Lever Brothers was founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever. The company initially started its operations by manufacturing soap. In 1917, the company began to diversify into foods, acquiring fish, ice cream and canned foods businesses in order to apply synergies caused by commonalities in the raw materials required to produce and distribute these products. In 1930, the Dutch company Margarine Unie merged with a British company, Lever Brothers, to form the multinational Unilever. Unilever has two parent companies: Both companies have the same directors and effectively operate as a single business. 2. Marketing Management Philosophy
Marketing management process undertakes the stages of strategy formulation, implementation and control. Therefore, it is imperative to first identify the adopted marketing management philosophy by the organization. Organisational purpose of Unilever clearly states that organisation’s focal attention is centered towards anticipation and satisfaction of customer needs and wants. Kotler (2000) mentions that marketing concept holds that the key to achieving its organizational goals consists of the company being more effective than competitors in creating, delivering and communicating customer value to its chosen target markets. Deep insight into organizational purpose reveals that goals and objectives of Unilever depend on determining the needs and wants of target markets and to satisfy the customers efficiently than competitors. The company also considers its role as socially responsible entity by ethical business practices and ongoing welfare projects in many of the South Asian markets. Such adopted marketing management philosophy as a central element of corporate purpose will definitely influence the international/Global strategy of Unilever. Hence, it can be concluded that whole of the business philosophy of Unilever is embedded into marketing oriented organization with the purpose to keep in consideration the expectations of all stake holder groups.
2. Organisational structure of Unilever
Organisational structure of Unilever follows a de-centralized setup, where corporate level strategies are formed by board members and executive committee. Unilever operates in two separate global divisions for food and home & personal care business. Table 1: Regional groups
The directors of these global divisions are company’s executive committee. Business level strategies and formulated by Presidents of each of the separate regional groups made for food and health & personal care business. These business presidents are responsible for delivering business results in their respective regions and reports to Directors of Food and Home & Personal care division. At functional level, host country managers are responsible to implement strategies and to make functional level strategies in accordance with the changes in sub-localities. The core building block in Unilever is the local operating company. These companies are organized into eleven regional groups. At regional levels, Unilever has deployed host country managers. 3. Global or international strategy of Unilever
At present, it is difficult to suggest any of the orientation stage for Unilever. When it comes to global marketing, market segmentation decisions are no longer focused on national borders. Cateora and Graham (2000) explain that at global marketing stage, companies treat the world including their home market, as one market. Market segmentation decisions are no longer focused on national borders. However, critical review of Unilever’s operations state that the marketing strategies of the company are both internationally and globally oriented. While, developing market segments, Unilever takes into accounts the incomes levels, usage patterns and other factors that span countries and regions. The global brands of Unilever in Food and Personal care business are examples of...
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