Heather Mitchell: 40 Under 40 2015

Director, global PR and social media for haircare, Unilever

Colleagues describe Unilever’s Heather Mitchell as "entrepreneurial" and a "growth driver" who is rewriting the rules for beauty by bridging the power of communications and social media, while taking many of the company’s brands global.

As a director of PR and social media, she leads multifaceted campaigns for top brands such as Dove Hair, Tresemmé, Nexxus, and Suave, ultimately boosting awareness and brand prestige, but also driving sales.

She was "instrumental" in Unilever’s most successful content marketing program yet:
All Things Hair, a YouTube channel with top online beauty talent presenting hair tutorials and styling tips, often with a Unilever product.

The channel has amassed more than 600 videos in five languages and over 70 million views. The company also tested e-commerce on the award-winning channel.

Because she was such an early pioneer in social media, the company often turns to Mitchell to lead the rollout of digital best practices across its largest global markets.

"When we decided we needed to create a global position to look after our haircare brands’ PR and social media strategies, I knew Heather was the only person to do it," says Rishabh Gandhi, senior global marketing director, Tresemmé and new platforms.

"She has excelled at transforming brands from just products in bottles to meaningful parts of consumers’ lives, enabling press, consumers, and influencers to create dialogues."

Mitchell’s leadership produced Unilever’s first social media community management strategies for Axe in 2008; launched Tresemmé into 40-plus global markets through New York Fashion Week; brought Toni & Guy salon haircare into more markets through London Fashion Week; and created Dove’s Love Your Curls viral video.

During her time as a PR manager at Porter Novelli, she excelled at developing smart strategy and publicity events for several consumer brands, including Procter & Gamble’s food and beverage accounts, and Gatorade.

Mitchell’s campaigns have racked up industry awards from the Webbys and PRWeek, and the speaking engagements have followed at Cannes Lions, Advertising Week Europe, and elsewhere. She shares her learnings as a visiting professor at her alma mater, Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

"Heather gets the importance of storytelling to drive relevance, authenticity, and credibility," adds Gandhi.

- The cover band she performs in with her husband raises money for charities, including a Burmese orphanage

- She revolutionized PR measurement at Unilever with a proprietary qualitative system 

- Global to her core, Mitchell will visit her 50th country later this year

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