Global learning. Delivered fast.

One of my most rewarding projects of late has been helping the Unilever ice cream business accelerate growth across delivery platforms such Uber Eats, Grab or Deliveroo and food-chain partners. Teams are dotted across the globe and manage digital communications to drive sales from their own virtual stores, grocery partners or from food-chain orders. Collectively their ideas and experiments covering innovations and activations create a feast of learning each month.

My role is refreshingly simple – capturing, codifying and curating learning. From this work, that connects me to some very agile and talented teams, I have gained some insights on how to share learning quickly and effectively.

Start with an experimentation mind-set

The scope for learning from delivery platform initiatives goes beyond media productivity. For the likes of Unilever there is path to purchase data linking digital touch-points or proposition changes to traffic generation and sales conversion. Owned virtual stores allow rapid changes in product bundles, pricing, names or offers. There is also scope to target consumption moments or events across the day, week or year more precisely.

Given this potential for experimentation establishing learning objectives alongside the ‘growth job to be done’ is really important. When a team has a hypothesis covering variables to be changed, anticipated results and measures it will increase the actionable learning. Upfront thinking helps avoid excessive or confusing variable changes and the comparison with expected results is the perfect trigger for learning discussions.

Hypothesis capture is a starting point for defining and prioritising potential experiments

100% positive discussions

Analysis and results data are clearly the foundation, but my experience is that discussions with each team almost always reveals new learning. We conduct interviews with up to ten teams each month to explore results and implications. Crucially, selection is based on learning potential rather than just eye-catching success.

Critically, it is understood that all outcomes are learning opportunities and that rapidly identifying what doesn’t work will be valuable to global colleagues. This principle is reflected and reinforced in each interview. These are 100% positive and building discussions – relaxing opportunities to pause and reflect.

A connected and sharing community

Learning has no value unless applied and to support this we keep case-studies succinct, consistent and digestible. They conclude with the learning owner highlighting actions that will be taken by the team or recommended for other markets.

However, what is most critical to success is a connected community and sharing culture. It requires effort on the part of the Unilever global team in fostering both the visibility and an ongoing exchange of learning. Seeing an idea in one market successfully applied the next month elsewhere is a strong indication that this effort is paying off.

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