Differences and Similarities of the CSR Stances of Unilever and Proctor and Gamble
The readings, HBR Unilever Case and the P&G report are useful in understanding the various differences and similarities between the CSR standpoints of Unilever and Proctor and Gamble. The first difference is that Unilever has a more comprehensive CSR perspectives rather than P&G that has a brief outline of its CSR initiatives. Unilever seemed to integrate the elements of sustainability accordingly into the CSR. These indicate the efforts of the management of Unilever to come up with business strategy and operations that promotes environmental sustainability in the organization.
Another difference was that Unilever linked their marketing of the brands to the purpose of promoting environmental sustainability whereas P& G used the normal marketing campaign programs. The company relied on the CSR initiative to marker their program.
For instance, Unilever engaged close to 6,000 marketers in the linking of their product brands to the environmental sustainability initiatives (Kaye, 2015). The strategy was a key approach in the overall brand positioning to obtain a competitive edge.
In contrast, P&G relied on basic marketing campaigns aimed at boosting the sales of the company. The final difference is that the packaging improvement strategy of P&G was strongly associated with the CSR.
The company sought to use packaging materials that were environmentally friendly. The commitment was critical in the design of a strong environmental footprint and program to improve sustainability. On the other hand, Unilever does not focus on improving its packaging materials and substances.
One of the similarities P&G and Unilever’s CSRs is that they integrate environmental and social responsibility as part of their daily operations. The daily integration of corporate sustainability was critical in improving the sustainability of the business operations. In the readings, it is clear that the two companies depend on CSR to develop a long term vision. They seek to design products that meet the needs of the customers by offering more sustainable brands. Secondly, the both corporations used CSR to redefine their strategy. The corporate strategy of the company was committed in promoting social influence and benefits within the organizations.
The implementation of sustainability in the new corporate strategies helped to grow the core strategy of the companies. The core strategy shifted towards reducing costs, engaging with the customers as well as cutting costs. Both firms were keen to incorporate sustainability into their core business strategy. The last similarity between the CSRs standpoints of the two companies includes that both companies believed in a transformation agenda. The agenda was dependent on the external relationships formed among the various stakeholders.
2. Articles supporting that Unilever are true to the philosophy of “Doing Well by Doing Good”? The article by Louise (2015) provides strong evidence that supports the philosophy of Unilever of “Doing well by doing Good.” It is because the article shows how Unilever has promoted its corporate brand depending on environmental sustainability and sustainable packaging materials. For example, Unilever ads usually discusses on the need for responsible resourcing as well as sustainability (Kaye, 2015). It has made Unilever’s products more sustainable. The article also explains the nature of the company communicating publicly the content of sustainability within the organization.
In addition, Hardscastle (2016) has consistent understanding on the CSR aspects critical in promoting the sustainability of Unilever. The article indicates that since 2010, Unilever has been able to develop a strong blueprint important in developing a sustainable business. For instance, the company focuses on developing sustainable living brands such as Comfort that develops relevant integrated sustainability approach (Said, 2013). It also shows that one of the Unilever’s goals is to enhance the promotion of environmental footprint of making its products sustainable (Hardscastle, 2016). Unilever has been able to succeed from the sustainability model that creates more recognition and appeal among the customers. These two articles shows that Unilever’s CSR was found consistent with the HBR case study on benefits of the sustainability initiatives at the company.
3. Unilever’s Focus on Sustainable Living Provides Competitive Advantage. I believe that Unilever’s focus on sustainable living provides competitive edge to the company. For example, few years ago, Unilever was not a popular brand across the world. However, the sustainability focus has helped the brand of the company grow globally. It indicates that the customers are usually responsive to sustainable messages from the corporations. Gaining competitive advantage means that Unilever has been able to gain a certain percentage of the market share unique in a certain manner compared to its competitors (Louise, 2015). Compared to the marketing efforts of P&G, Unilever’s sustainable living practices have strengthened the reputation of the company’s brand.
Unilever also uses its sustainable living approach as a positioning strategy creates a real progress in terms of improving its corporate level strategy. The initiative of sustainability is crucial in supporting the hyper competitive environment for Unilever. It makes the company capable of competing with other firms within the industry. Sustainable living usually exists in the heart of the company’s business approach with the ability to enhance competitive advantage. Thus, the sustainable model of the company works well in developing and growing the brand acceptance and appeal among the customers.
The CSR of Unilever is also comprehensive and aligns with the core business strategy creating a strong competitive edge over its rivals in the industry. It is important to appreciate the ability of Unilever in gaining higher market competitiveness due to the ability to meet the customer’s expectations in terms of sustainability requirements and guidelines. Therefore, it is clear that Unilever’s focus on sustainable living delivers competitive advantage as the company has turned its sustainability efforts into profitability. The company has been able to report an increase in the profitability levels due to the ability to increase its overall sales.
4. Product/Promotional Strategies of Axe I strongly believe that Unilever strives to improve the quality of life of the customers in terms of self-esteem and hygiene. The company is always keen to produce products that promotes personal care and supports societal progress.
For instance, their marketing campaigns are integrated with sustainability initiatives indicating their support for environmental sustainability. The ability to integrate the business strategy with the sustainability initiative is a clear indication of their commitment to improve the quality of life.
It is also their mission to strive in delivering safe and healthy products. The quality of the product shows their focus hygienic products that improve the self-esteem of the women in the society.
The company is able to deliver the product at low prices ensuring that all women have access to quality products. The sustainable models at the company also show their continuous efforts in improving the quality of life of the people.
In spite of all the continued criticism of the Axe marketing campaign, I think the positioning of Axe and the promotional strategies are good and specific. Axe brand was targeted for a specific market segment of the young with an aim of boosting their self-esteem and hygiene. The promotional strategy helped to boost self-esteem among the young men who faces social adjustment problems and physiological during the puberty age. Therefore, the positioning of Axe brand is good and appropriate in promoting Unilever specific brands to a targeted customer market.
References Hardcastle, L. J. (2016, January 7th). How Unilever, GE, Ikea turn a profit from sustainability. Environmental Leader. Retrieved from http://www.environmentalleader.com/2016/01/07/how-unilever-ge-ikea-turn-a-profit-from-sustainability/. Kaye, L. (2015, April 22nd). Unilever’s handwashing campaign goes beyond CSR and saves lives. Triple Pundit. Retrieved from http://www.triplepundit.com/special/disrupting-short-termism/unilevers-handwashing-campaign-goes-beyond-csr-and-saves-lives/.
Louise, J.(2015, February 10th ). Why Unilever Is Betting Big On Sustainability. FastCoCreate. Retrieved from https://www.fastcocreate.com/3051498/behind-the-brand/why-unilever-is-betting-big-on-sustainability. Said, S. (2013, February 8th). The controversy behind conflicting messages from Axe and Dove. The Richest. Retrieved from http://www.therichest.com/business/the-controversy-behind-conflicting-messages-from-axe-and-dove/.
Differences and Similarities of the CSR Stances of Unilever and Proctor and Gamble