A Quick Analysis of the Company and Competitors
The Unilever company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of food, personal care, beauty, and home care products. The firm includes internationally recognized global brands and local ones, such as Lipton tea; Knorr soups, and bases for cooking. At the same time, Unilever has a number of beauty and personal care goods. For example, there are Dove, AXE, Rexona, Love Beauty & Planet, TRESemme, Clear, Timotei, Pure Line, Closeup, Signal, and Forest Balm. Thus, Dove has no direct competition with other Unilever brands. For instance, the line of home products does not affect the change in the number of buyers of the cosmetics that Dove offers. At the same time, AXE focuses on the male part, while Dove targets the female part of potential customers, which means they have a different market segment.
The brands that represent self-care products use various types of positioning. In turn, Dove products are positioned mainly based on their characteristics. The core creative idea is built on the unique property of the brand; it is 1/4 moisturizing cream or milk, in the case of hair care products. This is one of the properties that distinguish the brand from any other. An objective test can demonstrate the contrast between Dove and other brands, as was mentioned in the “Fingerprint” video. While the “Testimonials” campaign structures this property on an emotional level and communicates the brand’s, core values and attributes to the consumer. New products appeared with the development of the brand, that as shower gels, deodorants, and shampoos, and when introducing each of them the focus was also on its moisturizing properties. In other words, it is the property to moisturize the skin, which all Dove products have, and this property is constantly highlighted in advertisements, distinguishing the brand from its competitors.
At the same time, Dove is positioned in the premium sector of the market and competes with brands such as Pantene and Nivea. Accordingly, in contrast to them, Dove provides a higher quality of care and unique moisturizing in every category. All products from Dove have a noticeable effect on the condition of the skin or hair, which is surveyed and noted in advertisements. It should be emphasized that the positioning of the Dove brand predominantly practices pricing based on the product’s perceived value. In this context, the influence on the customer is focused on the non-price elements of the marketing mix, specifically on advertising and promotions. As a result, high-quality and carefully planned advertisements raise the image of Dove as a product whose softness and tenderness provide unsurpassed care and protection from the daily adverse effects of life in the metropolis. This brand’s positive image encourages the buyer to purchase it, even if its price is set a little higher than that of other trademarks.
The History of the Dove “Real Beauty Campaign”
Unilever’s Dove brand, the world leader in consumer products, is familiar to millions of people almost worldwide. Dove is recognized for its social projects, designed to increase users’ inclusiveness and self-esteem. Significantly, the Campaign for Real Beauty has had a profound influence on the brand’s popularity. A 2004 study conducted by Unilever, named “Real Truth About Beauty,” indicated that only 12% of women were satisfied with their personal appearance. At the same time, those females who consider they are wonderful are only 2%. Evaluating the depth of the problem of such low self-esteem resulting from the stereotypes imposed by the media, Unilever launched the original advertising program “Campaign for Real Beauty”.
The label’s goal was to demonstrate the invalidity of the existence of the legend of modern beauty models. Campaign for Real Beauty launched in 2006, the brand’s advertising program aimed to prove that the real beauty of women is far from the stereotypes imposed by modern beauty stereotypes. The brand’s posters and commercials do not feature glossy beauties but ordinary females of different ages and body types, with cute imperfections of faces and figures not exposed to photoshop. The company started with a billboard that asked “fat or in shape?” near a traffic light in Toronto. The drivers waiting for the green light could text the answer, with 52% voting for “fat” and 49% voting for “in shape.” The team posted the poll outcomes, which generated a vigorous discussion.
However, the real highlight of the campaign was the video “Evolution,” which addressed the topic of processing women’s photos in Photoshop. The commercial won many prestigious awards, including at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. The campaign also included the creation of the Dove Self-Esteem Fund (DSEF), which helps females all over the world reduce their complexes and appreciate their natural beauty. The topic became a leading one in various talk shows and media; beauty standards and the patterns associated with them were not only discussed in Canada and the U.S., the video quickly went viral global. In terms of commercial success, Dove’s sales increased from $2.5 billion to $4 billion during the campaign, across product categories, and in every market worldwide where they are represented. Another sign of the success of this social strategy was that other labels began to repeat it. Other brands, such as Nike, eventually used a similar approach, bringing “everyday-looking” women into their advertising. Thus, the Campaign for Real Beauty revolutionized and remains popular even today.
The Viral Video
A viral video is any type of media clip that has become popular by being transmitted from one user to another throughout the Internet. There is no algorithm that renders a video viral, but there are strategies that will enhance the chances of such an effect. I think the ideal length of a viral video is between 15 seconds and 5 minutes. The Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” video is 3 minutes long, enabling viewers to concentrate on the issue but still not become exhausted from watching it. Significantly, the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” video is filled with the emotions of women who are deeply concerned about the criticism of their appearance. Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video earned over 53 million views on YouTube and 68 million views online in just one month. This video was profoundly human and sent a powerful and positive message about how women visualize themselves, which is why people felt obligated to share it.
The viral video focuses not only on emotion but is underpinned by serious planning, distribution, and PR strategy. I guess it is another measure of success because a study was conducted about the issue before the video was launched. It is also essential to mention that the popularity of advertising is influenced by its content. A critical component is an idea because it is a moral, a life lesson, and a philosophical message of the author. For example, in the Dove commercial, the artist drew women first from their verbal descriptions and then from other people’s words. As a rule, the women described themselves as less beautiful and focused a lot of attention on imperfections that others simply did not notice.
Hence, the video’s core message points to the fact that women underestimate themselves. At the same time, it is crucial that the video has a slogan that reflects the current problem in society. The powerful motto accompanying the Dove logo stated, “You are more beautiful than you think.” Considering that research was done before the video was launched, demonstrating the relevance of this problem, it was an excellent opportunity to become viral.
The Future Actions and Opportunities for Dove
It is possible to distinguish three basic company strategies: The Selfie documentary, “the Mirror campaign” or a complete overhaul of the Dove branding strategy. In the global Campaign for Authentic Beauty, Dove presented an eight-minute film about how women today are rethinking their idea of their beauty. Several young girls had to create a self-shot for the Selfie by Dove campaign and convince their mothers to follow their example. The shot was taken without any editing or filters, and the resulting photos were enlarged and placed in a gallery. Visitors were invited to leave comments on each photo on special stickers. Significantly, many people praised the features of their appearance, which their owner was most embarrassed about. This strategy is thus highly successful because it already continues the development of the “Real Beauty Sketches” theme and will have admirers. At the same time, it will assist the firm in targeting a new audience because selfies are now viral among young people and on social networks.
Another option for the firm’s future development is the launch of the Mirror Campaign. This is because the company has researched whether women are satisfied with how they appear in the mirror and whether they like looking at themselves. Unfortunately, every third woman states that she feels anxious and almost never smiles because of what she looks at in the mirror. Accordingly, the advantage of the new Mirror campaign is that it aims to return women the joy and pleasure of looking at their reflection in the mirror that they experienced when they were children. It is significant to note that such a strategy strongly improves the brand’s position in the market. The Mirror campaign needs to post a happy photo in the mirror and include the hashtag #dovetruebeauty. It is worth noting that this strategy is similar to the previous one. It allows reaching a more significant part of the audience through the first hashtag, which increases the number of potential buyers of Dove products.
Meanwhile, the business has to consider a radically different strategy that does not focus on the natural beauty of women. The company should evaluate the views that traditional notions of beauty are becoming obsolete and new values are replacing them. In order to realize this vision, models can be invited for advertising of different ages and nationalities to demonstrate that even they are distinct from each other. In this way, standard beauty ideals can be used to show that everyone is special. At the same time, there is now a trend that encourages environmental preservation, which is why Dove can also promote these ideas. Consequently, their target audience will also include eco-activists and minorities.