Cannes Lions 2024: Consumers are a brand’s muse: Unilever’s Esi Eggleston Bracey

Tapping into the full potential of ‘You’ was the focal point of a session held at Cannes Lions 2024 titled ‘You’ by Esi Eggleston Bracey, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Unilever

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Esi Eggleston Bracey

Esi Eggleston Bracey

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Cannes: In the adverse, it has always been an age-old concept to approach promotions with a customer-centric mindset. The ‘You’ in the world of advertising and marketing ranges wide and narrow between the thoughts, needs, wants, perspectives, untapped desires and often ignored cravings of the consumer. 

Tapping into the full potential of ‘You’ was the focal point of a session held at Cannes Lions 2024 titled ‘You’ by Esi Eggleston Bracey, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Unilever.

Unilever has been awarded the Creative Marketer of the year by Cannes, 2024. 

The ‘You’s of marketing

Bracey explained how a market strategy requires observation of the consumer and to elucidate the brand’s presence in their life. 

According to her, the first ‘you’ is the consumer, the brand’s muse. 

The second ‘you’ is the marketer. 

She added, “So when I say you, it has two meanings. People as the muse, and the creative marketer, who brings to life how everyone sees the world.”

Taking lessons on the ‘You’ concept of marketing

  1. Untapped need evaluation

Bracey sheds light on the fact that brands need to also take into account, consumer needs that may not be obvious on the surface, that may not be well articulated, or maybe the consumer can not pronounce it. 

She believes in the power of a bandwagon of campaigns that directly influence the consumer’s thought process.\

  1. Personal connect

Bracey made a special emphasis on making people ‘feel beautiful’ as it enhances their self-esteem and drives consumers to form a long-term experience oriented relationship with the brand.

According to her, utilising modern and empowered characters, makes campaigns create better business results – such as greater branded impact, enjoyment of ads, and relevance. 

Unilever’s research suggests that more progressive advertising has the potential to deliver 74% better brand power – a key measure of consumer attraction for brands. As per Unilever’s research with Kantar,  progressive ads deliver a 13% uplift in purchase intent and increase credibility by around a third.

You! Then what? 

Once brands have  narrowed down their focus on their consumers, what is step two? How do you approach award-winning content? 

  1. Consumer preference research

As per Bracey, brands need to research more on the first you, i.e, the consumer who uses the brand’s products every single day. 

By conducting extensive market research and consumer insights analysis, brands can identify emerging trends and adapt their products to consumers, accordingly. 

  1. Reaching the right person at the right moment, with the right message

Brands need to understand the importance of storytelling in marketing. Crafting new and compelling narratives around its brands helps create deeper connections with consumers that help the company gather user data and develop a superior understanding of consumer behaviour.

Bracey stressed upon the ability to evolve as marketers. She said, “We always need to be finding creative and relevant ways to engage with people to stand out and to be effortless to buy. Every moment is a creative moment and every moment is a commerce moment. Growth marketing starts with creativity, but it doesn't stop with inspiration. It connects to sales. We need short bursts of attention to build a brand.”

Sharing an interesting insight with the audience, Bracey said, “We only need 2.5 seconds to be exact to build mental availability and memory structure. Next, we need integrated media strategies to connect with people, the right person, the right message, and the right moment to earn the sale.”

  1. Patroning brand’s culture 

To engage the audience more effectively brands need to stay integrated with their own culture in a way that reflects people’s passion points as it creates long-term mental frameworks that give the customer a feeling of belongingness with the brand.

Expanding her thought, Bracey said, “When brands know what they stand for, when they find authentic and relevant ways to tap into people's passions and spark emotions, you build long-term memory structures and keep the brand. This deeply human approach applies to our brand propositions and also applies to our innovations.”

Getting the basics right is quintessential to marketing. Elaborating on that thought Bracey said, “I always say everything and nothing is changing in marketing. That means the fundamentals of marketing, understanding people through deep insights and crafting brands that meet their needs, won't change.”

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