Dove was the world’s number one “cleansing” brand in 2007

Dove was the world’s number one “cleansing” brand in 2007. Competing in health and beauty sector, Dove’s sales were over $2 Billion a year and the products were sold in more than 80 countries all around the World. The categories that the brand competed were cleansing bars, body washes, hand washes, face care, hair care, deodorants, antiperspirants and body lotions. The rival brands in these categories are P&G’s Ivory, Kao’s Jergens and Beiersdorf’s Nivea.
Unilever, one of the leading global manufacturer of packaged consumer goods, being food, home and personal care sectors. Global brands of Unilever, like Knorr, Omo, Lux, Becel and 7 others had revenues over a billion dollar, where total annual revenues of all the brands add up to $50 billion. The other giants competing in the market such as Nestle, P;G and Kraft foods have annual revenues of $69 billion, $68 billion and $34 billion respectively.
The company was founded in 1930 with the merger of Dutch margarine company Unie and UK based Lever Brothers. British colonial and Dutch trading heritage helped the company to be one of the leading multinationals, operating in every continent. Where being global and active in various markets helped them to generate revenues, it also created some operational difficulties at the same time.
Evaluation of Repositioning
Dove was launched in 1957 with the claim that it treated the dry skin. It refused to call itself soap until 2000 and emphasize the product’s moisturizing benefits. For over 40 years, except some minor changes, Dove stayed with the same advertising and product positioning strategy. In February 2000, Unilever developed a concept called Masterbrand and chose Dove to lend its name to Unilever entries in personal care categories. They decided to build a common point of view for the Masterbrand, instead of underlying functional superiority, because functionality meant different thing in different categories. And story of “The Campaign for Real Beauty” began.
Dove began to build infrastructure of the campaign by gathering data from the target customers, which are women of every shape, size, color and nationality. They made a survey with 3,000 women in 10 countries, and assess the results with two famous psychologists. The most remarkable finding from the survey was only 2% of the respondents described themselves as beautiful.
According to the results of surveys, Dove decided to change the way society views beauty. They generated two advertisement series. The first was “outsized or outstanding” ad, and the next was representing six real curvy women cheerfully posing in white underwear. In both ads, Dove was focusing that the society was portraying an unattainable and stereotypical image of beauty and this leads to a lack of self-esteem among women. They aimed to improve self-esteem and make more women feel beautiful by broadening the narrow definition of beauty, “young, white, blonde, and thin”.
Dove identified the strategic points of the campaign very well and prepared a perfect media plan for the execution of their unusual campaign. They announced a contest by Real Ads by Real Women, to invite customers to create their own ads, bought lots of billboards, showed their messages in Superbowl contest, gained local press attention and attracted most famous national TV faces.
We think that Dove achieved the results they aimed at the beginning of the “The Campaign For Real Beauty”. The campaign was against the norms of usual advertisements and showed more real and honest side of women. By this strategy, they managed to generate a broad awareness for the campaign and established an emotional connection with women. The campaign most probably got women connect to the ads and made them buy the products. The campaign also led to establishment of Dove Self-Esteem Fund, which improved the social reputation and prestige of Dove.
Market Positioning
In 1950s first Dove product has been introduced as a result of invention through a military research initiative to find a skin cleaner which could be used eventually by soldiers who suffered from burns and wounds. It was realized by inserting a substantial portion of natural skin moisturizers. That specification has been focused as well in first marketing campaigns in 1957 and differentiated the product as non-irritating and non-skin drying cleaning bar compared to regular soap bars. Furthermore, the campaigns claimed Dove is not a soap bar but a one-quarter cleanser cream which emphasizes on the moisturizing benefits and positive feelings for the skin of the consumers. Through holistic and widespread advertising campaigns Dove achieved the status of one of America’s most recognized brands.
Over the next years up until 2007, Dove increased further its’ popularity as a skin caring cleaning product and extended the product range from a single beauty bar to a wide-ranging product line that includes also body washes, hand washes, face and hair care products as well as deodorants, antiperspirants and body lotions – all claiming skin caring attributes. Within Unilever Dove was amongst the strongest selling products within the group with sales over 2.5 billion USD in more than 80 countries. In many of these countries, Dove products are amongst the most popular skin care brands. Even though there are currently Dove Product groups addressing men, the main target is focusing on women. Commercials incorporated real-time interactivity with consumers to give feedback through commenting regarding the beauty attributes of the testimonials of the campaigns.
Product Category and Brand Management
Unilever had organized the work of marketing in a manner similar to the market benchmark, known as the brand management system before 2000. Each brand is operated as a separate business, competing with its siblings as well as the products of other firms and managed by a brand manager who was charged with the responsibilities of a general manager in relation to the brand.
With the implementation of Path to Growth strategy in 2000 Unilever began to split responsibility for a brand between two groups, one charged with development of the brand and the other charged with building the brand in specific markets. Brand Development was centralized and global in scope. Brand Building was decentralized according to the major geographic regions in which Unilever operated.
Brand Development took responsibility for developing the idea behind a brand, for innovation, and for evolving the idea into the future. Brand Building was replicated in each of Unilever’s major markets around the world. Managers in the brand-building chain of command were charged with bringing the brand to life in their marketplace.