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Published by:
Institute for Management Development (IMD) (2018)
Revision date:
15 pages
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Field research


This is part of a case series. SINGAPORE, SEPTEMBER 2018. A Unilever internal venturing effort, UI was started in Singapore by Unilever veterans to substitute the rather inefficient operating companies' (OpCos) export units with a dedicated group focused on exploiting the group's 'white spaces' - non-core brands, consumer segments (such as diasporas and religious sub-groups), new channels (such as airports and cruises) and geographies – not big enough to merit attention from the Unilever OpCos. The group proved quickly its value proposition, doubling the turnover it inherited in less than four years, with higher margins and growth rates than the mother company. By 2016, Aseem was entrusted with organizing the marketing function, setting up a 15-person team based at HQ. The team managed 10,000+ brand/country cells remotely and had to rely heavily on digital marketing, using 3rd party resources, including open talent platforms, to gain leverage, cut costs and grow faster. It conducted 250 launches in the previous 18 months, while reducing advertising and promotion costs by 20%. Now Aseem had to take digital marketing to the next level. Should he increase spending limits per brand/country?


Strategy; Marketing; Operation; Digital transformation; Digitalization; Corporate entrepreneurship; Venturing; Marketing strategy; Growth strategy; e-Commerce; Fast-moving consumer goods; White space strategy


The events covered by this item took place in 2017-2018.

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