Watch Now: Unilever EVP and Chief Diversity Officer Aline Santos Speaks Out About Brand Activism

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Cover image for  article: Watch Now: Unilever EVP and Chief Diversity Officer Aline Santos Speaks Out About Brand Activism

Here are some of the questions Aline Santos was asked to discuss during her Jack Myers Leadership Conversation. Santos, EVP Global Marketing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Unilever, was born on the global Human Rights Day, December 10. Her mom said she was born to be an activist. She has lived up to her calling, championing diversity programs at Unilever over the past nine years.

During this time even organizations that have spoken out against their employees' self-expression, have tweeted and Instagrammed about the importance of equality, Santos has stressed how what matters is not what brands say but what they do.

Unilever has more credibility than most in this regard. Its brands include Dove, whose long-running "real beauty" campaign has changed the nature of what it means to run inclusive ad campaigns, and Ben & Jerry's, which under this global corporation has only leaned in further to the activist, outspoken, and political brand identity that its founders established when the first Vermont store opened in 1978.

Topics that Myers covered include:

  • What does it mean to shift your corporate goals from advocacy to activism?
  • When championing diversity initiatives, how can you go beyond addressing shortcomings with your advertising to overcoming gaps with your product offerings?
  • How can you work with competitors to lift the entire industry?
  • What role has COVID-19 played in accelerating or slowing the urgency of diversity initiatives?
  • Could remote meetings over video conferencing have some positive impact for women's equality in the workplace?
  • How can you best leverage the skills of individuals with disabilities and create more leadership opportunities for them?
  • What does it mean for brands to be authentic today?
  • How does brand purpose contribute to sales growth, and what aspects of brand purpose are sustainable?
  • How do evolving forms of digital media contribute to how marketers give consumers a deeper understanding of brand purpose?
  • How can equal rights directly benefit men, beyond contributing to the broader societal good? For instance, why should corporations enact stronger paternity leave policies, and how has Unilever effectively advanced those policies?

Commentary written by David Berkowtiz

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