Helping a corporate consumer giant relate to a whole new audience

Multinational corporation Unilever is best known for its consumer product portfolio, which includes foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Persona, a new product for Unilever and a new concept in contraception, would require a far more sophisticated communication strategy than previous products, since it would be competing in the medical sector. With no experience of engaging with either health-related products or health professionals, the managers responsible for Persona needed an understanding of these new markets and the language to speak with authority to an unfamiliar medical audience.

We approached the launch by, first of all, looking at what we had – the product itself, how it differed from other methods and research undertaken among women who had trialled it. Persona, we discovered, was welcomed by women for its non-hormonal, non-invasive properties and was felt to offer significant advantages over the pill and condom. We identified two primary audiences – women and healthcare professionals – and established we would launch first to the professionals, the would-be endorsers. As a totally new method, it would be necessary to educate them in the features, benefits and correct use of the product.

Unilever chose the most visually conservative advertising approach we presented – using the ‘O’ graphic contained in the Persona logo to drive a copy-led campaign. Beginning with journal outserts using ‘O!’ and ‘O?’ as devices to intrigue, readers were then directed to a teaser ad ‘introducing’ and then to the launch ad ‘breakthrough’. The ‘O’ graphic branding device was rolled out and consolidated across a raft of educational and promotional materials, including websites for both women and health professionals, using audience-appropriate language.

This project demonstrates the value of working with professional communicators who can readily cross the consumer-medical divide. Working with us, Unilever has widened its commercial reach and established its credentials in a totally new, more complex market.