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Unilever’s Asad Rehman on digital transformation.


July 9, 2018 by STEP Conference

Asad Rehman, Director of Media and Digital Transformation at Unilever in MENA, joined Turi Munthe from North Base Media in a fireside chat on STEP Digital stage earlier this year, to discuss media communication and digital transformation for brands.

Below are the key takeaways from the conversation around digital formats, communication management, data and digital entrepreneurship.

  • Asad has been in Unilever for over 5 years now and has seen all the transformation in the marketing and communication aspects of the brand. He mentions that the evolution in media communication formats over the years goes back to the change in the concept of the consumer’s journey, with a purpose to facilitate it as much as possible to get the consumer to the final stage of purchase. Ultimately the ambition of media and communication is to stop producing a one-sided piece of communication and instead embrace the whole customer journey. 

  • Although it’s pretty difficult to manage all the aspects of a consumer journey across multiple target demographics with different formats, Unilever manages to do it by applying what they call the 5 Cs framework, which consists of content, community, connect (with context and relevancy), and commerce (online), and is designed to ensure the delivery of the right communication across several formats and stories. 
  • Another crucial aspect that Asad discussed in the context of having a successful communication serving the customer’s journey, is the match between the substance of the communication and the digital format used. According to him, it’s not about following the trend, it’s about making sure that your piece of communication is being delivered through the right format. But Asad affirmed that short form videos known as “Stories” have been working well for the brand  and are for sure “the most fast-growing format in the history of storytelling in the world”, quoting Facebook’s Marc D’Arcy, who also participated in STEP2018 earlier this year. 
  • Turi then asked Asad about his thoughts on inspiration vs. data, who pointed that data can actually drive inspiration, because when a marketer digs deep in data and gain insights, these insights become an inspiration for an amazing work.


From that Asad concluded with an advice for all startups, by saying that the reason why some of them fail to scale is because either they’re not solving a problem or because they’re not fulfilling a consumer need, and what they need to do is to focus more on consumers and on the market to drive energy and scale.

STEP 2019 stage talks and panels will be released soon. Get your tickets here!