OMO - Purpose

Unilever produces and markets the $2 billion plus laundry brand known to consumers around the world as OMO, Persil, Skip, ALA, and a few other names. The brand has gone from a loose confederation of brands with over 25 wildly assorted positions, names, and packaging designs, to a strong global brand bearing a single global proposition: ‘Dirt is Good’ (DIG). With a new winning brand development strategy and world-class marketing mix, OMO’s consolidation under the DIG umbrella exemplifies the process and benefits of creating global marketing alignment.

The ‘Dirt is Good’ campaign was hugely successful in a few markets, but there was no clear brand vision or agreement around its global rollout. The brand’s global marketing team knew it was important to promote and foster a culture of ‘looking for similarities’ across the brand community if more intense global collaboration was to succeed. Focusing on technical claims only amplified brand differences because the claims were relatively inconsistent across geographies. Instead the DIG Global Brand Team worked with the single, inspirational and purposeful positioning: Unleashing Human Potential. The brand idea was based on the belief that when kids are developing and learning, they can get dirty and some parents will worry about this. DIG can free mothers from the worry by taking care of the dirt. In other words: the dirt goes, but the learning stays.

To inspire and align the company around this global positioning for DIG, the Global Brand Team staged the brand’s first-ever global brand immersion summit in early 2007 in South Africa, a significant DIG market, featuring an afternoon of restoring a school playground and sports facility for a suburban Cape Town school. The DIG global brand strategy was fully aligned because it recognised the varying development stages of the brand across markets and because the global brand team carried out a comprehensive internal engagement plan. They also launched The Dirty Club, DIG’s new global community to support brand stakeholders across the world and build global marketing capability by using podcasts, videos and email bulletins to communicate strategy and demonstrate its implementation.

By the end of 2009, DIG’s double-digit growth and market share gains in key markets had contributed positively to Unilever’s overall performance and made DIG one of Unilever’s largest global brands. Motivation to work on the brand is now markedly higher and DIG’s activation programs have generated a huge amount of positive brand publicity, media coverage, and consumer response in many countries. Today, DIG communications may still differ from market to market – but in those instances, it is a conscious choice made to reflect differences in market, category, or brand development stages, and not just because someone decided to reinvent the wheel.​


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