Launching a multinational's first D2C activity

Is digital a threat or an opportunity? Sometimes it’s both. In 2014, Unilever needed to get up to speed with its digital competitors. That’s where we came in, helping the Group launch its first e-commerce brand, T.O by Lipton.
120CRM client journeys were defined and close to 20 were tested in the 6 first months
14client segments were studied
12technical service providers were managed

Where we started

The launch of its first ever e-commerce brand – T.O by Lipton - in France was a major project for Unilever. To meet the challenge a dedicated team was set up within the Group:  a small unit, entirely committed to the success of this new premium tea maker brand – a true internal startup. An ambitious project with much at stake: to succeed, TO by Lipton needed to disrupt traditional mass market models, all while keeping the Group’s position as Category Captain on the tea market.


Where we came in

We were chosen to support the TO by Lipton team in the definition of a disruptive and relevant data and client oriented strategy. Over 3 years, we worked together on all CRM, technical and business model aspects of this ambitious project.

What we did

Learning and applying innovative work methods, upgrading technological (CRM and e-commerce) skills and testing new business models: our goals were clear.

As so often, visualization was key. We used our Cookbook methodology to bring the team to picture all of their data-run customer journeys (CRM and PRM contact strategy, media retargeting scenarios, data collection strategy on the whole customer journey).

Keeping the end customer at the forefront of our strategy, the T.O by Lipton team was also able to model and test the concept of Customer P&L (or Nano P&L). This allowed them to record the entirety of customer/brand interactions and estimate cost and revenue for each one of them. We were thus able to assess profitability per client segment, bringing us to study a monthly subscription model.

What happened

Over the course of the project, Unilever gained true technical knowledge on data issues and fully assimilated a new client focused culture. On a strictly operational level, T.O by Lipton succeeded in implementing an entirely personalized CRM strategy, continuously refining its customer knowledge based on collected data. We were also very proud to ultimately launch a subscription platform for the T.O by Lipton tea capsules in a matter of months, in partnership with Ziqy.

The launch of T.O by Lipton and of D2C is a challenge of global scale for the Unilever Group. Seduced by the agility of their Cookbook methodology, we chose FABERNOVEL INNOVATE to work with us on the design of these new customer journeys. They also support us in the definition of new economic models and in the coordination of technical solutions. Their implication at the heart of T.O by Lipton economic growth makes them a trusted partner.
Geoffroy Franqueville
Ex-ecommerce Director et CDO T.O by Lipton

Thoughts on the project

Raphaëlle ToledanoPartner

What did this project teach you about your job?

Thanks to this project, I gained first-hand experience on the launch of a new activity within a giant like Unilever. I fully grasped the challenges that come with implementing new ways of working in organizations for whom e-commerce is far from being the core business. I understood the absolute necessity in empowering internal teams to foster change and disruption. It was the perfect example of “learning by doing”!

What is the current situation regarding D2C?

Direct-to-Consumer is a big challenge for all B2B2C companies as they must succeed in: creating a direct link with their clients all while preserving their relationship with traditional retailers; developing new offers specifically for online retail; surrounding themselves with the best talent to manage new issues like data, B2C logistics, marketing and client experience. And that’s no easy feat…

What were the highlights of this project?

It was of course very satisfying to see the product I worked on for close to 2 years be launched. I am also very happy to have worked within such a talented and polyvalent team! Working with the T.O by Lipton team and our different partners who all have different skills (merchandising, communication, PR…) was extremely rewarding.

Questions are just as important as answersContact