Originally registered under the business name ‘Lever Brothers (West Africa) Ltd, our business for this week has a rich history that dates as far back as 1923.
Unilever is a multinational FMCG and currently publicly quoted company on the Nigerian Exchange, which produces home care, food items, and household essentials. The company was founded in 1923 by Robert Hesketh Leverhulme, who opened a trading post in Nigeria under the name Lever Brothers (West Africa) Ltd.
The main product being sold by the company at the time was washing soap, this minimum viable product was so successful that the company changed its name to West African Soap in 1924. Over the years several products were introduced with mergers and acquisitions done. In 2001, the company changed its name to Unilever Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Unilever Overseas Holdings B.V.
Of note is Unilever’s practice of having different brand names competing in the same market space, for example, Unilever produces:
This list is not exhaustive, as there are many more brand names which the company possesses. It is believed that this approach of having more than one brand name is taken so as to get a larger market share than what one brand name will offer.
According to the latest research, Unilever operates across four categories;
Unilever’s sole purpose is ‘to make a sustainable living to a commonplace in order to deliver long-term sustainable growth and as a company, they aim to solve a number of problems which includes:
As an organization, their unique selling proposition includes the following:
Some of the strategies Unilever have used in growing and increasing profit over the years are:
Unilever Nigeria believes so much in marketing and advertising as a way of engaging with consumers on matters that matter to them. They are publicly aware and in recent times have released policies as regards consumer’s mental health and awareness among others. They are also one of the first companies to apply principles for marketing foods and beverages to children.
Examples of their sales/marketing campaigns are;
Omo’s “Dirt is good ” campaign promotes getting dirty as a natural and positive part of growing up for children-all part of their learning and development.
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty challenges current stereotypes about beauty.
With over 400 brands, Unilever has a massive distribution strategy that is based on a direct-to-consumer business model(this model has reportedly made over fifty billion in revenues). Asides from this, they also serve hypermarkets, small convenience stores, direct-to-consumer, wholesalers, and cash and carry.
Unilever also uses digital channels to create personalized campaigns based on consumer insights.
As a leading consumer goods firm, Unilever has an organizational structure that properly supports diversified global operations(reference). Organizational structures are defined as the arrangement and systems used to build and interconnect components in the organization including offices and teams. Unilever operates a structure that adapts to changes in both the consumer goods industry and the global market.
With a product type divisional organizational structure, Unilever has components divided based on their product focus.
Characteristics of this structure include;
As a company, the strength of Unilever is based on how quickly they adapt to economic scenarios and their use of broad differentiation as a generic strategy for competitive advantage- this among several other unique characteristics stood out for us while writing this.
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EZ Advisory is the global business consulting arm of Equilibrium Zone. We work with innovative businesses to solve complex business problems and achieve daring goals.
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