"The same line of work but with a purpose-driven approach is much more motivating and inspiring."

Shopper Marketing

Shared interest in community-serving activities drive Vietnamese retailer and Unilever to join forces

In a nutshell

Unilever Vietnam and retailer Aeon developed a joint business plan to help communities in Central Vietnam gain access to clean water. Using digital content and in-store activations, they engaged consumers with this purpose whilst purchasing Unilever products at Aeon.

What’s the issue?

In rural Vietnam, the lack of clean water is a serious issue. This is most severe in Central Vietnam when the drought season arrives every year, causing significant challenges to people’s living standards. 1 out of 3 people do not have access to clean water for their personal and household use.

Over the past few years, Unilever’s Comfort brand has been very active in delivering its local USLP agenda, encouraging Vietnamese consumers to save water by using its one-rinse products and donating clean water to people in need.

This initiative has inspired one of our key hypermarket customers, Aeon, who shares a similar interest in community-serving activities: “Japanese hearts – Vietnamese smile”. Aeon’s shoppers themselves are young, modern mothers within the higher segments of society who are willing to support activities that bring value to the community. Finding that exact sweet spot between our brand, customers and shoppers, we have implemented a joint-business plan with Aeon to bring brand purpose to points of sale, under the theme of “Saving Clean Water for Central Vietnam”.

What’s the story?

The campaign is built around a very simple idea whereby shoppers buy a basket of Unilever products in Aeon and donate to a fund of 12,000 cubic meters of clean water for those living in Central Vietnam.

This was executed via a holistic plan to convey brand purpose and engage Aeon shoppers along their path to purchase. In the pre-shopping phase, shoppers are exposed to digital content that highlight the social issues faced by real people in Central Vietnam, where they share how life has been challenging for them without access to clean water. This was landed in Aeon’s fan page with a very strong push from the customer. It resulted in a reach of more than 750,000. Following this release, a media plan was deployed, encompassing 50,000 copies of Aeon’s direct catalogue and 10,000 targeted text messages, to inform shoppers that they can make a difference by shopping at Aeon .

During the shopping experience, shopper’s trips were navigated with very strong Points of sale material across all in-store touch points. Comfort leads a specific ‘Activation Zone’, which consists of a product demo to demonstrate the product performance, interactive games for shoppers to enjoy with their family, and inspirational talks that explain the community purpose behind our activities. This activation zone itself obtained a physical reach of more than 15,000 during the 2-week campaign.

Post-shopping, Aeon shoppers received a specific SMS with a thank-you note from Aeon and Unilever Comfort for their contribution. Finally, an in-store evaluation event was organized to look back and share this joint journey of bringing clean water to Central Vietnam.

What are the outcomes and impact?

Post campaign, Unilever Vietnam has achieved its KPIs of bringing 12,000 cubic meters of clean water to the people of Central Vietnam. This Selling with Purpose approach delivered clear triple wins for Unilever, retailers and shoppers: Aeon’s Home Care category grew; Unilever’s total Home Care value grew, as well as the Comfort brand; Aeon shoppers gave very good feedback on Aeon’s fan page as they realized their own contribution to the Vietnamese community.

What are the future plans?

The positive results of this initiative prove that Unilever has gained its customer’s trust to be their strategic partner in co-creating an agenda focused on helping the local community. In joint business plan discussions, the teams have planned to elevate this activity to cover more brands and more areas, and to build a long-term sustainability strategy with Aeon towards 2020.

In Summary

“What we find most rewarding about this project is really seeing how we can play a role in touching people’s lives by being part of the CD team. The same line of work but with a purpose-driven approach is much more motivating and inspiring. At the same time, while we are able to convey the same thinking to our customers, it’s interesting to see a much higher level of cooperation and support. Last but not least, tangible business results reinforce our confidence that Selling with Purpose is a proven growth-enabler AND competitive advantage,” Nguyen – Shopper Marketing, Vietnam team.

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