My Digital Hero: Seb Bardin, Unilever

Seb Bardin is the Global Head of Acquisition for Cleanipedia at Unilever. His previous roles include Digital marketing and Media Lead at Sony Mobile & Media Manager at Shell.

Who is your digital hero and what have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

Finding heroes outside our industry has been helping me a lot in my roles in digital. I became familiar to the concept of “Less is More” during a training session about project management organised by Rob & Rodrigo from Brand Learning back in the noughties.

The sentence “Less is More” appeared in 1855, in Robert Browning ‘s poem “Andrea del Sarto”; It then became mainstream by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the start of the 20th century while describing the minimalist aesthetic, which is the notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

We know our attention span is less than a goldfish and as we are bombarded by thousands of messages, ads, and app notifications every minutes, it’s key messages are communicated in a quick, comprehensive and simple way.

Applying a Less is more approach gave me the opportunity to deliver successful digital campaigns using formats like 6-second pre-roll, tweets, memes or gifs.

On the other side, in the digital industry, we are inclined to use technical and buzz words on a regular basic to describe solutions that, ultimately, will support the business objectives. By adopting a less is more approach, I spared my stakeholders in IT, legal, procurement from a long and confusing death by PowerPoint and managed to get their buy-in to drive value from digital.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

We need a another hero to drive more common sense. This hero will have the following super-powers:

  • Build a capable high-performance team and improve the skillset to get the most out of digital like Professor X
  • Set up the right organisational structure to break the siloes and to have aligned KPIs like Mr. Fantastic
  • Prioritise the role of digital in the mix and get the basics right – Show how to crawl or walk before we can fly like IronMan

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

A couple of years ago, I managed to bring together two disciplines which were previously working in siloes, marketing and sales; using digital to connect the dots and to drive significant sales on Amazon.

This approach helped this organisation by unlocking new opportunities like the usage of valuable first-party data to improve conversion, the adoption of a centralised hybrid model with the media agency, the review of the role of digital within the purchase journey and the prioritisation of sales channels vs. products vs. price vs. stock.

It also made the marketing team & the agency more accountable for the bottom line.

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