Dove Case Study

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Introduction

Dove was developed in the United States as a non-irritating skin cleaner for pre-treatment use on burns and wounds during World War II. In 1957, Dove bar reformulated as a beauty soap bar. In 1970s, the company launched promotional campaign for shop’s mildness as found in the study that Dove to be milder than 17 leading bar soaps. Through the years, Dove has expanded its product line to body wash, facial cleansers, moisturizers, deodorants and hair care products. In 2005, Unilever’s Dove product line revenue reached $3 billion. However, even though these events make Dove appear as a flawless brand, both Dove’s sales and market share were dwindling and the competition remains on the rise. Thus, under the management of Kerstin Dunleavy, a re-launching of the brand was in order to bring Dove’s beauty products to the next level. Within this document, a detailed look at Dove’s positioning before and after the re-launch is given, as well as investigating and identifying opportunities within the marketing arena and making recommendations for the next phase of the re-launch titled “Campaign for Real Beauty.”

Discuss Dove’s competitive position prior to re-launch, as well as the success of the 2004 re-launch.

Prior to the re-launch of Dove products and the “Campaign for Real Beauty,” Dove was experiencing signs that would eventually lead to a major set-back if action was not taken. Despite the positive outlook of Dove’s quality, the natural ingredients, and the reliability of the product, the negatives were starting to outweigh the positives. Negatives such as, increasing competition and consumer’s feeling that the brand was out dated and old fashioned, resulted in a loss of emotional bond with consumers. Through research it was identified that Dove products already had a reputable reputation for quality, but overall brand image was seen as outdated and boring and was really taking a toll on Dove. This became more evident as sales began to decline and market share was being loss to competitors, weakening their positioning against competitors. Thus said, Unilever knew that it needed to re-launch the Dove brand while still holding on to the brand’s current strengths. They set out to do so by targeting three main objectives: (1) increasing market share through improvement of the brand image, (2) developing an outstanding marketing campaign, and (3) retaining the functional strengths of the brand. With these targets in mind, a global team lead by Kerstin Dunleavy set out to develop a new brand strategy for Dove beauty products.

Before the new brand strategy and the re-launch of Dove products, extensive market research was conducted to understand the relationship of women to beauty. Several notable observations were gathered, including the opportunity to redefine beauty in a way that Dove’s competitor’s had ignored. Thus said, the global team had created a new brand strategy to re-launch Dove using new and unconventional ideals of beauty. The “Campaign for Real Beauty” was launched in September of 2004 with an intention to increase revenues by 80 percent by taking a stand against traditional beauty product advertisements by using real, natural, women models of every size, shape, color, and age. The new brand strategy involving the real beauty campaign was determined to improve Dove’s positioning against competitors.

Through 800 newspaper and magazine articles, billboard ads, and massive media coverage, the results of phase one of the “Campaign for Real Beauty” were impressive. The campaign had helped nearly quadruple sales of Dove-brand products, as well increasing market share and web traffic significantly. Furthermore, Dove’s brand image had impressively shifted for the better by gaining attributes such as “open,” “active,” and “self-confident,” as well as strengthening existing characteristics, proving that women respected the use of real, natural models. Through the success and their new brand image,...
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