As an organisation continues to grow and develop, so should its brand. A strategy for growing a brand is essential as it allows for a brand to assess its current situation and sought a viable way to grow in future. Let’s explore a potential growth strategy for the Dove brand by unpacking the considerations of the strategy, risks and benefits of the suggested growth strategy, including the future benefits and vision of the new strategy.
The Dove brand has become well known for its moisturising benefits, pureness, gentleness and its non-drying properties to the skin and hair. Since the inception of the real beauty campaign which stood to redefine unrealistic beauty standards, today the brand has become synonymous with endorsing the real natural beauty of women as they naturally are with the aim to build self-confidence and esteem. All of the Dove products are in cohesion with the Dove brand vision and identity. The Dove product categories include: washing and bathing, skin care, antiperspirant deodorant and hair care. These categories cater predominantly to women, with Men+Care catering to men, and Baby Dove to babies.
To further grow the brand, Dove could market their products (market penetration) to further reach their intended market. Dove could offer the current products to a new market (market development). They could create a new product and present it to the existing market (product development) or they could create a new product offering and present it to a new market (diversification).
Dove could employ a co-branding strategy whereby they form an alliance with another strong brand from a different organisation. The alliance of the two strong brands can result in the offering being perceived as high quality, Dove’s brand portfolio extending quicker with a lower launching cost. This approach, however, runs the risk of failure if it doesn’t have the competitive advantage over the brands in the category and may lead to loss of reliability of the core brand name.
Dove could employ a band extension strategy, whereby a new product is created in a new category to grow the brand. The benefit of this strategy is that the brand can make sales in a different category and can be perceived to be successful due to strong parent brand and have reduced risk associated with the purchase. It, however, runs the risk of confusing consumers about the brand if the new brand launched is completely out of the brand category, like Dove chocolate.
A potential and viable growth strategy for the Dove would be to offer a product to the female teenage market between 13 – 18 years old. This extension strategy (line extension) will be used to increase turnover and engagement to expand into a new consumer group (Klopper & North, 2011). The line category will entail Dove coming out with a new product that is in the same product category as Doves other products that caters to a new market segment, teenagers.
Dove Teenager will resonate with the teen segment due to the “parent brands” association of encouraging realistic beauty standards to build and empower young girls to be confident in their skin and as they naturally are. The brand extension aligns to the brands core vision and value through its social project, Dove Self-Esteem Project, which aims to empower young people by delivering self-esteem education and building positive body confidence. Furthermore, the strong brand name and qualities associated with the brand, will encourage teenagers to engage with the brand.
I would choose the line extension strategy due to the benefits of launching the extension:
- Increased brand awareness due to more Dove products now being available in the marketplace.
- The product line extension meets the needs of a different market segment. Dove will, therefore, meet a variety of market segments in its portfolio leading to increased profit.
- The extension will be perceived as a high quality and reputable due to high quality and positive reputation of the parent brand therefore less purchase risk for consumer
- If the extension is successful it can leverage the equity of the original brand
- Low cost of production and development due to existing expertise, knowledge and processes in place from “parent brand”
- Reduced marketing and advertising cost due to high consumer awareness of established Dove parent brand.
The following risk can however still occur:
- Should the line extension fall, it has the potential to cause damage to the “parent brand” Dove
- Can confuse the customer if the extension is not clearly defined and can hurt the brand
- The brand may experience difficulty in positioning and differentiating the extension towards the teenage market segment due to market saturation of similar products catering to teenage girls.
Dove would need to conduct significant market research and investigate the viability of introducing Dove Teenager and take advantage of the benefits above, whilst finding ways to reduce the risks of introducing the extension.
Other aspects that a brand needs to consider and asses when deciding on an extension strategy are the objective and rationale behind the proposed extension, does the extension align to the brands values, vision and strategic goals, and will the extension be sustainable in the future. In order for the line extension to be sustainable and profitable in the short and long-term future, the brand needs to look at the future benefits and vision of the new line extension strategy. The sustainability of the extension in the future in terms of its own profitability and furthermore its impact on the parent brand is dependent on the line extensions ability to be cohesive with the parent brands vision and future strategy for long-term growth. The line extension needs to be aligned to brands strategic goals and mission. Furthermore, the brand needs to consider the extension’s impact on the environment.
Should Dove want to further expand their presence internationally, they are currently present in 80 countries), they could make use of endorsement strategies in these markets, whereby they are endorsed by a reputable corporate brand that aligns to their values. The brand will, therefore, be able to expand its portfolio by transferring the positive associations of the corporate brand onto Dove, stimulate acceptance of the brand and create fast sales in the new market.
Dove falls part of a multi-brand strategy approach as it belongs to Unilever who manages various brands within the personal care category that cater to the needs of different consumers. This allows the corporate brand, Unilever, to saturate the market and reduce the opportunity for competitors’ products in the category and fill all quality and price gaps in the market.
Over the year Dove has proved to be a strong brand through its various growth strategies (from soap to other personal care products) and its exponential international expansions. For the brand to experience continued growth over the years, it needs to consider potential growth strategies, for example a line strategy that will keep the brand relevant, competitive and continue to grow in its profits, reputation and overall brand equity.