How Unilever engages consumers through events

With 34 labels under its belt, events are essential for Unilever to attract and engage consumers.

An event “hook” is essential for all its events, Susanne Arfelt Rajamand (pictured), head of marketing for Unilever Singapore told Marketing Events in a recent interview. While the company does not allocate a huge budget to events, it is importance to drive consumer engagement, she added.

For the Ben & Jerry’s brand, its strategy is to always drive relevance among its target consumers as well as reinforce brand advocacy. During the recent Ben & Jerry’s Chunkfest, an annual ice cream festival held in Singapore, it introduced fun carnival games and live music for the event.

As a result of this event, the brand saw an increase in social media engagement. For instance, Facebook posts about the event reached a total of 957,956 people. The posts related to Chunkfest received 1.4 million impressions from both fans of the Facebook fan page and non-fans as well. This was in part boosted by paid media on Facebook.

Through its events, Ben & Jerry’s also pushes a social cause of going green.

For instance, during the annual Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, besides giving out free ice cream cones, the brand ensured that it supported social missions such as Earth Hour. It turned off part of its store lights during Earth Hour 2011 and it has also sponsored 5,000 mini cups towards the World Wildlife Fund’s Official Earth Hour Party to aid fundraising efforts.

For the Dove brand, the aim is to provide small scale/intimate events for event-goers and building up the confidence level of women. For instance, Dove has provided teaching workshops, such as the Dove Self-Esteem Project to help girls aged 8-17 years to build a positive relationship with beauty.  The programme educates young people to feel confident about their appearance and build their self-esteem so that they can reach their full potential.

This project is part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan to improve the health and well-being of 1 billion lives by 2020. The Dove Self-Esteem Project targets to reach 15 million young people with self-esteem education by 2015. By the end of 2012, over 11 million girls had been reached out to by the brand.

For Magnum, the brand is targeted at reaching out to the wild and flamboyant side of consumers. It is also targeted at the females aged 25-35. For instance, it held a Magnum Pink and Black event earlier in July this year to introduce the brand's two new flavours, the Magnum Pink and the Magnum Black, as well as to announce the opening of the Magnum Singapore Pleasure Store, a pop-up store.

It saw more than 400 people turn up for the event across media, bloggers and celebrities, including 40 Twitter and Facebook fans as well as corporate and trade partners.

Following the event, there was a marked increase in Twitter and Instagram activity for Magnum. Posts on both platforms reached around 800,000 users since the start of the campaign. On the event night and the subsequent weekend, there was also a spike in activity on the Magnum Singapore Facebook page and a large number of fan gains.

Search volumes and conversations about Magnum also increased by over 200% during the weekend of the event.

There was also PR coverage across Straits Times Urban, MyPaper, XinMSN, AsiaOne and Lifestyle Asia.

For the Cornetto brand, it launched an online competition where ice cream fans were challenged to put their tongues to the test in a licking competition. The event generated an increase in footfall and talkability, including tripling the Facebook fan base as well as significantly increased engagement rates.