Unilever – Online Community


the challenge

Unilever wanted to get closer to consumers, and get their help in shaping the future direction of its brands, marketing and products, by setting up an online community panel.

what we did

Join the Dots worked in partnership with Unilever to establish a 26,000 strong online community panel of UK consumers. Members of this community panel have been asked to take part in a regular programme of brand driven research projects, as well as contributing to broader discussions about retailer partners, shopping habits and wider societal subject matters.

how we did it

The community has been running since early 2012 and offers Unilever:

  • An open channel to consumers and users of their brands
  • A finger on the consumer pulse
  • An opportunity to test and refine ideas – particularly those that might otherwise go un-researched
  • Significant financial and time savings
  • A dedicated strategic partner who knows their products and business

Methodologies used on the ‘At Home with Unilever’ community panel include online discussions and ‘live chats’, consumer and shopper multimedia journals/blogging tools, product trials, mobile research and interactive online surveys. Projects span concept testing, brand satisfaction, brand/category U&A, retailer reviews, pack evaluation and findability, NPD, comms evaluation and development. We have utilised the full range of available community research techniques, as well as pushing some innovative ‘in the moment’ approaches.

the results

We provide Unilever with ongoing research, helping them to get closer to consumers and also future-proof the business, by developing a range of actionable insights delivered in a timely and engaging manner. This was done by running over 100 different research projects a year amongst our c.26,000 community panel members.

the team


Rachel Boardman

Associate Director

client quote


"We selected Join the Dots on the basis of their technical abilities, their proactive approach and their industry-leading ways of working. But as well as building a relationship with our research supplier, we also wanted to build a relationship with our consumers. The obvious way to do this was to build an online community panel to provide an ongoing and in-depth understanding of our consumers, their behaviours and their attitudes.

The panel has been an unbridled success. The numbers for Year 1 speak for themselves. We completed over 120 projects, involving 13,000 panel members, which delivered over 100,000 consumer interactions. To date, we have conducted research on virtually every brand, category and customer. We've used a range of techniques from surveys, to discussions, to ethnographic product usage studies."

Nick Murton-Jones
Senior Insights Manager
Unilever