Unilever Case Study Analysis: Ideas & Tips for Your Paper

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The picture provides the introductory information about Unilever.

Recently multinational companies have become more prevalent in international trade.

Unilever is an excellent example of one of the fastest-growing global businesses. Its history goes back to 1929, and the company is often described as one of the most transnational. To write a good Unilever case study analysis, we first need to understand what makes it unique. In this article, we explain the company’s main principles, talk about the company’s structure, and introduce 34 great topics for your paper.

🛎️5 Shocking Facts About Unilever

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Unilever has a vast global market. The company serves about 3.4 billion people in around 190 countries daily. With the growing popularity of various trends such as globalization and commerce, Unilever International (UI) was established in 2012. Here are some facts about the company you may find interesting:

  1. The company owns about 13 international brands with more than € 1 billion in annual sales. Among which are famous brands such as Dove, Rexona/Degree, Axe/Lynx, Sunlight, Lipton, and others.
  2. UI serves more than 100 million consumers in small places or challenging geographies: Mongolia, East Timor, and the Maldives.
  3. The company aired the first-ever television commercial in the UK.
  4. Unilever has 149,000 employees worldwide and maintains a 50 to 50% gender balance.
  5. Unilever was the first to develop the idea of selling packaged ice cream in the UK.

📝 Unilever Case Study – Best Ideas

Since Unilever is a company with a long history, there are plenty of exciting topics for case studies. Here are the most compelling examples:

  • The acquisition of a controlling interest in Breyers from Kraft.
  • Сompany’s advertising methods.
  • Localization of production in different countries.
  • Unilever Baking, Cooking, and Spreading.
  • Eco-friendly positioning.
  • Unstereotype marketing.
  • The company’s corporate strategy for the last ten years.
  • Gender balance in the workforce.
  • Unilever’s acquisition of smaller companies.
  • Fighting Covid-19.
  • The exit of tea brands from India, Indonesia, and Nepal.
  • Structure and business organization.
  • Unilever N.V. merger with Unilever PLC in 2020.
  • Unilever in politics.
  • Scandalous situations related to the company.

🗓️ Unilever Case Study Tips – Company Organization

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One of Unilever’s main strengths is its structure and organization. Since the company has excellent production and sales power, these two elements are essential. After all, Unilever launches new products on the market and expands its product range yearly.

The FCMG-Giant, in its structure, mainly relies on 3 features:

  1. Subdivisions by product type
    This feature allows Unilever to manage its consumer products’ development, production, distribution, and sales. Managers use it to match the needs of the markets with their respective products. The advantage is facilitating the company’s efforts to apply product differentiation— Unilever’s overall strategy for gaining a competitive advantage. There are 4 divisions in total:
    • Personal care,
    • Food,
    • Household chemicals,
    • Refreshments.
  2. Corporate executive teams
    This structural feature is based on business functions. For example, Unilever has a finance team and marketing communications team. These teams make up the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE) group. Here is a list of teams that constitute the company:
    • General Management,
    • Human Resources,
    • Research and Development,
    • Supply Chain,
    • Refreshments,
    • Personal Care,
    • Consumer Care,
    • Finance,
    • Legal,
    • Food,
    • Marketing and Communications.
  3. Geographic divisions
    This feature is implied when it comes to supporting regional strategies. For example, Unilever’s marketing strategies are different for Asian and American product markets. Also, this characteristic of the corporate structure is used to analyze the company’s financial performance. There are 3 main geographical divisions:
    • Asia/AMET/RUB (Africa, Middle East, Turkey; Russia, Ukraine, Belarus),
    • North and South America,
    • Europe.
The picture shows the 2021 turnover of Unilever's Beauty & Personal Care and Foods & Refreshment divisions.

📈 Unilever Case Study Tips – Production and Marketing

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Like any other global business, Unilever has to ensure its products’ quality and safety. To create a significant sales volume and showcase company’s sustainable development, it’s essential to market the brand properly. Here are four things to keep in mind:

  1. In-house laboratories
    Since Unilever sells thousands of products worldwide, it has to ensure its products are safe to use. The company conducts product research and develops new products in its laboratories.
  2. The basis of advertising practices
    The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Code of Practice for Advertising and Marketing Communications is the basis for the company’s activities and advertising communications. The ICC Code states that all marketing communications and advertising should, above all, be “legal, dignified, honest and truthful.”
  3. Innovations in marketing
    Recently Unilever introduced a global marketing information system. It consolidates data, presents it in a single format, and makes it available to all marketers in the company. Regardless of which structure they work in, users see the same information organized in the same way—the company calls it “one version of the truth.”
  4. Ban on advertising for children
    Unilever follows a policy that bans advertising of products that don’t meet nutritional requirements aimed at children between 6 and 12. This ban applies to advertisements on television, in print, on company’s websites, and those distributed through third parties where more than 35% of the audience is under 12.

🌱 Unilever Case Study Tips – Sustainability

Unilever’s new global strategy entails a transition to fully green manufacturing. The primary purpose of the Unilever Sustainability Living Plan (USLP) is to prove that sustainability and business success are interrelated. Every year the successful results of the strategy become more evident.

  1. Brands “with meaning”
    Over the last years, the company has more often applied a “brands with meaning” strategy. That policy benefits both the environment and the image of the company. Unilever tries to spread environmental awareness through its products. As a result, sustainable brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business.
  2. Billion-dollar investment in the environment
    Undeniably the USLP has gained success, and the company doesn’t plan to put a stop to it. By 2039, Unilever plans to invest billions of dollars in a climate and nature fund (the investment has already totaled more than $1 billion).
  3. Reducing plastic emissions
    Currently, more than half of the plastic the company uses is recyclable. Unilever promises that by 2025, 100% of its plastic packaging will be recyclable, and at least 25% of the packaging will be made from recycled plastic.

💪 Unilever Case Study Tips – Crisis Management

  1. Covid-19 pandemic
    During the pandemic, the company perfected its crisis management policy. Firstly, Unilever invested heavily in personal care products, promoting disinfectants, soaps, and bleaches. This shift of focus on promoting the most relevant product categories helped the company avoid significant losses despite declining sales. Secondly, Unilever shifted some of its sales to online platforms. After that, the company reported a 49% increase in e-commerce. The total turnover fell only by 1.6% as shopping habits changed during the Covid-19 lockout.
  2. FAWU members break up the legal strike
    On February 18, 2019, more than 600 FAWU members began a legal strike. They demanded changes in housing allowance and profit-sharing scheme. Private security guards invaded the picket area that day and started firing rubber bullets at the protesters. Many people were injured. This event caused a media backlash. While the company had to take measures against those responsible for the action, it avoided bringing attention to the incident. That has severely damaged its reputation.
  3. The Ben & Jerry’s dispute
    Unilever subsidiary B&J expressed its refusal to sell products in Judea and Samaria because Israel occupies these territories. Due to this, Unilever’s share price has fallen about 12% in the past few months, and investment funds in many states have been withdrawn. The attorney general of 12 states sent a letter to Unilever CEO Alan Jope expressing deep concern over Unilever’s decision to impose a boycott of the state of Israel. Republican Party decided to take legal and economic measures against Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s. The restrictions are similar to the sanctions imposed on Iran and its banks regarding the financing of terrorism.
The picture offers some Unilever case study ideas (company's marketing, organization, sustainability, etc.)

Unilever Case Study Analysis Examples

You can start working on your case study analysis after you’ve learned more about Unilever, its main principles, and structure. Here is a list of samples that can help you with your paper:

  1. Human Resource Planning by Unilever
  2. Unilever PLC.: Strategic Supply Chain Management
  3. Unilever: Developing HRM Strategy to Support Organizational Strategy
  4. The HRM Issues in Contemporary Organizations: Unilever Australasia
  5. Unilever Company. International Strategic Management.
  6. Unilever Company’s Creative and Innovative Management
  7. Unilever Company: Consulting Business-to-Business
  8. Unilever Company: “Dove” Brand Evolution

️ 34 Excellent Titles for a Unilever Case Study

This article section will introduce 34 hot topics for a Unilever case study analysis. All you have to do is choose the right one for you.

  1. Unilever and its USLP plan.
  2. Simplifying Unilever’s management structure.
  3. The Acquisition of a 75% Stake in Italian Equilibra.
  4. Unilever code of business principles: employee policy.
  5. Human resource management planning by Unilever.
  6. Unilever’s channels and principles of communication with consumers.
  7. Ethical issues and questions.
  8. Unilever: sustainable palm oil and the transparency policy.
  9. Unilever’s animal testing policy.
  10. Unilever’s lobbying policy.
  11. What is Unilever’s approach to plastic packaging?
  12. The Dollar Shave Club company purchase.
  13. Kraft Heinz’s attempt to purchase Unilever.
  14. Unilever’s sustainable living plan and solution to environmental concerns.
  15. Zero hazardous waste to landfill principle.
  16. Unilever: simplifying the management structure of the company.
  17. Unilever’s “Climate Action” Plan.
  18. “Waste-Free World” Strategy and Goals of the company.
  19. Unilever’s “Positive Nutrition” strategy.
  20. The launch of Dove in 1956.
  21. Unilever’s crisis management strategy in 2021-2022.
  22. The gender balance policy in Unilever.
  23. Unilever’s ban on Facebook and Twitter Advertisement.
  24. Unilever: halted cornflake production in Israel.
  25. Unilever’s diversity and inclusion policy.
  26. Kodaikanal Mercury factory 2001 incident.
  27. Unilever: supporting girls’ self-esteem and wellbeing policy.
  28. Unilever: eCommerce development in 2020.
  29. A research center dedicated to healthy eating problems.
  30. Unilever’s purpose-led brands.
  31. Unilever and its new healthy food targets.
  32. Unilever: Eastern Europe policy.
  33. Unilever: the violent dispersal of protesting workers.
  34. Split of the company in 2001: food and personal care divisions.

Unilever is a big company that affects the global market. We hope that this article answered your questions and you found it insightful! If you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends. We wish you productive research for your case study analysis.

🔗 References

  1. Unilever Brands – Unilever
  2. Unilever: Planet and Society – Unilever
  3. Unilever – Wageningen University&Research
  4. Unilever | international holding company – Encyclopedia Brittanica
  5. Unilever Marketing Strategy – Marketing Week
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