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European Business and Brand Building

Edited By Luciano Segreto, Hubert Bonin, Andrzej K. Kozminski and Carles Manera

A strong brand is a key factor in business success, both in the short-term and in the long-term. Brands help to provide a better understanding of the corporate and commercial culture of different firms. A brand reveals the knowledge capital held by a company, but also often reflects the perception of the firm held by consumers and stake-holders.
The book explores the historical process of building some of the most famous brands among European businesses and examines the extent to which the brands have contributed to the image of the firms and their differentiation against competitors in the industry.

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CHAPTER 1 - Unilever and Its Brands since the 1950s. Competitive Threats and Strategic Responses 29 - Peter Miskell

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29 CHAPTER 1 Unilever and Its Brands since the 1950s Competitive Threats and Strategic Responses Peter MISKELL Henley Business School, University of Reading Since its founding in 1929, Unilever has been among the largest companies in Europe, and certainly one of the most important European producers of packaged consumer products.1 While the name “Unilever” may not be widely recognised by consumers, its products certainly are – it is estimated that one in two households around the world contain at least one Unilever brand, as the publication Advertising Age Europe put it in a 1981 article: “Big and dull as Unilever might be as a group, its brands sparkle.”2 For firms such as Unilever, success is determined above all else by the strength of its brands. The development, marketing and advertising of these brands constitute the firm’s core business activities. In a 1968 speech given by one of the company’s three “chief executives”,3 the “marketing and branding of consumer goods” was placed alongside research as one of Unilever’s “two great strengths”. Of these two activities, marketing and branding accounted for much the greater share of company resource. By the end of the 1980s spending on marketing accounted for over 8 per cent of the company’s sales revenue – approximately four times more than spending on research and development.4 1 See Charles Wilson, The History of Unilever, 2 volumes, London, 1954. Charles Wilson, Unilever 1945-1965, London, 1968. Geoffrey Jones, Renewing Unilever: Transformation and Tradition, Oxford, 2005. 2 Quoted in Jones, Renewing Unilever,...

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