IC Matters


Change Management at Unilever | Melcrum Digital Summit 2013


 — April 23rd, 2013

Change Management at Unilever | Melcrum Digital Summit 2013

I listened in to Neil Atkinson, Director, Global Corporate Digital Channels, for Unilever, speaking at the recent Melcrum Digital Communication Summit in London.

His session, 'Connecting employees to the heart of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan' provided fantastic insight into a behavioral change management strategy to put sustainability in the spotlight across the entire organization - the way employees work, the value chain and even the way consumers use Unilever brands.

Here are a few points that I took away from this very informative session ...

  1. Align internal/external - A significant part of an IC strategy in today's digital world should be aligning internal communications with external. Unilever did this by creating integrated campaigns that targeted both internal and external stakeholders to share the progress the business was making, generate solutions and invite interested parties to help shape Unilever's plans. One tactic used was to create a 24-hour 'web jam' forum with a variety of live events, discussion and online participation that was open to both external and internal participants.
  2. Focus on content first, channel second - Focus first on the content - what content is needed for the messaging? How does it need to be localized or segmented to the audiences that will be receiving it? THEN look at what is the right channel to communicate the message. When generating content, Neil noted the 'three Ps' that interest employees: People (what are others doing?), Product (for example, here, how are they sustainable)? and Participation (how can I participate?).
  3. Create a user journey overview: Layout your change management communication plan to visualize the entire user journey across all the channels you will be using to communicate so you can ensure consistent messaging is going out. Ensure local teams get the help they need to minimise the effort to implement the content. This can include supplying localized by language.
  4. Employee generated content is powerful - User-generated content is VERY engaging. Especially in the form of storytelling, which we as humans respond to and helps us understand the message. Unilever opened up two-way channels to give employees many ways to tell their stories. Everyone was invited to submit 'sustainability heroes' in their workplace, participate in local events - and post their photos from the day. Plus, existing channels were 'socialized' - such as adding forum chat into Sharepoint.
The best on employee communications delivered weekly to your inbox.

By clicking “Accept all cookies” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your browsing experience, analyze site traffic, and serve tailored content and advertisements.

Cookies preferences

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Manage consent preferences

Strictly Necessary

Always Active

These cookies are necessary for our website to function. They do not store any personally identifiable information and are usually only set in response to actions made by you, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work.


Functionality cookies are used to remember your preferences. They make the site easier for you to navigate by remembering settings you have applied, detect if you’ve already seen a pop-up or auto-fill forms to make them easier for you to complete.


Targeting cookies are used to deliver ads more relevant to you and your interests. These cookies can also be used to measure ad performance and provide recommendations.