Purpose 360

Nurturing a Life-Changing Brand with Unilever's Kathleen Dunlop

Episode Summary

How do you find your brand’s super power? Kathleen Dunlop, Global Brand VP at Unilever, shares the story behind Vaseline’s transformation from a simple medicine cabinet staple to a life-changing tool for refugees, people living in conflict zones, and those affected by natural disasters. Dunlop talks about the insights that lead to the Healing Project, and how the Vaseline brand fits into Unilever’s expanding Sustainable Living products portfolio.

Episode Notes

With a mandate to “do good” from one of the world’s largest companies, the team behind the Vaseline brand set out to find their eponymous product’s super power. Kathleen Dunlop, Global Brand VP at Unilever, joins Carol to explore the conversations, insights, and “aha” moments that took “The Healing Power of Vaseline” into conflict zones, refugee camps, and community health centers to provide potentially life-saving wound protection.

Unilever has long been the bellwether of purpose-driven brands. The company’s 360-degree Sustainable Living Plan acts as a guiding framework for the company’s operations, product development, go-to-market strategies, communications, and growth. Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, mandates that all billion-dollar brands must now embrace a social mission. This visionary strategy has paid off tremendously: in 2017, Sustainable Living brands returned 70% of overall turnover growth for Unilever.

While brands like Ben & Jerry’s have a legacy as mission-driven organizations, and Dove has the now well-known Campaign for Real Beauty, finding Vaseline’s social purpose took some soul searching. As a product that touches the skin of hundreds of millions of people each day, Dunlop and her team understood the need to imbue Vaseline with a focused, meaningful, and exponentially impactful social purpose.

Listen in to hear about that journey – from roundtable conversations to bringing Vaseline Healing Project to Life.