The perception of beauty differs from person to person especially to the females. Beauty conscious women always crave for attraction of others. When they go anywhere people praise their beauty, comes to talk to her and make her glamorous. The beauty brands all over the world are trying to pull female consumers towards their brands so that they can sustain longer. Female consumer seek beauty brand rendering their skin or hair type, quality consciousness and attractive price.Unilever Bangladesh Ltd has also introduced ranges of beauty products to the females of Bangladesh. Unilever Bangladesh Ltd has introduced special skin and hair care beauty product brand for females- Lux, Ponds, Dove, Sunsilk, Clear, Fair & Lovely, Vaseline and Rexona. Each of the brands speaks out special female beauty. UBL is conducting continuous design and research on their beauty brands to make those brands acceptable to the females for their beauty consciousness. This effort has earned the trust of female consumer to try and use the
brands of UBL.
The attraction of the consumers to beauty products leads Unilever to innovate a number of brands that can ensure them a happy and beautiful life. The consumers also want to tie up with the organization who gives them the opportunity to speak for them. Unilever earned the trust of thousands of females who want to make them beautiful everyday.
Female Consumer Beauty Product Perception about Unilever Bangladesh Ltd
The report titled “Female Consumer Beauty Product Perception about Unilever Bangladesh Ltd”. It aims to explorer and understand what female consumer prefer and expect from their beauty products.
The primary objective of the report is the completion of the internship program of the author. Following the two months of internship, BRAC University requires an internship project. So this report has been primarily prepared to complete the internship requirements. The author completed his internship from Unilever Bangladesh Limited, from Activation of Brand Department.
The secondary objective of the project is to find out the brand image of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd among the perception of female consumers.
The report has been prepared using data from both primary and secondary sources. The background information on beauty brand has been taken from websites and the real consumers. The impact of end user characteristics on the brand image of Unilever Bangladesh has been determined based on a primary research. An interview with 10 young female respondents was included in this report.
History of Unilever
William Hesketh Lever founded Lever Brothers in 1885. Lever established soap factories around the world. In 1917, he began to diversify into foods, fish, ice cream and canned foods businesses. In the 1930s, Unilever introduced improved technology to the business. The business grew and new ventures were launched in Latin America. The entrepreneurial spirit of the founders and their caring approach to their employees and their communities remain at the heart of Unilever’s business today.
Unilever was formed in 1930 when the Dutch margarine company Margarine Unie merged with British soap maker Lever Brothers. Both companies were competing for the same raw materials, both were involved in large-scale marketing of household products and both used similar distribution channels. Between them, they had operations in over 40 countries. Margarine Unie grew through mergers with other margarine companies in the 1920s. In a history that now crosses three centuries, Unilever’s success has been influenced by the major events of the day – economic boom, depression, world wars, changing consumer lifestyles and advances in technology. And throughout they’ve created products that help people get more out of life – cutting the time spent on household chores, improving nutrition, enabling people to enjoy food and take care of their homes, their clothes and themselves.
Through their timeline one can easily see how UBL‟s brand portfolio has evolved. At the beginning of the 21st century, „Path to Growth‟ strategy focused on global high-potential brands and „Vitality‟ mission is taking them into a new phase of development now. Unilever’s corporate vision – helping people to look good, feel good and get more out of life – shows how clearly the business understands 21st century-consumers and their lives. But the spirit of this mission forms a thread that runs throughout their history.
The Unilever Timeline
Although Unilever wasn’t formed until 1930, the companies that joined forces to create the business we know today were already well established before the start of the 20th century.
Unilever’s founding companies produced products made of oils and fats, principally soap and margarine. At the beginning of the 20th century their expansion nearly outstrips the supply of raw materials.
Tough economic conditions and the First World War make trading difficult for everyone, so many businesses form trade associations to protect their shared interests.
With businesses expanding fast, companies set up negotiations intending to stop others producing the same types of products. But instead they agree to merge – and so Unilever is created.
Unilever’s first decade is no easy ride: it starts with the Great Depression and ends with the Second World War. But while the business rationalizes operations, it also continues to diversify.
Unilever’s operations around the world begin to fragment, but the business continues to expand further into the foods market and increase investment in research and development.
Business booms as new technology and the European Economic Community lead to rising standards of living in the West, while new markets open up in emerging economies around the globe.
As the world economy expands, so does Unilever and it sets about developing new products, entering new markets and running a highly ambitious acquisition program.
Hard economic conditions and high inflation make the 70s a tough time for everyone, but things are particularly difficult in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector as the big retailers start to flex their muscles.
Unilever is now one of the world’s biggest companies, but takes the decision to focus its portfolio, and rationalize its businesses to focus on core products and brands.
The business expands into Central and Eastern Europe and further sharpens its focus on fewer product categories, leading to the sale or withdrawal of two-thirds of its brands.
The 2000s start with the launch of Path to Growth, a five-year strategic plan, sharpened in 2004 with Unilever’s Vitality mission focusing on the needs of 21st century consumers. In 2009, Unilever announces a new corporate vision – working to create a better future every day – and enters the 2010s with a new strategy: The Compass. To support this strategy, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is launched in 2010.
In 2005, Unilever decided to change their logo to represent their new theme of vitality. The new logo was also planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the company. The new logo tells the story of Unilever and vitality. It brings together 25 different icons representing Unilever and its brands, the idea of vitality and the benefits Unilever brings to consumers.
Unilever Bangladesh Limited
Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL) is the leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods Company (FMCG) in Bangladesh with a heritage of 50 years and products that are present in 98% of Bangladeshi households. UBL is a Joint Venture of the Government of Bangladesh and Unilever, one of the world‟s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong local roots in more than 100 countries across the globe. Unilever holds 60.4% share in UBL. UBL started its journey in Bangladesh with the production of soaps in its factory in Kalurghat, Chittagong. Over the years the company introduced many affordable brands which won the hearts of Bangladeshis all across the country. UBL is the market leader in 7 of the 8 categories it operates in, with 20 brands spanning across home and personal care and foods. Its operations provide employment to over 10,000 people directly and indirectly through its dedicated suppliers, distributors and service providers. 99.8% of UBL employees are locals with a large number of local UBL employees now working abroad in other Unilever companies as expatriates.
Unilever believes in ambitious growth of the business while at the same time fostering a sustainable environment. They believe the two must be related and hence sustainability is placed at the heart of everything they do. Their philosophy of „Doing Well by Doing Good‟ is captured in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP).Mission of UBL
Unilever’s mission is “To Add Vitality to Life”. They meet everyday needs for nutrition; hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
Unilever has a portfolio of about 400 brands globally. However many of these are regionspecific that can only be found in certain countries. The number of UBL‟s existing brands is 19 which are categorized in different sections. In Bangladesh the company operates in four distinct product categories. These are outlined below:
Food and Drink
- Brooke Bond Taaza
- Rin Power White
- Surf Excel
- Fair & Lovely
During the research, the consumers were asked about their current beauty product brands and whether they purchase any UBL products ever. In addition they were asked about the differences between UBL and other brands. Most of the respondents fall under the dimensions ofExcitement, Competence and Sophistication. Their traits are up-to-date, young, reliable, trendy, glamorous and confident. These respondents feel special and the above personalities traits while use their selected brands. The overall list of beauty brands used by the respondents are given below:
The participant‟s excitement depends on the smell, color and suite of the products in their skin type. Cleanliness and freshness is the core idea of the beauty concept of the respondents. The females prefer soft, smooth and shiny skin and hair from the brand output. Therefore, they remain search for the beauty product that really turn them beautiful one. Some of the respondents neither supported the concept of fairness nor the product by UBL. The quality of Lux, Sunsilk and Fair & Lovely were also questionable to the respondents. In terms of fragrance, females wanted the change in UBL products. The price is suitable for them though they prefer the quality first. Beauty conscious females prioritize what suite in their skin and can make them attractive. Thus quality becomes top option for the FMCGs to seize the consumers and turn to top brand. 70% of the respondents believe word of mouth of other users, 20% have influence of advertisement and word of mouth of others and 10% of the respondents get influence by the advertisement in purchasing and using a brand of Unilever.
Among the respondents, there are such similarities found in terms of complaints of brands. Such as- the fragrance of Lux is not very attractive to most of the respondent, Dove shampoo makes hair rough after certain times use, Rexona leaves black spot in skin, Fair & Lovely cream is very oily especially who have oily skin face this difficulty. If these complexities are sort out and found the solution according to the consumer desire, organization can acquire the loyalty of most of the existing and non consumers. The respondents have very few family oriented influence of using
Unilever brands rather they explore the scope of beauty brands by themselves. Westernization and its power truly affect the consumption behavior of the respondents and consumers become more aware about the quality of any brand. Thus companies judge consumer as highly knowledgeable personality. The respondents prefer their brand would long lust in their skin and hair and show others a glamorous appearance. All the respondents find freshness from inside when they use the products. Unilever gain the trust of the respondents not only extracting ingredients from natural resource but also for not use any harmful ingredient which would conflict with any religion. This image
has made Unilever unique to the respondents whether they are loyal to Unilever or not. The respondents would like to become loyal to Unilever brand if the brands can ensure the best quality even if the price rise a little bit. The respondents expect the brands of Unilever would make them happy to use products and create a brand buzz to form a loyal group. They would find an attachment with those brands and always be cheerful whenever and wherever they see the brand.
The consumers want to be specially treated from their product. No matter how unique is the product but the main consideration is the quality and effectiveness of the product. Unilever has gained the trust of most of the female and whenever they go for beauty product shopping they want their product available in the stores. Some of the loyal consumers delay the purchase when the products are unobtainable.
The main focus of this paper is to find out the facts of preference of the beauty products of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd among the users of female consumers. This paper consist of the opinion of a number of real users of beauty products who has helped to find out the consequence of the brand, brand image, brand position and various other facts of the prefer ability of Unilever beauty brands. The perception of beauty brand image differs from each person to person as there are hundreds of beauty brands exist in the competitive market and more new brand is entering.
As a result competition in the red ocean level is increasing. Consumers have become knowledgeable, meticulous and conscious about what product they would choose for their daily usage.
All the beauty brand starting from Unilever to P&G to Beiersdorf have numbers of products which are daily used by most of the females and they are mostly rely on these brands for everyday personal care. In this paper particularly described how females react over the Unilever beauty brand regarding their own experience. The real user experience can only obtain the crucial point of strong brand image and brand positioning and people be able to know the actual position of a brand. Most of the respondent in this research paper has at least one time experience of any of the Unilever beauty umbrella brand. Some of them still satisfied with the brands and some switched to competitor brands. There would be finding of the reasons why female consumer use Unilever brands and why they switch to competitors product. The respondents are mostly young females who are more beauty conscious than the other age range female. The product quality, price, promise, message and other facts would be discussed in this research later on. These factors are essential for the finding of the research with the comparison of competitor‟s product. There
would be other statement stated in this research that can assist companies to think about their current and future brand status and what steps they can take for the sustainability of their own brand. Unilever has initiated to the project for sustainability and set strong brand image in the minds of people. This research on Unilever beauty product can contribute with information that would focus for further consideration to brand building.
The competitive market situation make the company go for aggressive market domination and a strong brand image in the mindset of the consumers. Unilever Bangladesh Ltd has also different strategy for existence in this competitive market. Strategy is the only way to develop capabilities of company goal and the situation of changing market. Unilever is continuously developing strategy for the growth of their market share and for this growth Unilever has developed tactical marketing tools to serve the target market. Marketing mix is the core elements that can influence
the demand of the target. Unilever has arranged the main 4P‟s in an adorned methods that consumers can find their desired product anywhere. All the female beauty products have different shape, color and packaging. Unilever has targeted all the females to make them beautiful in their own way and to reach them they has taken the different pricing strategy to attract different classes of consumers. That is why a female from village and a female from town can use the exact same product of Unilever. The target is to position as a top brand in the minds of female consumers all over the world and for this Unilever has gained the trust of the females not to differentiate the beauty products between village and town. All the brand of soap, shower gel, cream, facewash, shampoo and deodorant which are the daily use for freshness and cleanliness is manufactured by Unilever with standard quality.
The price of the products is in different ranges according to the shape. Unilever has taken the method of testing basis where a consumer can first use the small package then if she is satisfied she can go for the other ranges. This system has also facilitated the non-users and village females to use such products to make their life healthy, beautiful and exciting. No discrimination of class has made Unilever exceptional in terms of beauty products pricing. Suppose a Sunsilk shampoo can be purchased in range of 1-270 tk, Fair & Lovely cream can be purchased in range of 10-90 tk, Dove bar range from 45-98 tk. These are different ranges in price where consumers of all class can purchase their products economically. Unilever set the price of the products according to quality and the purchase ability of the consumers. Unilever has built a strong distribution system within their organization. The uniqueness of their distribution level forced the consumers to try a brand of them at least and in further level made the users loyal consumers. Unilever did not find the scope of reaching to every consumer overnight. However they faced a huge obstacle for distribution at the beginning because the distribution system was centralized and transportation system was poor. In continuous process of distribution end Unilever has now the biggest distribution system for their products and many other competitors try to follow their system too. So when there is no other soap, cream or
shampoo is available Unilever‟s Lux or Fair & Lovely or Sunsilk sachet is in the small grocery stores. Unilever always make sure that they are their best to serve the consumers to stay close and consumers are the part of their family.
For serving the demand of the sensitive products to the female consumers Unilever has initiated several promotional activities to tie up with their consumers. In every season they have some kinds of promotional activities for the consumers starting with the free samples or discount or any other gifts. With the change of time they come up with new advertisement with a new message about the product. For example the advertisement of Dove Shampoo sends the message to every woman that whatever color a woman is she is beautiful with her hair whether the hair
type is normal or weave or curly. Most recently Unilever has initiated the promotion to make the consumer knowledgeable which shampoo to use according to their hair type. So that consumer would be relived from their hair problem and smoothen the journey of their challenging life.
Another promotional activity is running by Unilever to make Dove Bar popular to all class of consumers especially female that would make their skin soft and smooth. As Unilever is committed to serve consumer a better livelihood they add some new product line in their brands in intervals. Every time female think about their beauty they name Unilever as first choiceUnilever made the consumers think about it within their all promotional activities.
Apart from the 4P‟s of marketing there is other 3P‟s existence in modern market. Unilever is also attached with these 3P‟s. All the products produced for females are physically appeared and consumers can touch, smell and communicate with others about these products. The experience of the products can make consumers more attracted to purchase and leave a good satisfaction in their mind. The production of these products is fully automated and produced with the world wide accepted standard. Unilever always believes that a quality product can be never better than pushing consumers to use the products. Unilever family is consists of the internal employees, suppliers, consumers and stakeholders who are always connected to each other to make a healthy life. Unilever has made such brand image that consumers feel special even if they are not loyal to the brand. Within the analysis competitors product Unilever has made quite modification in their marketing mix that preserves a good relationship between consumers and company.
Description of Female Consumers:
Worldwide Unilever has a great range of products under different brand name. From house hold product to food to personal care product, Unilever is everywhere. Within these range for different consumers they had differentiated some brands only for the female. Though female are targeted apart from home brand products there is the mass concentrated target market of female who are considered for specific brands of Unilever. Unilever has introduced their business in Bangladesh with their internationally renowned brand Lux which promises real beauty to women. Unilever has specialized their most of the cleansing and freshening products for females. Unilever ranged their products hugely so that all the females can purchase the products along with their purchase range. As the females are more aware of their freshness and cleanliness they want to use a branded product from which they can make their products differentiated from other sex. The sensitivity of the products leads the brands to dominate in the market and create a rivalry situation among the competitors. As per Unilever has already established as a brand in
market situation they get an extra benefit to attract the female consumers and push them to use their products.
Unilever has the aim to give everybody a little something to celebrate about themselves everyday. For this reason Unilever underlined to serve the female consumers who do most of the house works along with outside work. To embrace their beauty from the weather change and the stress from other work, Unilever presented various beauty products for the female like- skin care, hair care and other personal grooming products.
Skin care: Lux, Pond‟s, Dove Bar, Fair & LovelyHair care: Dove Hair Therapy, Sunsilk, Clear
Personal grooming: Rexona
Each of the products has the specific work for the freshness action. Females use different beauty products of different companies. They used to choose their product according to quality, suitability and price. The communication with the beauty products is also different sometimes the influence of advertising though the big portion goes to the credit of word of mouth for this target consumers.
The beauty conscious women always crave for attraction of others. When they go anywhere people praise their beauty, comes to talk to her and make her glamorous. The beauty brands all over the world are trying to pull female consumers towards their brands so that they can sustain longer. Female consumer seek beauty brand rendering their skin or hair type, quality consciousness and attractive price. The actual consumers face different problems while to use these products such as black spots, acne problem, oily reaction, hair fall problem, odor condition and others. The brands promises to reduce these entire problems though there is the fact of quality comes first in the mind of female consumers as they are very sensitive to these sorts of problems.
Unilever Bangladesh Ltd has 8 brands for females to solve the skin and hair care difficulties. Unilever started positioning their beauty brands with the plan of unique selling proposition. They concentrated to the specific problems of the female consumers; conducted research and found the solution for the problems with bringing out dermatological tested products. This concentration on females attracted to use Unilever brands on a trial basis and when they found the effectiveness of the products they do like to continue their preferred brands of Unilever. After the successful positioning of uniqueness, there came more competitors in the market and Unilever started positioning system as to diver the female consumers to brand. This concept of selling has effective feedback for Unilever brand because in the recent communication availability, word of mouth spread like spider web. Suppose when Sunsilk brought out the expert solution that was a unique concept as no other firm could have imagined it and Unilever went to top shampoo brand. When the others started imitate the similar idea, Unilever came with the idea of Brand Advisor who is to help consumers to select right hair brand regarding their hair problem. This brand
selling concept at the same time supports two things- profit for organization and consumer‟s brand attention.
The selling concept of the Unilever beauty brands provides the feedback of three major benefitsprimary performance of each of the brands like- Pond‟s cream retrieves the glory of natural skin and smoothens skin, consumers can easily access to the information about Pond‟s through Pond‟s Institute that the institute research on the skin of the females and finally creating a good relationship with the consumers which is the most vital part for Unilever to embrace consumer‟s loyalty. Dove brand started its‟ journey with a negative feedback as the price was too high for the female consumers. However, Unilever changed the concept of beauty through Dove advertisement and females started realizing about their beauty brands and rapidly switched to Unilever Dove brand. The Dove concept has created a good relationship among consumers and firm and consumers rely that Unilever never bring their expectation down. Thus the loyalty of the consumers has been assured by Unilever worldwide.
This research paper has been conducted on qualitative basis as the concept of beauty and brand cannot be measured as quantity totally. Qualitative research has multiple shaping factors of behaviors to observe and discuss. To determine the brand image of Unilever beauty brand, this research need richly detailed data that can include social, cultural, personal and interpersonal characteristics to shape up consumer satisfaction and commitment.
For this paper research method on respondents were included in depth interview. From this depth interview deep understanding of the topic is obtained from research informant. Rather than go for superficial excavation of respondent‟s knowledge depth interview tries to seek out fair amount of findings. Another important fact of depth interview is some direct way of communication might be inappropriate in formal closed interview. In this depth research observation was an important part. Observation research is conducted here so that in less cost more information can be retrieved. Motivation about the beauty products was another fact that had been examined from the respondent during the interview session. The topic was very interesting to the respondents as they feel the beauty product is the inner transformation.
Findings and Discussion:
The aim of this study was to explore and compare the female beauty brand image of Unilever as top ranked. The respondent‟s perception towards beauty brand varies though most of the cases they have same opinion that is beauty products would make them natural and beautiful. The respondent‟s want their desired products available in the market with the maintenance of quality.
The females always desire for natural brightness in their skin and hair. That is why they search for a product that can provide them natural attraction. Unilever has seized the attention of the consumers with attractive visual, color, packaging and continuous positioning.
As described before the respondents are excited, intelligent and sophisticated about their beauty brands. Quality comes as the first consideration of their purchase decision with the type of their skin and hair. Unilever first take the attention of the consumers and then enter in the mind creating psychological biasness. This biasness has enhanced Unilever to embrace their brand image among consumers. The research respondents had different personality traits that are entirely psychological and emotional view of the consumers. As the consumers are knowledgeable due to rapid media growth, the expectation level goes higher.These 10 young female consumers want premium brand quality more or less in their beauty brands however they are also aware of the price. They are not ready to pay twice times more for their existing beauty brands. If the high quality performance is ensured they can go for at
maximum 100 tk more. Each of the participants has different arguments for the preference of their current used brands and has preference of family trend. Most of them get the product introduction of the regular consumer brands from family usage. The experience of the participants differs though for some of the Unilever brands like Vaseline, Dove & Lux have the upmost popularity.
The first participants mostly use competitors‟ product though she is not very much satisfied with the current brands she is using. She prefers to use such products which can give her lasting freshness and brightness. The participants use Unilever‟s Pond‟s white beauty and Lux soap and she trust the product as she finds the best effect on her skin. The second respondent prefers mostly foreign country originated brands as she feels that only those brands maintain high quality. In the summary of the participants most of them trust the quality of foreign originated beauty brands whether it is Unilever or competitor brands. The experience of the foreign brand might be questionable but the affiliation with the foreign brands to these young people is really alarming to the domestic brand. The 90% of the female participants feel good to use the Unilever brands of other country origin. Even if they find the product of Bangladesh which is produced according to the weather still they go for foreign origin.
This paper interprets the status of brand image of Unilever beauty brands. Each of the brands‟ quality, effectiveness and popularity varies from each participant in this research paper. The taste of the consumers highly relies on the quality of the regular beauty brands. So they prefer to use foreign origin beauty brand. The positive brand idea of the beauty brand for the young women depends on foreign origin of the brand thus they think that the products would suit them.In terms of the quality, the continuous research for the skin and hair care products of the Unilever Brand is much considered as according time and age women change their taste to use products and they love to diverse the brands. Suppose the first participants of this research, used to use Fair & Lovely for the bright skin. However, gradually she preferred to use products which would present a natural glow in her skin and she switched to Dove brand. Unilever had a continuous research development for the brands the work on women beauty with care that
women rarely switch to other brands though the participants love to use Unilever brand of other country origin.
The price of the Unilever Bangladesh beauty brand and other country origin has huge difference. Most of the beauty brand for women is qualitative and premium price range. The research paper is conducted with the urban middle class female who are knowledgeable about any brand before they become loyal to that product. A specific limitation to the price range is considerable to the young females who use the foreign Unilever brand.
The concept of satisfaction for the beauty brand of the participants mostly matter on the country of origin. Especially, participants have a fascination to the European and American originated brand. Their idea on foreign brand is that, products are tested scientifically to find out all the test results. The test result is reliable and accepted worldwide so females rely on those products. That is why the participants use Unilever brand though not originated from Bangladesh. The standard of the dermatological test occur in foreign country and with the help of patent organization manufacture products. However, participants rely on the manufacture in foreign country as they feel that the ingredient will not cause worse consequences in the skin.
Product development in the FMCG industry is a crucial part of a successful branding for the organization. Unilever is working on that in every means to make life more beautiful to a woman. The real beauty of a woman express in the natural appearance and every female wants to have that for their own. After the findings and discussion, there are some key facts where
Unilever Bangladesh can concentrate to sustain in beauty brand market. The first and obvious priority is to make the product quality high that the products suit the skin type of the consumers. The consumers who have the oily type skin prefer such products that solve their oil and acne problem. There need to be more experiment of shampoo because after certain times the effectiveness is lost and unsustainable. The fragrance of the products needs to be attractive but not so heavy.
Unilever Bangladesh Ltd can initiate plan of creating particular brand club for female consumers where females are encouraged to talk about brands and give feedback. This can help increase non user of Unilever and divert then to Unilever brand.
Satisfaction is something intangible that only a person express through the behavior of the brand attachment. Beauty brand includes the level of satisfaction, expectation and trust. These three can make an entire positioning image which remains in the mind of people and make the firm sustainable. Unilever initiated their project of sustainable living plan with the proper use of natural resources. The beauty brand of Unilever has the same motto to be trustworthy among the consumers who rely on elevating her beauty using their products. They are continuously in the process of innovation to make a better life for everyone. Unilever needs to obtain the consumer as ownership experience so that the consumers feel them special and the company gets its‟ organizational goal. Moreover, Unilever can continuously conduct research on the expectation of the female that can make Unilever family a prosperous one.