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Unilever: The future is a #HeadofU

Unilever: The future is a #HeadofU

Have you heard about the #HeadofU campaign? It is the influencer campaign we launched with Unilever to reach more young talent from ethnically diverse backgrounds for their Future Leaders Programme. Their motto is ‘A better business. A better world. A better you’, and this is more than a slogan. Unilever actively works on becoming a better company every day, and that is the right attitude to achieve great results. Ready to discover what happened?

Invest in the future, but make it inclusive

Unilever is a big brand with big ambitions for the future. The company believes the only way forward is with a diverse workforce, where every individual contributes with their talents and  various perspectives add value to the future they are building. That’s why they continuously invest in the next generations of employees with their Future Leaders Programme (UFLP), a traineeship for ambitious youngsters with a Masters’ Degree. Within three years, it allows participants to acquire a managerial position within sales, marketing, supply chain, or another domain. A hugely successful program, but Unilever noticed a lack of diversity within the participants. The goal of the #HeadofU campaign was therefore clear: encourage more diverse candidates to apply to the UFLP.

Doing research is a job half done

When a client asks for our help, we always start by examining their specific situation. This case was not any different. With the help of a researcher, we analyzed why Unilever did not reach a more diverse group of candidates. We organized focus groups with young people from an ethnically diverse background and with people with a similar background who already work at Unilever. It turned out that young people from an ethnically diverse background did not feel represented at Unilever.  This lack of representation is something the company is already working on internally, so the #HeadofU campaign was an opportunity to also communicate this to the outside world. 

Our next job was developing an authentic strategy to attract a more diverse group of young people. Instead of explicitly targeting culturally diverse candidates, we looked for an inclusive insight that speaks to young employees in general. We did not have to look far. The current generation is very purpose-driven: they feel the need to make a difference in the world. Sometimes by taking their ideas to the streets, for example, with the climate protests, but also through their (future) job. Unilever is all about values and purpose. With their motto ‘A better business. A better world. A better you.’ we knew we would be able to create something truthful that speaks to young people, regardless of their background. All that was left for us to do, was figuring out how we would expand Unilevers’ reach to a more diverse audience.

Representation matters

Actions speak louder than words. That is why we selected three diverse influencers to participate in this campaign, and share the process and results through their own social media channels. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s leaders, so it was important to show the difference these young influencers can make. We matched them with a Unilever brand that aligns with their values, and we asked them to think of a project to improve that brand. The projects they came up with resonate with themes that are important to a lot of young people today: mental health, representation, body positivity. The influencers then worked together with actual employees of the brand to come up with a case. To engage the audience, we turned it into a competition: only one idea would be executed, and the audience could decide which one. This way, we encouraged the audience to evaluate the different ideas, and, hopefully, to realize they could also come up with a great idea to change Unilever – and the world – for the better.

Doing things right pays off

Hope is one thing, but results are important too. Speaking of which: the #HeadofU campaign reached 270,013 unique viewers, the content received 279,265 impressions, and the UFLP-website’s views increased by 9.14%. We cannot analyze actual applications for the UFL-programme due to privacy reasons, but our analysis of reactions to social content indicates that we reached a lot of young people from the target audience. And last but not least, Unilever is realizing one of the ideas from the influencers. In conclusion, this campaign was not just about numbers, but also about taking another step towards a better future. It is the only right way to go.

Ready to make a difference yourself? Get in touch.


Written by

Carlien Coppieters

Carlien is seriously involved with finding the right words. A fairly essential quality, as a copywriter. But when it comes to describing herself, chances are she’ll get stuck at ‘professional dad joke-maker’. Thank goodness she gets to write about other things at Allyens!
9 April 2021

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