Dove: Evolution of a brand
Case write up
Sources: Dove: Evolution of a brand, Harvard Business School case 9-508-047, 2008; Dove`s big ideal: from real curves to growth curves, 2009 (IPA); Social Media, Harvard Business School case 9-510-095, 2011
Question 1: How did Dove`s brand positioning change from the mid 2000`s?
Prior to the establishment of Dove as a Masterbrand in February 2000, the brand was positioned differentiated in the health and beauty sector. The brand refused to call its product a soap for 40 years and insisted that it was something entirely new. This hints that it could have tried to be a pioneer in a new category of the health and beauty sector thus aiming for central positioning. Nevertheless, the brand was considered by the target market as soap with a unique value proposition, i.e. allowing oneself to clean the skin without drying out. Thus, it was positioned differentiated offering a unique benefit in an existing product category that allowed it to be distinguished from other brands. Dove chose a product-as-hero positioning with regard to other brands. The marketing campaign pronounced the functional benefits of the product, illustrating how the attribute that differentiated Dove from other competitors (cleansing cream) was added to the soap. The brand provided two main benefits to the consumer: cleaning and moisturizing. While cleaning is the primary benefit that triggers action by a consumer (“realizing dirtiness / need to clean”), moisturizing is a secondary benefit that sets Dove apart from competitors and addresses an existing problem in the sub-category of soap bars. The need to clean oneself while not drying out is deliverable by Dove as indicated in the marketing campaign due to the product attribute of 25% cleansing cream. Finally, the uniqueness of the brand is purely defined by the moisturizing effect. The Dove campaign for its beauty bar put a strong focus on the benefit of its products. With respect to the a-b-e model, a combination of ab and e- b was chosen to stress the key benefit of not drying the skin when using the soap to clean oneself. Illustrating the attribute of added cream to the product is used to support this benefit (ab). This is communicated in the second part of the main message of the campaign (“Dove soap doesn`t dry your skin because it`s one quarter cleansing cream”). Furthermore, the negative emotion attached to having dry skin when using traditional soap bars is addressed in the first part of the campaign message. The negative emotion attached to dry skin is dispelled with the benefit of the Dove soap (e- b). Masterbrand era
When Unilever decided that Dove would become a Masterbrand, one thing that changed radically was that it could no longer focus on the functional benefit of its product. As a Masterbrand, many different brands with differing product attributes were combined under the umbrella of Dove. Thus, focusing on a single functional product benefit was no longer possible as there were many different ones and Dove changed to representing a general point of view. This point of view would be developed with the campaign for real beauty. The brand was positioned as differentiated once again in the health and beauty sector. This time however, it did not do so based on a unique product feature but rather based on their point of view on beauty which was vastly different from the rest of beauty brands in the industry. While the beauty industry traditionally presented an unattainable stereotypical image of beauty in marketing campaigns (young, white, blonde, thin) Dove chose to start a campaign addressing all the women that had problems with their self-esteem as they did not feel beautiful. Dove started to develop marketing campaigns using more realistic women with different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and age groups. This change from aspiration to reality was the aspect of the brand that differentiated it within the product...
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