Global goods colossus Unilever’s senior vice-president Laura Klauberg stressed the importance of social networking sites such as Facebook in online marketing and advertising last week at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.
Delegates from all over the world gathered in the south of France to discuss the changes and challenges facing the industry and were all singing from the same hymn-sheet when it came to the pivotal role of social media over the next decade and beyond.
In previous years, special guests have included the bosses of the Microsoft corporation and search engine giant Google, but this year’s online marketing focus was well and truly on Facebook, with a special appearance for its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Ms Klauberg, who is Unilever’s senior VP for global media, insisted that “social media isn’t just another channel. It’s not just about Facebook, it’s much bigger as it changes the relationship with the consumer, forcing us to change the whole mindset of our business.”
She revealed that her company is increasing its budget for digital advertising by at least 50 this year and said that it is increasingly reliant on online marketing to complement its advertising in more traditional media such as television or print.
Procter & Gamble is another company that is beefing up its social media role. The firm’s chief marketing officer Marc Pritchard told delegates that “the moment I realized the huge potential of social media was when I joined Facebook two years ago.”
With its ability to generate “instant feedback” on brands, services and products, Facebook – along with Twitter – are increasingly being targeted by forward-thinking companies for their unique contribution to advertising and marketing.