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Carol Coletta

Loved these quotes from this session:

"To see things with fresh eyes, you have to see. So we went out into the field and looked at how things really work."

"We choose momentum over perspective."

"We pursued a playful iterative process to get it roughly right."

Hyuniee Jung

Customer Collaboration by Design

Todd Tillemans Unilever
Chris Conley Gravity Tank
5/16 2pm

Unilever is a 50 billion dollar global company with half food and half personal care products with a diverse group of products. In the U.S. it is 10 billion dollar company, so it’s not as strong as P&G.

Instead of mimicking back to people, Dove, a product of Unilever, is about resonating with people about relevant aspects of their lives. They want to create a richer customer experience.

Unilever had a problem of being 29% out of stock. Unilever looks at stores where there’s only 1 to 2 people running a store with the average customer coming in to spend $10.

After Unilever addressed the problem, they broadened their perspective. All types of people from the store and Unilever were brought together to look at the problem from many different viewpoints. To gather input in an efficient way was essential.

To see things with fresh eyes, they looked at the supply chain with both qualitative and quantitative data.

10-15 people from the different groups got together for a 2 day workshop. Being in a space together physically, they got people to experience the business. Both executives of the customer and Unilever would go out to the test store next door to see what is possible and try ideas right then and there. Experiencing the real world for people not involved in the field research also helped opening their eyes.

In the workshops, very analytical, left brain thinkers would paper prototype and pilot. They would use their specialized knowledge and work on the projects together. Design prototyping would enable the professionals with different areas of expertise to work together.


The distribution was centered on the distribution warehouse and not the storing for the stores. By saving 73% the number of steps needed, hours and money were saved.

Coding the selves with colored sues would make it easier to pick out products was a very low cost, quick solution.

Not only do they have good solutions, they also bettered the relationship with that customer. They are also looking at the next strategy and how to reconfigure the layout of the store.

What percent of the business did Unilever have with this customer and what motivated the customer and Unilever to work together?

Unilever had a 40% market share, so was over developed. They were the #3 customer, very important customer. It was very important to Unilever; on the customer’s side, the customer had to trust Unilever to be objective and to drive category growth and not just their own product growth. Unilever helped growth for both themselves and their competitors, and therefore innovated growth for everybody.

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