Into her third decade at Unilever, Braams is the pre-eminent marketer at the FMCG giant. Pausing adspend last year on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the US in response to what she described as a “polarised” political environment was a big call, but one she does not regret. Speaking at the Campaign Connect conference in December, Braams said that the pause had “served us well”, enabling Unilever to invest the money in worthy causes, such as supporting the black community, while forcing the hand of the social-media giants to take “firm actions” to combat hate and misinformation.
Her ambition is to “unleash purpose-led creativity, because I have seen how purpose can really inspire great creativity – whether it is great stories, great emotions or great ideas”. “If you do that really well, it doesn’t only lead to purpose-led growth for our brands but also the actions are then in line with the purpose and we can really have a positive impact on people and the planet,” she says.
In July, Unilever signed up as a principal partner of COP26, prompting Braams to call for the world to “up its collective game” to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.