Women to Watch

Lisa Klauser

By Published on .

Saturday mornings find Lisa Klauser busy playing the role of the consumers she's creatively trying to reach as VP-integrated marketing capability for Unilever Bestfoods.

Attending back-to-back soccer games for sons Casey, 9, and Griffin, 5, she's more than an outside observer of how food companies like hers have to shift their marketing efforts to cater to harried working moms.

Ms. Klauser is a living, breathing one-woman case study of the juggling act performed every day by millions of women, and that, she says, lets her be a change agent for the entire portfolio of brands from Ragu to Hellmann's.

"I love understanding consumer dynamics and impacting how consumers make their decisions as much as I did when I interned" at Procter & Gamble Co., enthuses Ms. Klauser, 36. And it shows, according to her boss, Mike Polk, who holds the titles of chief operating officer and senior VP-marketing at Unilever Bestfoods.

"Lisa is a passionate, energetic executive who knows how to mobilize her team to put runs on the board," Mr. Polk says.

Today, Ms. Klauser's passion is concentrated primarily on forging new paths for Unilever in terms of both products and marketing. Her oversight goes cross-brand and cross-division, spanning media, multicultural, customer marketing and strategic alliances.

She's also responsible for the company's new portfolio-spanning low-carb initiative, Carb Options, the first mainstream line of products to hit the shelves as the Atkins diet craze began to explode. Unilever Bestfoods continues to expand the Carb Options line.

Like all marketers, Unilever's challenge is "moving beyond the 30-second spot and driving competitive advantage by finding new ways to reach consumers," Ms. Klauser says.

Ms. Klauser has pushed strategic alliances that link more closely with consumers, among them ties with Scripps Networks' Food Network to run recipe vignettes and an upcoming program linking Ragu with Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC's "TGIF" lineup.

To give moms the help they so need, Ms. Klauser has also spearheaded a title sponsorship of loyalty program Club Mom.

"It's an opportunity to interact and engage with moms." Of course, she was a shoo-in for the pitch from Club Mom, which dangles maid services and spa visits to mothers. If only she had the time ...

Most Popular