Brand Identity: The visual and verbal language of Dove

This blog post will unpack the visual and verbal language of the Dove brand identity by addressing how the brand positions itself visually and how it uses verbal language to support the company’s strategy. The Dove brand makes use of several visual and verbal language elements that cohesively communicate the brands’ values, purpose, personality and contributes to shaping the Dove brands identity.  According to Klopper and North (2011) these properties constitute of the brands tone of voice, brand symbols, and brand story.

Tone of voice:

The Dove tone of voice is friendly, supportive, inspiring, confident, sincere, genuine, reliable and authentic. This brands personality is positioned as showing empathy towards women’s self-esteem/confidence issues and genuinely caring about building women’s self-confidence and empowering women to celebrate their authentic self and “realness” through its visual and verbal language elements.

tone of voice
Dove print advert, retrieved from Home Security

The brand makes use of simple words to communicate meaning in a clear and precise manner. I believe this is done strategically with the aim of being inclusive to all women regardless of their language comprehension ability. This ties in with the brands value of inclusivity and acceptance of all people as they naturally are. This tone of voice and language is consistently applied across their website, social media platforms and implemented in all marketing initiatives and campaigns.

(Dove Real Beauty Sketches Commercial, retrieved from Dove YouTube channel)

As Dove is a people-centric brand, it frequently focuses on using language that establishes an emotional connection with women by encouraging and inspiring them to be the real best version of themselves as they naturally and authentically are in. It also uses storytelling and varied research case studies to depict inspiring stories of various women’s journey to self-acceptance on their online platforms, print adverts and broadcast mediums.

(Retrieved from Doves Facebook page)

Brand symbols

The Dove brands logo consists of the word Dove which is writing in a royal shade of blue , often associated with excellence and reliability and speaks to the quality of the product. The symbol below the brand name is a yellow dove bird which is often associated with happiness and joy. The bird is a symbol of peace, purity, gentleness. The symbol correlates with the brands’ purpose of being a gentle skin and hair care product that is pure like a dove in that it does not contain any harsh ingredients.  This symbol also aligns to the brands’ values of endorsing real natural and “pure” beauty standards.

dove logo
Dove logo courtesy of Dove

The brands packaging, (like the brands personality), does not have a conventional shape and is rather unique. This aligns to the brands values of not conforming to conventional standards of beauty and endorses that beauty is not ascribed to a “one size fits all approach”.  These elements work together to form meaning and become memorable for the consumer as it is another way to visually differentiate itself from competitors.

Dove products in various shapes and sizes, retrieved from Dove

Dove makes use of happy women across all shapes, sizes, ages and in their natural state without makeup and photo editing in all of its adverts (TV and print), including billboard adverts. This sends a subliminal message that consumers of any shape or size can be happy like the women in their adverts if they use Dove. This aligns to the brands values and personality of endorsing real natural beauty standards.

dove billboard
(Dove billboard advert, courtesy of Time)

The various elements of the visual and verbal language elaborated above are in alignment with Unilever’s company strategy for Dove and is an expression of the brand’s vision: “We believe beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety. That’s why we are here to help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential.”

Brand story:

In 1957, Dove was created and positioned as a moisturising beauty bar with ¼ moisturiser with the promise not to dry out the skin like competitors in its category. This was a significant differentiating factor for the brand for several years.

dove 1957 2
1957 Dove print advert: retrieved from Daily Mail
Dove soap editorial, retrieved from Dailymail

To further differentiate itself and increase its brand equity by offering intangible value to women, the brand evolved and launched the “real beauty campaign” in 2004, which challenged the conventional standards of beauty in society and endorsed the notion of natural real beauty by using women of all shapes, sizes, colours, ages to redefine what beauty is. Since then, the brand has continued in the direction of endorsing realistic beauty standards through it varied social development programmes. Furthermore, the organisation shares the same values of realistic beauty standards with the brand which can be seen in the video below, thereby strengthening the brand identity.

(video of Dove employees on real beauty, retrieved from

The brand tells a story of being on a “social mission” to raise the self-esteem and confidence of women and girls in society so that they can realise their full potential. As part of their story, Dove showcases the stories of other women who discover to appreciate their own unique beauty. This is featured in their tv commercials, social media postings and print advertisements. The consumer connects to these stories on a deep level as they can in some form relate to them and form an emotional buy-in into the brand identity of Dove.


Dove. n.d. The Dove difference. Available on accessed on 18 October 2018

Dove. n.d. Our vision. Available on accessed on 18 October 2018

Daily Mail. 2017.’Darling, I’m having the most extra-ordinary experience…I’m head over heels in Dove!’ As the beauty bar turns 60, we look back on the vintage ads that helped make it a household name. Available on Accessed on 21 October 2018

Get Smarter. 2016. Brand Management: What is brand identity (module three, unit 2). Available on Get Smarter portal. accessed on 19 October 2018.

Govender. M. 2018. Brand management: Assignment 2. Submitted on 15 October 2018 to GetSmarter.

Jessica Kohl. n.d The Real Beauty of Dove’s Brand Identity in the “Real Beauty” Advertising Campaign – Strategic Analysis Available on  Accessed on 19 October 2018.

Klopper, H.B. & North, E. 2011. Brand Management. Cape Town: Pearson




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