Telling Unilever’s sustainability story to the world

 

Unilever has a powerful sustainability story to tell.

Together with Unilever, Amaze has helped to ensure that, in 92 countries on 47 sites and in 28 languages, millions more people around the globe get to share it and make sustainable living commonplace.

The challenge

Every year, 23+ million people visit Unilever’s global network of websites. They visit from 92 countries and they all want something different from their site experience. That’s especially true of Unilever’s sustainability content which needs to be accessible to everyone, everywhere – from consumers to investors, nutritionists to journalists.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Report demonstrates how the company delivers sustainable business growth. The report and its metrics are at the heart of the company’s work but six years ago it existed solely as a printed document. Each year since then, the volume of sustainability content online has grown exponentially, but the user experience had become fractured. Content was deeply buried, with layer upon layer of information creating a ‘Russian doll’ effect that made engaging with it difficult, and getting lost all too easy.

We needed to create a new, streamlined and digital sustainability section for Unilever.com. It needed consistent navigation and signposting to make complex information easy to access, understand and share. It needed to be delivered in a way that engaged more visitors. And then it needed to be rolled out across 47 international sites in 28 languages.

Device Showcase
Device Showcase
Device Showcase

Our approach and solution

Unilever’s brief was to:

  • Expose what Unilever is doing and how it’s doing it
  • Humanise with people-centric content and design
  • Mobilise – develop unique content for key audiences, making them more likely to share and amplify it

To achieve this, we began by exploring digital data insights across the network to understand visitors and their journeys, and to inform our strategy. This involved:

  • Conducting a 12-month, on-website survey* across all of Unilever’s websites, to generate quantitative and qualitative insight into visitors' experiences
  • Reviewing Unilever.com against industry best practice to identify improvement areas. The fact that the placement of feature content made it difficult for journalists to access the sustainability information they wanted was just one of the insights raised through this process.
  • Developing personae based on our insights to test and improve our target audience understanding.

*Sourced from Unilever

So, in addition to creating a simplified and more coherent navigation system that adapts as the user travels deeper through the sustainability content, we introduced a variety of new components that achieved the following aims:

  • Create a more visually-rich design using newly commissioned photography.
  • Use consistent visual signposting to reassure the visitor where they are within each section.
  • Surface relevant content to the visitor to offer multiple pathways throughout the site and improve findability of key information.

Additional innovations included:

  • Immersive experience: A long-drop overview page on Unilever.com summarises Unilever’s sustainable living report all on one page, delivering big information creatively, accessibly, and immersing visitors in the narrative.
  • Progressive disclosure: We developed a site section that naturally revealed content of interest and encouraged interaction, without overwhelming visitors.
  • Shareability & storytelling: We put people at the heart of the design process, using creative design to tell stories.  Specific Tweetable modules now make stories easier to share.
  • Shortform case studies: The new Spotlight module provides shortform case study content within articles, detailing Unilever’s real, human ‘on-the-ground’ work.

Once complete, we then carried much of the sustainability content across 47 international sites in multiple languages.

Unilever Creative 1
Unilever Creative 2

Results

As a result of the changes, 3.5 million more people around the world joined Unilever online this year.

On Unilever.com, the Sustainable Living in particular saw a 56% increase in views on the previous year and a 4% increase in reading time. Between May 11th and May 31st 2017, the sustainability section attracted almost 53k sessions, up 32% on the same period in 2016. Engagement across every metric also increased, with a particularly impressive improvement in pages viewed per session (up by over 2 pages).

In an online survey of 64,212 visitors, the websites were rated equally highly for effectiveness in communicating sustainability as an essential business driver (70%) on both desktop and mobile

3.5m

3.5 million more people around the world joined Unilever online last year

+56%

56% increase in views on the previous year

+32%

32% increase in the number of sessions on the same period in 2016