FMCG behemoth Unilever will set up an independent consumer and market insight division from March end.
The division, which will be headquartered in London, will have three vice presidents looking at specific areas, namely, home and personal care, food and brand building. Division heads will report to the senior vice president for marketing services.
B V Pradeep, director, CMI, home and oral care (Asia), will be relocated to London by the end of the month to take charge as the vice president, CMI home and personal care. Pradeep is also the president of the Market Research Society of India.
"The purpose of setting up CMI as a functional organisation is to raise the bar for functional excellence, which in future will be the key driver for competitive growth," said Pradeep.
"About four years ago, the company recognised market research as an independent function and not as a branch of marketing. This was then redesignated as consumer and market insight where the emphasis was on insights gathered from research data available," said Pradeep.
The market research roles were split into brand development, which dealt with creation of the product and concept development, advertising and packaging aspects of the brand.
"The second was brand building, which focusses on how to strengthen the brand through events and promotions that are in line with the brand development objectives and raise the profile of the brand in the market place," said Pradeep.
In his new role, Pradeep will be handing brand development activities for home and personal care division.
In keeping with its need for sharpening consumer focus, Unilever has also developed a proprietary tool for classifying consumers called Living Standard Measure.
Also, the company over the last few years has set up internal initiatives like Reconnect and Insight activator, which helped the organisation understand the findings of market research better.
It has also identified specific market research agencies to partner with, who are strong in functional areas like shopper behaviour, response to advertising etc."There is also increased emphasis on leveraging these partnerships globally in terms of availability of data and findings, and not just at a local level," says Pradeep.