparable from the person making the offer. This makes it easy to bring our biases, prejudices and personal dislikes into the negotiation process. In turn, this clouds our ability to assess the merits and demerits of the offer/counter-offer and respond meaningfully.
The key to negotiating successfully is to plan well. Give enough thought to what your side values and is ready to give up. But also try and anticipate what the other side values so that you can identify possible trade-offs that could become concessions that the parties agree to.
A seasoned negotiator is necessarily a consummate listener who picks up verbal and non-verbal cues to get a sense of what the other side values and what they might be willing to potentially give up. This information is critical to create new pathways and move forward, when what one has planned and practised is leading to deadlock. This is like a playmaker in a football game creating openings and pushing forward.
Understand that the other side may have different expectations than you in terms of the targeted outcomes. For instance, one side may be looking at maximizing prices (the supplier), while the other (customer) may be concerned about timely supplies, material quality and overall reliability- in addition to reasonable prices. Ms. Acevedo is bang on target when she says in the podcast “…negotiating is about maximizing value and involves a lot of planning, research, questioning, listening for what’s being said but also to what's not being said in order to have better control of the outcome”.
Often, we are afraid of putting our proposal on the table first, and we wait for the other side to make their move. Do not be afraid to be the first to articulate your expectations and proposals clearly. You get the first-mover advantage because you force the other side to respond to what you have offered. At the very least, you will get more time to discuss it thoroughly. But make sure you have thought through it beforehand.
During the negotiations, tempers may rise. Seasoned negotiators do not lose their cool; instead, they use the other side’s emotions to their own advantage. It is tennis season- so think of it as “unforced errors”.
There are instances where an apparent impasse is reached during negotiations just because the parties are unable to differentiate between their “interests” and “positions”. This results in people sticking to positions and in the process, losing sight of their interests.
Frame your proposals in ways that highlight what you believe the other side values. Your research will help you identify this in advance of the actual negotiations. This signals that you are thinking about the other side’s interests and helps making the other party more receptive. If possible, simulate negotiation sessions with your team members (some of them play the other party)- that can harness the creative diversity of the team and may give you new insights.
Sometimes, agreeing to met again after a few days to continue discussions and negotiations is itself a significant win- for both sides. It allows you to consult with your colleagues and bosses and re-evaluate your trade-offs and outcome expectations based on the information you have gleaned during the earlier meeting.
Be realistic about possible outcomes. There may be situations where what one side is asking for is simply not doable by the other due to reasons of law, policy, ethics/morality or even financial considerations. If you encounter non-negotiable trade-offs, be prepared to walk away. But remember that both sides are there to reach agreement- so chances are that the journey will continue after a break. Use every interaction to create a more robust picture of the other side’s preferred negotiation style, what they value, what trade-offs they are open to etc.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is this: overcome your fear of negotiations; the more you operate from fear, the greater the risk that you will give up more than you would have liked to simply because your fear will cloud your judgement and trigger reactions such as anger and obstinacy- the arch enemies of successful negotiations.
I hope you find the above tips useful as you negotiate in your professional and personal lives. Happy negotiating!
The global cosmetics market in 2017 was valued at over US$532 billion. This large market, which includes products for the likes of hair care, skin care, oral care, color cosmetics, fragrances, soaps and shower gels etc. is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 7% in the next five years.
Historically, this market has been dominated by large players with well-known brands such as L’Oreal, Coty, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden... but like in most other consumer markets, the winds of change are blowing in the beauty products market too. The following trends are especially noteworthy in terms of their impact on the future of this business and how players must respond, as they impact both the demand and supply sides of this industry:
Baby Boomers and Generation X consumers are being supplanted by millennials and Generation Z
Growing move away from synthetic chemical-based products to those made from natural ingredients
Rapid growth outside western markets, especially in countries like China
Ready capacity for outsourced manufacturing is available in North America, Europe and Asia
Outsourced R&D of cosmetics and beauty products is now far easier than before
Convergence of channels to enhance experience
Digital technologies are making it easier for sellers to connect with and sell to consumers and prospective consumers
Social media is playing a key role in influencing first-time product users.
The most disruptive outcome arising from the combination of the above trends is the rise of the so-called “indie” players in the beauty products industry. These are typically new companies or brands, “independent” of large existing players.
What makes “indies” successful?
Given their newness, indies are in a good position to be able to take advantage of trends at every stage of the value chain.
Target market: Customers from Gen Z are digital natives. They rely on input and opinions of peers rather than brand recall or advertising. In the LS International Career Success Podcast, Gianni Pieraccioni, experienced Board-level executive with decades of experience in the consumer products space makes prescient observations about Gen Z, which accounts for a major chunk of first-time users. He says “These are people who either reject or do not know the brands of their mothers… they are the selfie generation… and they really are very much individualistic consumers”. He further adds, “They don’t look for brands… they see products rather than brands and jump from one to another in a perennial search…”.
Indies are able to come out with new products and because the loyalty to brands is rapidly decreasing in a key segment of the market, they can target that segment very effectively. And because this segment has both the money and the willingness to spend, it represents an ideal niche for up-and-coming indies.
Reduced time-to-market: By outsourcing R&D as well as manufacturing, indies are able to compress the time needed to launch new products or target new geographies. In addition to not having to lock up capital in fixed assets like manufacturing facilities or invest in in-house R&D, indies have the flexibility to capitalize on unique opportunities- for example, categories with shorter life cycles. These drive revenue and cashflows, while also creating brand awareness.
And because indies have outsourced manufacturing arrangements, they can scale up or scale down quantities more quickly. By tying up with manufacturers who have excess capacity around the globe, indies can also focus on reducing logistics costs, thus being able to benefit from the ability to reduce prices or gain from higher bottom-lines.
Marketing: Online sales eliminate the need for indies to invest heavily in their own stores. To take advantage of merchandising opportunities in brick and mortar stores, they can tie up with companies like Ulta, the US-based beauty product chain that offers superior customer experience by converging channels. In the above-mentioned LS International podcast, Mr. Pieraccioni explains how Ulta is making a difference. “You enter a store and you have mass-market products, prestige products and professional products… and the reason why they can offer all three categories and overcome the idiosyncrasies of the channels and the exclusivity of the channels is because they also offer services in store. They offer skin care services, makeup services and a full salon for hair color, hair care. So, by doing this, they are basically creating an experience for the consumer…the consumer is allowed to have access to every kind of product from every kind of channel in one place.”
Using social media channels to create demand is now very much a reality. For example, the US brand Glossier (which already has a cult following) was launched on Instagram; its website came much later. Glossier’s products were developed based on interviews conducted by founder Emily Weiss, a former beauty editor with Intothegloss.com. As Glossier’s web site informs visitors, Ms. Weiss “wanted to make beauty as much of an element of personal style as fashion” and that “Personal choice is the most important decision a brand can never make”. This fits perfectly with the highly individualistic style that a growing number of younger generation consumers are- irrespective of whether their gender and location.
Marketing as a business function has been one of the earliest to acknowledge the power of digital media and social media to influence target segments. Over time, technologies have made it easier to profile individual preferences and tastes with such finesse that customers are sent digital marketing communications based on evidence of their interest. In this knowledge-powered economy where there is greater propensity to consume video than pages of text-based copy, informed vloggers (video bloggers) are emerging as a powerful set of influencers, especially in the beauty products industry. Beauty bloggers like Zoella, Tanya Burr and others have millions of followers across channels like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. In a recent blog, beauty blogger Sophie Bianchi writes that in her opinion, “beauty vloggers are influential due to their likability, similarity to viewers, physical attractiveness, expertise and trustworthiness”.
The emergence of beauty bloggers as influencers is a huge change from times when celebrities were used as brand ambassadors. Another reason why the venerated habit of celebrities endorsing beauty products started losing its sheen was because technology allowed images to be doctored to make models look perfect. So people like you and me, who were supposed to be influenced by advertisements featuring “flawless” models, started becoming sceptical. In combination with other reasons listed earlier, loyalty to brands started to erode.
Digital technology is making it even easier for consumers to purchase online. Mr. Pieraccioni points to how in China, consumers can already purchase directly from social media platforms, without separately having to visit company websites or ecommerce portals. Such capabilities give indies tremendous opportunity to leapfrog more-established competitors with much larger advertising budgets.
If the above sounds like huge change for the industry, it’s because it is! Indies need talent that understands the brick-and-mortar aspects of this business, while traditional players need talent that can shake up ossified, conventional ways of thinking and infuse agility, innovation and technology-enabled transformation so that they too can remain relevant in the emerging landscape. And of course, established players willing to acquire indies need experienced talent for deal-making and integrating the acquired company with the acquiror.
PS: Men use beauty products too and the range of products they are willing to try is only growing. So right there’s another box you have to think outside of! https://www.reuters.com/brandfeatures/venture-capital/article?id=30351https://www.glossier.com/abouthttps://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sophie-bianchi/beauty-bloggers-zoella_b_11566248.html?guccounter=1https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/mar/08/glam-or-sham-are-youtubes-beauty-vloggers-selling-out
The FIFA World Cup has started on and the sponsorship circus is on. When brands try to get traction from their partnership with the elite football teams and the World Premium Football competition we can question the future of sponsorship in the new digital era.
A long time ago, when Gen Z’s parents just graduated, i.e. approximately 25 years ago, sponsorship was all about putting brand names on panel boards around the football pitch and on team jerseys. The objective was to raise brand awareness in a gamble that the TV audience will help recognise and memorize the name and/or logo.
Sport Marketing Sales agencies have continued to flourish by selling to medium-sized-wannabe-big companies the opportunity to have their name around the pitch of a national or European matches or other sporting events, comparing real advertising time with hazardous visibility raising more internal C-suite pride than consumer intention to buy. When it comes for big or major events, on site visibility has moved from prime argument for partnering to must-have but not-enough-to-have, a somewhat reinsurance for the potential sponsors.
The measurement of the so-called TV exposure is still a golden standard as a KPI and the bread and butter of some research companies in the sports industry, without demonstrating the impact of the sponsorship as delivering big numbers in terms of equivalent advertising’s time and valuation, which doesn’t provide any insight about the performance of the brand among the main target audience of the corporate sponsors.
With premium right holders driving the most of their revenue from broadcasters with a correlated effect to push the matches’ broadcasts from free to air TV to pay TV with sometimes very narrow audience, the power of the brands as event sponsors is shrinking and the potential influence of the TV brand exposure is a less and less sustainable argument. Although TV is still king in terms of media consumption for sporting events, sport is going digital and social. The youngest audience and young adults have been shifting from TV to digital devices – the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio have been the turning point and the FIFA World Cup 2014 suffered from a decline of TV audience of the youths for the first time ever due to a transfer of viewing to digital devices (Laptop, mobiles, tablets). The digital landscape has currently no recognised measurement standard similar to what exists for TV, which brings more uncertainty about the understanding of the impact for sponsors.
Mc Kinsey already pointed out in 2014: “Sponsorships have become an integral component of marketing strategy. Yet many companies still do not effectively quantify the impact of these expenditures, even for events requiring significant spending such as the World Cup. A systematic commitment to a menu of analytic approaches allows executives to identify sponsorships that create value as well as those that don’t live up to their names.”
Disrupting the sponsorship approach is now mandatory to hit brands’ objectives as it’s more
and more is all about consumer engagement, impact and return on investment.
Brands should focus on 5 key rules to get more impact and traction and none of them is about brand exposure during the games.
Exclusive territory of expression vs. exclusivity of product category: so far Coca Cola gets the exclusivity of communication for the product category soft drinks and water for the main contracts. Now to raise the interest of the consumers, brands should define a territory allowing them to demonstrate what they bring to them and their community. The territory can be shared with several corporate brands as long as the consumers get the message: sustainability can apply to energy carrier, water supplier, waste management company… It’s all about a convincing and acute story telling towards the company main target audience.
Exclusive contents vs. “same right for the same category of sponsors” policy. Since the late 80’s, sponsoring packages were the same among the sponsors of a set level. Now each brand needs to offer a unique experience to their customers and consumers to differentiate from their competitors and deliver a strong advantage against those which are not official sponsors and use the theme. This implies as well that the right holders (for example an International Sports Federation) carve out some media rights to allocate them to their sponsors such as behind the scenes stories, athletes’ preparation … We have all seen during the last winter Olympics athletes sharing directly on their social media depriving the sponsors from potential activation.
Preferred access to data and analytics. Very few organisations are able to nail down all their data in a same place (for example ticketing buyers, merchandising consumers, audience). So far the ticketing data of the last Olympics or FIFA World Cup don’t belong to their respective international organisation, preventing to share with their international sponsors a clear picture of the fans. Sponsors should access data and connect them with the own ones to elaborate sophisticated and efficient activation’s plan.
Co-creation of unique assets. One of the privileges of an official sponsor is to use and print the logo of the sponsored event or organisation on products. Millions of Coca Cola bottles have been carrying the logo of the FIFA World Cup, for example, all over the world. This doesn’t deliver any advantage neither to customers nor the company itself as such. Sponsorship will move to strategic alliances allowing the co-creation of new products and new services with a revenue sharing scheme for a mutual benefit of the right holders (more potential revenues if the strategy is correctly defined and implemented), the corporate company (more profit if the offer is very attractive and unique vs the competition or money saving if the sponsorship doesn’t prove to be successful), the consumers (better engagement with the co-branded product or service).
Definition of sponsorship purpose. A sponsorship deal is usually contracted for a set period of time and the corporate company is focusing on getting a return of investment during this set period of time. The subject of legacy is more and more of importance for the companies’ shareholders, staff and consumers. What should the sponsor achieve to make its world sustainably better? This element is now crucial for companies willing to partner with mega events such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup