DOVE: EVOUUTION OF A BRAND
The aim of this case study, written by John Deighton, is to highlight and explain the revolutionary brand evolution strategy at the basis of the extraordinary Unilever’s Dove results, achieved in 2007. Overview: Masterbrands as part of the “Path to Grow” strategy Unilever is a leading multinational company active in the food, home and personal care sectors. It has been developing globally during the years, creating several of the most successful brands of the world. Its expansion allowed a geographical diversification but also brought some problems of controls; especially the brand portfolio had grown in an unstructured way and required a change of course. Indeed, in February 2000 Unilever began the so called “Path to Growth”, a five-year strategic activity which included the reshaping and the reorganization of the brand portfolio. More precisely, the company planned to reduce its more than 1,600 brands to 400 and, among them, select a small number of “Masterbrands” responsible for creating a clear and global identity to be shared with the range of products, included under each Masterbrand name. In this broad strategy it is situated the outstanding evolution of one of the survived brands, Dove, which was selected to become the “Masterbrand” for Unilever personal care products, beyond the beauty bar category and including hair care products, deodorants, body lotions etc. Dove Masterbrand strategy development
Dove, until February 2000, had always been orienting to meet its costumers’ needs, providing them products, with a scientifically proven functional superiority. As a logical consequence, its advertisements had always been centered in promoting the cited higher functionality, preferring natural-looking women rather than fashion model icon in order to communicate honesty and authenticity. But a marketing strategy to build a unique Masterbrand identity could no longer be based on functional superiority, as explained by Deighton;...
References: John Deighton, (Rev: March 25, 2008), Dove: Evolution of a brand, 9-508-047 Harvard Business school
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