Unilever marketing boss Keith Weed

FMCG has been considered the classic training ground for brand building for decades and despite competition from newer, perhaps more fast-paced industries such as tech, Unilever‘s chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed argues it is still a great sector for marketers to kick-start their careers.

In order to keep up with the pace of change and meet people’s needs, he says the consumer goods sector must continually push for greater dynamism from its marketing teams, making it an exciting training ground.

“I think the reason FMCG is still very engaging is that it is such a part of our daily lives. Every day 2.5 billion people use our products and so you’re either very right or very wrong, it’s a binary decision. I think that notion of you’re either 100% right or 100% wrong at that moment [of purchase] brings a dynamism into consumer goods,” says Weed, speaking to Marketing Week at the Cannes Lions Festival.

“This frequency of purchase means it’s a little bit like a heat-seeking missile. When a heat-seeking missile starts it is off target, so you ask ‘am I on target? No? Readjust’. A heat-seeking missile keeps going until it hits its target.”

A brand without trust is just a product, the difference between the two is trust.

Keith Weed, Unilever

The need to make continual adjustments to marketing in the FMCG sector is being driven by what Weed describes as a “whole layer” of digital, social media and influencer marketing. The influencer sector is, however, a space where Unilever is pushing for greater transparency in a bid to combat fraud, improve brands’ ability to measure ROI and track authentic engagement.

Yesterday (18 June), Unilever stated it would not work with influencers who buy followers, made a commitment that its brands would never buy followers and said that it would prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.

Weed is convening a group, including the World Federation of Advertisers and Instagram, while in Cannes to discuss how to drive increased trust, transparency and…