NEWS10 March 2015

Sthanunathan urges companies to think of people not consumers

News UK

UK — Unilever’s senior vice-president, consumer and market, Stan Sthanunathan has said that for brands to truly understand their market they must consider people as human beings rather than just consumers.


In an interview with the Market Research Society, of which he is a patron, Sthanunathan, said: “At Unilever we have a very simple approach to marketing – called crafting brands for life. The words are chosen very carefully; if you craft for life then you need to really understand what their lives are about.

“So we all need to understand people insights as opposed to consumer insights – there’s a big difference between the two. If I go for consumer insights, I’m going at the point consumption is happening, but people are people the rest of the time. You are a consumer of products for maybe two to three hours a day. But the balance of time you’re living as human beings; as a person with hopes, anxieties, aspirations and so on.

“If you don’t understand these things, the ability to craft brands which last a lifetime is going to become really constrained.”

He also talked of the changing nature of the business since the 2008 economic downturn and how the competitive pressures on agencies has never been more intense.

“We should be having conversations on how should we grow, as opposed to whether we have the right data or not. The conversations around data are conversations around the gutter. We need to elevate the conversation and take it up to a level where we say what are we going to do with that data – that should be the focus for us.”

For the full interview go here.


1 Comment

9 years ago

Excellent and timely sentiment, Stan. I first heard this expressed at a Coca-Cola conference in Atlanta in 2006 and I liked it so much I wrote about it myself a while back... Love your work!

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