NEWS15 March 2016

The 10 Commandments according to Unilever’s Stan Sthanunathan

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UK - If traditional agencies are going to survive in a marketplace in which data is becoming increasingly democratised, then they need to adhere to some new rules, according to Unilever senior vice president, consumer and market insights Stan Sthanunathan.


Sthanunathan was talking during the opening keynote of the MRS’s annual conference, Impact 2016.

"Information is becoming increasingly democratised," he said. "What we have is incredible access to information. If we all think that information is going give us a competitive edge and we’re going to use it to become great, don’t think that’s the case. You can get answers to a lot of questions by searching on Google."

The theme of Sthanunathan’s presentation examined the seismic changes taking place in the world of technology and digital.

He suggested 10 Commandments that agencies and clients should pay heed to, in order to keep up with the pace of change. “Business as usual is not really not an option,” he said. “It really needs to be business as unusual.”

10 Commandments

  1. Get social or get ready to be branded anti-social. Mine the information gleaned from social media.
  2. Data is commoditised but insights are getting democratised – a Google consumer survey costs as little as £500
  3. Get visual or get impaired. Think how to bring insights to life using a fact-based, rather than fact-filled presentation.
  4. Innovate, don’t renovate. Renovating comes comes naturally because it’s easy. “But renovation in my way of thinking is more like polishing a turd,” Sthanunathan said.
  5. Become the master of metamorphosis – change on an ongoing basis, change every day.
  6. Digitise and humanise. Tame data.
  7. Think bi-polar.
  8. It’s too risky not to take risks. Be bolder than you have been traditionally
  9. Never underestimate the power of N=1 – brands are increasingly being influenced by people
  10. Real-time is the new currency, cutting the time lapse between asking the question and getting the answer

Sthanunathan also unveiled the launch of Paragon, a partnership involving research agencies, clients, NGOs, academics and government to pool micro and macro research to support the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Paragon has convened a steering committee comprising clients and agencies including Unilever, Coca-Cola,  Pepsi, Save the Children and Kantar.

At each session of the committee, three key questions aligned to the UN’s goals will be identified. 

“It’s about aligning to make that information available to everyone across the whole world, so we can take this information and improve the human condition,” Sthanunathan said.


1 Comment

8 years ago | 1 like

Delighted to say that ESOMAR is also a founding member of the PARAGON initiative.

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