Dove: Evolution of a Brand

Dove should employ a strategy that takes full advantage of building an emotional connection with its target customers. Dove’s target customers are women. Women are 50% of the world’s population, and they are the key decision-makers for soap purchases in most households. Dove has already made clear that its target is women through it Campaign for Real Beauty. Dove needs to expand on its brand image through use of the internet, including social media. Dove needs to continue to differentiate itself from competitors. Dove is not just a soap, not just a moisturizer, not just a set of products.

Dove has a very important socio-political constituency it seeks to represent as a brand. That constituency is all people, especially women, who want to change the standard image of beauty portrayed in the media and develop a new and far more diverse standard. Dover isn’t about making women feel more beautiful; Dove is about making more women feel beautiful. It positions itself as the brand that celebrates women and their diversity of beauty while helping them achieve their personal ideal of self-beauty through use of its high quality products. Dove needs to continue with its bold strategy which goes completely against the grain.

The strategy of portraying the messages/point of view of the consumers as opposed to the message of the brand/company. Allow the brand to become what the target consumer says it is. In other words, allow the brand to represent the unified voice of women as much as possible around the idea of beauty. This bold strategy brought Dove a lot of attention worldwide and kept it in the media, including heavy attention on the worldwide web. Regarding the internet, it is thanks to the internet that Dove’s brand image and message(s) can spread like wildfire very rapidly around the globe.

The internet presents an amazing opportunity for brand managers to promote their brand to their target consumers almost instantaneously through a number of different media formats and outlets. And, it allows the customer to interact with the brand in ways that did not exist before the internet. This customer interaction is very key to Dove’s ongoing brand strategy…when people feel involved, they develop a greater sense of ownership of or commitment to a brand. The brand identity can really begin to represent personal identity. And, I think that is what Dove wants.

Dove wants women to see Dove products as part of their personal identity because they are proud to use Dove products due to its brand identity standing for what they personally stand for. Brand strategy is the how, what, when, and to whom you plan on communicating your product or service. Having a clear and concise brand strategy leads to stronger overall brand equity — how people feel about or perceive your product, and how much they are willing to pay for it. A company or product’s brand is what customers perceive about the company/product.

And, the brand message needs to be consistent whether it is sent out through traditional media or over the internet. As a tactic using the internet, Dove can use the power of audiovisual imagery to paint Dove’s brand image and share it with millions of people instantly. YouTube, Google Video, Facebook, etc are all powerful tools where people consume media, comment on it and share it. Dove should use its consumers in its videos… ordinary women. And, it should use compelling stories and messages to support its brand message of Real Beauty.

And, it should encourage “word-of-mouth” spreading of these images and message. In other words, Dove can tap into the power of viral marketing to boost its brand awareness and solidify its consistent brand image. Its basic message is that 1) Dove products are high quality beauty care products for women who are all beautiful in their own way, 2) Dove products supports all women in realizing and achieving their ideal personal image of beauty, 3) Dove rejects the current singular standard of beauty portrayed in mass media as too narrow and destructive to women as a whole.

Dove should have contests as well as rewards for its loyal customers who engage with the brand through social media and on official Dove websites. Everyone likes gratitude. And, companies should show gratitude towards their supporters. This will lead to greater brand loyalty. And, the online involvement can be so effectively but inoffensively intrusive into customer’s lives. For example, Lay’s Potato Chips ran an incredible contest over Facebook for customers who were challenged to create the next Lay’s flavor.

It was a huge success by all accounts. Everyone I knew had heard of the contest and had participated by submitting ideas or sampling the top 3 flavors once they arrived in stores. The winner received $1million. The idea and execution were brilliant. And, Facebook was the platform. Dove can do this sort of thing as well or Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I believe video contests would be most effective for Dove because of the power of that medium to share the voice and image of women in their natural state.

Dove can also even engage celebrities in this effort to boost the attention and appeal… celebrity women in their natural state without airbrushing and heavy makeup. Dove already has positioned itself very well to differentiate itself from its competitors and to target a large key customer segment. It now needs to take advantage of that position and further engage the emotional connections of its customers to build great brand loyalty.

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