Dove soap was launched in the United States in 1957 as a non-irritating skin cleaner for treatment use on burn and wounds during World War II under, the one of the largest consumer products companies in the world, Unilever.
The basic Dove bar was reformulated as a beauty soap bar with one-fourth cleansing cream. It was the first beauty soap to use mild plus moisturizing cream to avoid the drying skin. |Time line |History of Dove | |1957 |Dove soap bar was reformulated as a beauty soap bar.It was the first beauty soap to use mild, non-soap | | |ingredients plus moisturizing cream to avoid drying the skin, the way soap can. | |1970s |An independent clinical study found Dove to be milder than 17 leading bar soaps.
As the result of that study, the | | |company launched a promotional campaign that highlighted the soap’s mildness. | |1990 -1994 |Dove expanded its product line to include body wash, facial cleansers, moisturizers, deodorants, and hair care | | |products. |2004 |The company’s brand policies had been considerably modified to Path to Growth strategy by reducing the number of | | |product range from 1,600 to 400, and also by creating product brand names with a new logo, definition of symbol, | | |and redesign packaging. | |2006 |Kerstin Dunleavy, the brand manager for Unilever’s Dove line, launched the second phase for repositioning their | | |brand image in September. | Problem identificationIn times with high competition and a market based on generic products that only differentiates from one another in very few ways, Dove found themselves in a situation of staggering sales and drop in market share.
Consumers had a positive perception of Dove as a reliable brand based on natural ingredients. Yet, on more emotional parameters the brand was outdated and old-fashioned. A loyal group of customers did exist, but new ones were hard to attain. Action had to be taken and this in a controversial way to stand out from the crowd.Initially, Dove felt a need to gain an in-depth knowledge of their customers. This way, a paradox between media and reality within the beauty industry appeared and shaped the foundation for a new brand focus.
Based on a survey, “The Real Truth about Beauty: A Global Report”, it became clear that there were a strong link between low self-esteem within a majority of women and a general illusion of beauty. This shaped the foundation for a new campaign through which beauty was defined in a broader way – with a philosophy of making the customers feel beautiful by emphasizing natural women.The campaign showed impressive results. Image and brand equity improved as a result of media campaigns, loyalty programs, and CSR-incentives – and a path for turn over was established. In regards to the future, the concern treats how to take the strategy to the next level and ensure future success. Decisions need to be in sync with the new position and brand promise, but in order to continuously distinguish from the competitors and maintain the competitive advantage new dimensions also need to be added.
Objectives To resolve the downside of Dove brand image was modified in order to increase market share and create attractive marketing campaign. However, functional benefits of Dove had to be retained. After successful reorganized brand image, Dove has to be more focus on maintaining the flawless beauty concept to be sustainable competitive advantage for Dove in long-term. Marketing strategy The re-branding of Dove was supported by an advertising budget of approximately 27 million (Europe alone).Unilever entered cooperation with the advertising firm Ogilvy ; Mather who offered assistance in a broad variety of marketing activities. The campaign consisted of both traditional above-the-line (ATL) activities and more innovative below-the-line (BTL) activities.
This, with the purpose of achieving both marketing and communication objectives. The marketing mix consisted of the following; o Traditional advertising: Print ads, TV spots, and radio spots (core message, natural women + product benefits) o Outdoor advertising: Billboards, posters, and signs (primarily to generate attention with the media) Supported by outdoor mobile marketing event in the US o Website (‘campaignforrealbeauty’ – debates, votes, community) o Public relation activities to provoke public attention (focus on self-esteem) o Dove Self-Esteem Fund o Super Bowl commercial o Mother-Daughter Workbook As the campaign was launched to more countries, it was adjusted to reflect cultural differences, but the same core message was emphasized in all markets. Dove acts in a market where most companies apply a costumer-focus rather than a product-focus.Moreover, most advertising within the beauty-industry is based on transformational strategies, which are characterized by little product information and on the other hand an emphasis on emotional aspects. This is an approach that is in sync with the positive motivation that customers usually have toward these types of products, but that also considers the low involvement that exists in regards to generic product offerings (Percy, 2008).
What makes the Dove campaign different is the controversial message in the campaign.The campaign applies a customer-focus in a new way and the use of BTL-activities generates a higher degree of customer involvement than what is usually seen. Transformational strategies in regards to beauty products normally emphasize beautiful models and product benefits – both with the potential of capturing customer attention in terms of emotional methods. The use of ‘natural women’ and controversial messages, in the campaign at hand, creates an attention-creating device with transformational features, but at the same time, with a customer-focus different from the competitors. ConclusionAfter launching Dove, one of the Unilever’s flagships in beauty care product based on product-oriented for a long time, the company realized that Dove brand image had to be modernized in order to increase the falling market share by shifting their emphasis to consumer-oriented.
Besides, an emotional brand image resonating with consumers needed to be created without effect on existing functional product benefits. To set up a new strategy a global research was conducted to understand the beauty as normal women’ point of view. The study presented that relationship of women to beauty is quite in contrast to beauty perceived from mass media.Thus, Dove generated “Real Truth about Beauty”, which was really unconventional idea comparing to its competitors. Instead of well-known models real imperfect women were chosen for self-esteem beauty concept.
With creative 2-way communication strategy, outdoor support activities and more emotional value focus Dove new image became well-known and received positive feedback from consumers. Under societal marketing and emotional participation idea it became advantages supporting Dove brand image. Yet, this campaign is still not competitive in long run.On one hand Dove has to maintain the Real Beauty Concept creatively as its differentiated point , on the other hand it has to protect this idea from imitation by other competitors. Simplicity but notability are quite challenge and risk for Dove in next step. Recommendation The Dove’s Beauty Campaign has raised a new marketing perspective with regarding to consumer behavior that has been overlooked.
After the decision has been made to switch from product oriented to customer oriented, it turned out to be a success move. Then the question came whether this twist and the campaign would be sustainable for global use?It is recommended for Unilever to continue with the campaign for international context. With a belief that customer-based marketing is a quite outstanding, Dove has become a “real beauty expert” in the eyes of women worldwide. Besides its high and nutritive quality products, Dove has pushed itself to another level beyond its competitors. It brings an answer for most women as “finally somebody understands”, and digs deeply into the real emotional needs of women.
By establishing itself as customer-based marketing product, it enjoys the first mover advantage. Unilever should maintain and enjoy its position as being the original.Although it may be imitate by its competitors in the industry, it still being seen as initiator of the idea. When it diffuse the campaign into international floor, it must consider cultural differences and try to adapt its real beauty concept so that it goes along with each cultural practices and perspectives toward beauty. In a pathway to success, it must carefully research on each cultural and norms and what’s in and what’s out in each country before it entered, so that it can incorporate several unique and novel ideas into its real beauty campaign in order to create sparkles.As said earlier, Unilever must maintain the real beauty campaign and creatively and continuous develop new ideas in order to differentiate and step ahead from its competitor.
The next step for Dove is to catch up with an ongoing changing in consumer behavior and it must be consistent with its understanding in women. It must extend itself further on the position as “the real beauty expert”, to push itself into the next step. Dove will not be considered as a hair care product, but rather skin and hair care experts company.