The real beauty of Dove

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Photos of women in undergarments with different shapes and ethnicities representing Real Beauty for Dove Campaign.

Self beauty and worth is an echo. 

This statement is from a mother reflecting on her daughter’s self-identity. She shares this in a video as part of the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. When you watch the video, you will see (eerily) how daughters mirror their mother’s concerns when it comes to their own body image.

Perfect this way.

The most recent video in this campaign shines a spotlight on curly hair. What five and six-year-old girls have to say about their curly locks is disheartening. It’s alarming, honestly. At this tender age, a physical feature is already serving as a source of frustration. It’s beginning to chip away at their ability to affirm their natural beauty.

Five and six-year-olds.

Celebrating the natural of beauty.

Dove broke new ground ten years ago when the brand chose to honor real beauty through a spectrum of body shapes. The focus was on accepting, loving and celebrating what makes each of us unique and beautiful on our own terms.

The campaign has been lauded for highlighting real women sharing perspectives on beauty, identity and self-acceptance. Dove not only created – but broke open – a new frontier of space for women to claim their natural beauty and authentically own it in a public way.

Keep it real.

Authenticity is something I like to wax on about when it comes to market strategy. A brand can develop clever messaging supported by a thoughtful and integrated advertising campaign. However, if the brand promise doesn’t hold true, throw clever brilliance right out of the window. Your claim must be honest and realistic. If not, your consumers/customers will be the first to let you know of your misfire and do so rather swiftly across social media.

Dove found market share and heart by fostering dialogue and empowering women to speak about self in a positive light.

  • Dove is not building the brand by promoting their product line.
  • Dove is not extolling how their products allow you to find your real beauty.
  • Dove is storytelling through the narratives of real women and cultivating fans, ambassadors and followers.

Quite simply, Dove is leveraging the power of storytelling to build their brand.

Quote about storytellling focusing on the listener and appealing to all to hold value.

A marketing ideal.

Dove has identified a differentiated and underserved space among beauty product consumers and continues to build and nurture that space. By speaking with women versus to them, Dove is establishing trust and creating value. Value feeds sales, which Unilever is no doubt reaping and enjoying.

However, the greater takeaway is cultivating a community. This equates to stewardship and is the marketing ideal to sustain longevity for continued brand loyalty and sales.

As a consumer (or marketing professional for those of you out there), what do you think of the ‘Real Beauty’ campaign? For the men reading, don’t think I’ve left you out. Dove launched ‘Real Strength’ during Superbowl XLIX. I welcome (actually really want!) your perspective on the campaign.

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slydawgg · at

Really a great post CoolDeb. This really resonated with me and how my views have always been. It took me a long time to get here, but OWN yourself. It makes you a ton happier in life.

cooldeb · at

Thank you for your comment slydawgg. I am glad the content resonated with you and I appreciate you sharing your own journey!

Lyda · at

Really great analysis of this campaign.

Heather Peters · at

Great commentary, Deb. This type of narrative from Dove is one that all women, especially our younger sisters, nieces & daughters, need to see more of in the marketplace. Thank you for sharing!

SD James · at

Can I tweet this? Powerful. 🙂 Thank you for sharing. 🙂

cooldeb · at

SD, yes tweet away! I have a Twitter icon at the bottom of the post that makes it easy with just one step! Heather, I absolutely agree. It’s a rare narrative and a needed one that should be shared and celebrated across generations. Lyda, thanks for the compliment. I value your opinion. Cheers to the three of you and thanks for the read and comments!

Theresa Hunter · at

Dove is brilliant and their videos are powerful! I hope to use some of them in my new counseling ventures at Mclaughlin ES. Great blog Debbie, very relevant topic.

Kfactr · at

I think Dove should be commended for its ideals to promoting women as smart and unique individuals. Being considered a change agent in their segment starting around 2004 when the campaign was launched, Dove started pushing boundaries. If Unilever wants to really be a change agent they would change their positioning with their Axe brand, which has been using highly sexualized images of women. But I guess this is a brand philosophy and not a company philosophy.

Great analysis of the campaign. I enjoyed Debbie’s thinking on this.

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