DOVE: Growth Strategies

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.

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Dove print advert, retrieved from Home Security https://bit.ly/2q89ooB

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.

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Dove Self-esteem project, source: https://dsep2017.devpost.com/

 

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.

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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.

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Unilever Personal Care brands https://www.unilever.co.za/brands/?category=408114

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.

Woolworths: Brand Portfolio and Reputation

In order for a brand to have a positive reputation, it needs to have a strong corporate identity. Building a corporate brand reputation is an ongoing process and delivering on its promise to customers to essential in building and maintaining a positive brand reputation. Brand reputation can be considered as how an organisation delivers according to a set standard according to the stakeholder. Let’s have a look at Woolworths reputation and the role customers play in shaping its reputation. We’ll unpack how Woolworths is managed in the age of accountability and transparency by looking at its ethics and sustainability practices. Lastly, some tips and guidelines that Woolworths should adopt in order to build and maintain its reputation.

The Woolworths cooperate brand identity is built on its values which comprise of quality and style, offering value, service excellence, innovation, integrity, energy and sustainability.  Woolworths reputation is one of excellence, quality, ethically, environmentally, and sustainably sourced products. These are the positive words that come to mind when one thinks of the Woolworth. According to Walsh (2010) a customer forms a perception of an organisation based on their perception of the following:

  • How a brand treats its employees and customers: Woolworths rewards and recognises its employees in varied ways.
  • Is it a good employer: Woolworths is seen to be a good employer
  • Financially stable and reliable: Woolworths can be considered to be financially stable in terms of its contributions to both turnover and operating profits.
  • The quality of its goods and services including the brand integrity: Woolworths prides and positions itself as providing the best quality items that have at least 1 sustainability attribute for all directly sourced products.
  • The brands contribution to society: Woolworths employs varied sustainable practices that care for the environment, people and communities.

Woolworths communicates the aspect above at various brand contact points such as website, blog, social media pages and through their behaviour and response of employees when engaging with customers. Woolworths, therefore, scores a high yes on all these factors and can be considered as managing a positive reputation.

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The Woolworths brand understands the role and power consumers hold in influencing and shaping their reputation, especially in an age where consumers can interact with brands on social media instantaneously to either voice their criticism or offer praise to a brand for its products and services.

Over the past years, Woolworths reputation has been challenged due to customers voicing their unhappiness on social media about a condom in a product, rope on black mannequins and #BoycottWoolworths.  Woolworths has taken accountability for these matters including other general complaints about inadequate products and services that customers point out to them on their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and show complete transparency by responding, providing clarity and further assisting the consumers about the matter.

Woolworths understands the importance of taking accountability and the negative effect of not being accountable and transparent and therefore respond to and resolve customer complaints and queries as soon as possible on their social media platforms to make up for the bad experience and by showing dedication and urgency in resolving the matter in order to protect their brand reputation. In turn, Woolworths lives up to its brand promise of quality and is essentially providing a quality service. The customer is more likely to forgive a brand and return to the store to make a repeat purchase based on how the bad service or product complaint was handled by the brand. Woolworths does this well as consumers trust and view Woolworths in a credible light.

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Woolworths places sustainability at the core of its business strategy. Woolworths has made a commitment to care for the environment, our people and communities and call it their good business journey. They have managed to achieve this from their supply chains up to their daily operations and show complete transparency by indicating how they practise responsible sourcing, save water and energy for the environment and how they contribute to building and uplifting communities. These aspects are highlighted at various contact points for consumer awareness, such as in-store, on their website, social media pages, adverts and marketing initiative. This attribute is vital in shaping the consumer perspective of the brand and leads them to view the reputation of the brand as positive.

Woolworths scoring high in its ethical and sustainability practices resonates with consumers these days as they are more conscious of the environmental and social impact of their purchase decisions. Consumers are more likely to form an emotional buy-in and purchase from brands that make them feel that they are doing the right thing by purchasing products from brands that care for the environment and people. Due to the products accountability, transparency of how it does business, ethical and environmentally sustainable practices, Woolworths can ask higher prices for their item. A 2016 study indicates that 73% of people would spend more on a product that offers complete transparency about their business practices.

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Woolworths website https://www.woolworths.co.za/cat/_/N-nmexhj

 

 Woolworths can build and maintain the reputation of their brand portfolio by ensuring that the organisations’ vision and promise is relayed across all contact points. The brand can investigate the introduction of a new product offering into the brand portfolio to build and maintain relevance in an age with evolving consumer needs and technological advancements

Woolworths must ensure that all brands within its brand portfolio must continue to act with integrity in all of its business practices to ensure that it remains ethically and sustainably sourced and align to the brand corporate identity and vision of being environmentally sustainable and continue to care for people and communities. This will maintain a positive reputation.

Lastly, Woolworths can also look at further training and motivating employees to ensure that brand promise is communicated at all areas of the organisation from customer service, call centres to in-store staff. This, in turn, will further endorse a favourable reputation of the brand by offering “quality” service.

Woolworths has built and maintained a strong brand portfolio, along with a positive reputation by effectively showing accountability, transparency, having integrity and ensuring that all products within its brand portfolio is ethically sourced and employ sustainable practices.

 

 

Dove: The Role of IMC and Brand Orientation

Marketing communications across the marketing mix that is consistently applied and integrated across a variety of channels are referred to as Integrated marketing communication. By integrating messaging across various platforms, IMC gives a brand a chance to manage consumer perceptions in a positive way.  Everything that a brand says in its marketing communication efforts sends out a message to the customer. A message that is consistently applied across the brands advertising, public relations, direct marketing, and social media channels can be considered integrated. When this happens it helps create brand awareness and when consistently integrated across channels can lead customers from awareness to actively engaging with the brand to making a purchase. Let’s unpack the role of IMC and brand orientation by taking a look at the leading personal care brand,  Dove and its digital and social media platforms.

The Dove brand is associated with pure, natural, gentle and real beauty. This can be attributed to how the brand has positioned itself since their “real beauty” campaign and has become part of the brands’ identity today. The brand endorses realistic beauty standards by encouraging real natural beauty in order to build consumers (especially women and girls) self-confidence, self-esteem and ultimate self-acceptance. Doves brand values and vision is prominently displayed on their website and this is relayed into the content that the brand puts out onto its social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube). Dove makes of use their digital and social media channels to build public relations, to inform customers about their products and to engage with, inspire and motivate their customers.

The brand unique value proposition is that their products are gentle, moisturising and not drying to the skin and hair. This has remained the core differentiating factor about the brand and is communicated across all of its platforms.

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The second unique value proposition that the brand prides itself on is that the brand is committed to helping women build their confidence, increase their self-esteem and see themselves as beautiful as they naturally are. “These unique value propositions of the brand differentiate the brand from its competitors and is communicated to the brands target audience through its website, social media pages bios and through the content it places on its social media platforms.

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Brand orientation refers to organisations that place the brand as the centre of the company’s decision-making process and ensure that everything that a company does (internally and externally is informed by the brands vision and identity. The communication put out by Dove across its various platforms is orientated towards the brands identity and Dove’s vision.

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Dove Vision https://www.dove.com/za/stories/about-dove/our-vision.html

The brand identity and brand values can be seen to be consistently communicated across all of the brands advertisements and marketing initiatives, it can especially be seen in its online and social media presence. Let’s have a look below:

Facebook

Dove has an active Facebook page whereby they post about their products, campaigns and various inspiration posts about unconventional beautiful women who embrace their beauty. The brand uses the page to engage with the target audience as well as collaborate with them on various posts by encouraging them to share their content on the page. Dove is responsive to comments in the posts and uses the page to direct users to the website for more information. Images are consistent with the brand look and feel of the website and actual products. Dove encourages dialogue and invites women to join the conversation about beauty, this develops a sense of community of like-minded people who engage to establish a connection with the brand. The brand uses the Dove logo as the profile picture and the Dove Self Esteem Project image as the cover image.  The page company bio states that “Dove is committed to helping women realize their beauty potential by creating products that deliver real care.”

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Twitter

Dove is not as active as the other social platforms in posting brand-generated content, the platform is however used to engage with users and respond to their compliments and complaints timeously, retweet and share updated information about events and promotions. The same Dove profile picture and cover image is used here. Similarly to its Facebook page, the page company bio highlights its commitment to helping women.

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Instagram

Dove is active on Instagram and actively post content about their products, encourage and celebrate real beauty and includes imagery and inspirational messaging that inspires and empowers women. The content posted on this platform is in alignment with the brand identity of endorsing natural beauty and look and feel of brand. The same dove logo is used as a profile picture.

YouTube

Dove uses this platform to archive the brands commercials, short clips of beauty advice and inspiration stories. The same profile picture and cover image is used here. Dove inspires and establishes an emotional connection with customers through its emotive commercials and short video clips. The content resonates with the target audience due to its authenticity and ability to touch of issues of deep concern.

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The brand communicates in a unified voice (friendly, supportive, inspiring) across its social media platforms and is integrated with the content on the website and aligned with the brands identity, visions and values of endorsing real natural beauty. The social media pages consistently communicate the same Dove logo, page bio descriptions, unified hashtags and campaigns along with a consistent look and feel. The brand is positioned to appear as genuinely having the consumers best interest at heart in wanting to empower consumers to be confident in their own skin as they naturally are. This resonates with the target market who believe and buy into the brand for what it represents and stands for in support of the movement towards celebrating realistic beauty standards and the consumer forms a connection with the brand. The brand does not follow a symmetrical approach in crossposting messages at the same time across its various platforms. I believe that the brand strategically employs this approach to keep its content fresh across all platforms and authentically optimised to the platform that it is hosted on.

Dove effectively employs an IMC approach as the communication across their digital and social media pages are consistent and well integrated with each other, the brands values, identity and vision.

What brand do you think does well in implementing an Integrated Marketing Communications approach?

Shaping a brand: Vida e Caffè Brand Contact and Internal marketing

Brand contact is every point of contact that the consumer has with the brand. These points of contact have an influence on what the consumer thinks, feels and believes about the brand and is an ideal opportunity for brands to connect with its customer to deliver on its purpose and promise.

Vida e Caffè (meaning ‘life and coffee’) is an example of a brand with an effective brand contact management system and owes its success to its customer-centric approach which ensures that consumers have a wonderful experience of the brand at all brand contact points. Vida e Caffè understands the value of effective internal marketing, which arms their employees with the insight of the brand on every level in order to portray a favourable perception of the brand to consumers. Let’s have a detailed look at Vida e Caffè brand contact process and internal marketing initiatives.

Step 1: All points of brand contact

  • Product points of contact

The Vida e Caffè name and logo is prominently displayed on their mugs, takeaway cups and seasonal coffee cup sleeves. It is also displayed on their food packaging.

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Vida coffee. Source: https://bit.ly/2yQRoUu

 

  • Service points of contact

The service points of contact are the employees behind the counter taking orders and the barrister. The brand ensures that all employees are carefully selected and undergo quality training to ensure that all aspects of the brand including its purpose, promise, values and identity are understood. employees are continuously motivated to work well though upliftment initiative coupled with incentive schemes.

  • Planned point of contact

The brand planned points of contacts is through its website, social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), menus and in-store magazine, Obrigado.

  • Unplanned points of contact

Vida e Caffè is effective in its unplanned points of contact in generating positive word of mouth marketing of the brand due to its consistent offering and positive holistic in-store brand experience through the various contact points. The brand also receives unplanned sufficient editorial media coverage for its uniqueness in service and store layout in magazines.

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Vida media coverage. Source: http://media.withtank.com/a15f3ef98d.pdf

Step 2: Primary Contact Points

The primary brand contact pattern points for Vida e Caffè is its service contact point. This point is a common touchpoint for the customer and the brand as all customers have to go through this point in order to place an order.

Step 3: most important contact points

  • First contact point

Upon entering the store, customers are welcomed with the smell of brewing coffee, the invigorating red brand colour, the prominent Vida e Caffè logo, the open plan seating and the robust, friendly and cheerful staff who enthusiastically offer to help the customer. Vida e Caffè understands the importance of first impressions.

  • Last contact point

Vida e Caffè recognises the importance of utilising the last contact point as the final opportunity to influence the consumer. On departure, employees cheerfully say goodbye and encourage customers to return. This encourages consumers to come back for a return purchase.

  • Frequent contact point

Vida e Caffè understands the crucial role that the frequent contact point plays in establishing the brand’s identity favourably in the minds of the consumer (Klopper & North; 2011;169) The barrister is the frequent contact point as each customer has to frequent the barista in order to collect their order. The barista often engages with the customers in a lively, positive and friendly manner relaying the brands identity of “living life.” Internal marketing is vital here as the energetic and lively barista is associated with the brands identity.

  • Impact contact point

Vida e Caffè recognises the importance of impact contact points. Vidas Loyalty card offers customers an opportunity to accumulate 5% of their total build when making a purchase.  This impact contact point improves the customer’s experience with the brand and has impact when it occurs.

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Vida loyalty card. Source: http://vidaecaffe.com/loyalty-card-2/
  • Resonate contact point

Customer facing employees at Vida e Caffè embody the brand purpose of serving the best coffee in a passionate and lively, enthusiastic manner. This resonates with the consumer in that they aspire to be part of the brand who “lives life” and through their enjoyment of good coffee.

Step 4: brand contact cohesion strategy

Vida e Caffè has created an effective and cohesive brand contact strategy as it has managed to ensure that the brands purpose and promise, brand identity and values are all relayed to the consumer through the various contact touch points identified above with the aim of fulfilling the brands visions.“ The brand consistently delivers on the brands promise at every brand contact point, this instils a sense of credibility and trust of the brand with the consumer thereby encouraging brand loyalty.

Vida e Caffè vision. Source: http://media.withtank.com/a15f3ef98d.pdf

Step 5: managing the brand contact cohesion strategy

Vida e Caffè has managed the brands contact cohesion strategy across these two levels:

  • Leadership and management

Managing Director, Grant Dutton and business partners ensure that the brands culture is filtered through to the entire organisation by “living the brand” in their personal lives. Leadership employs internal marketing tactics that build, empower, motivate and inspire their employees to be the best brand custodians.

  • Employees

Management invests in its employees by sending them on extensive training to ensure that they understand and live out the brand purpose. Management sets the employees up to win by motivating them for on brand behaviour through upliftment initiatives coupled with an incentive-based scheme.   MD, Grant Dutton believes that a large part of Vida e Caffè success is due to its employees living the brand because the brand takes care of them.

Vida e Caffè ensures that it delivers on its brands purpose and promise through each of their brand contact points. This consistency and cohesion of the brand contact elements showcase the brands authenticity, instil a sense of creditability of the brand and affirms that the process was well thought through. Vida leaderships invest in internal marketing as they recognise the important role it has in ensuring that employees understand all aspects of the brand and are motivated to live out the brands purpose in all they do.

What’s your experience of the Vida e Caffè brand?

 

Dove: Competitive Advantage through Positioning and Differentiating

A brand is only as good as its ability to successfully differentiate itself from its competitors in the market and favourably position the brand in the mind of the consumer to gain a competitive advantage. This blog post will address how the Dove brand has successfully positioned and differentiated itself, how it has managed to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors and will highlight the importance of differentiation and positioning for the brand. Lastly, it will look at the ramifications for the brand due to its successful positioning and differentiation.

In 1957 Dove launched, it differentiated itself from competitors by positioning itself as a “beauty bar” as opposed to a soap (like its competitors), and emphasised that it contained ¼ moisturising cream, was gentle and was not drying to the skin like other brands in the category. As the years went by, competitors started to mimic the brand in terms of its moisturising aspect. Dove had to look at new ways to evolve and further differentiate itself in the market and gain a competitive advantage.

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Dove print advert differentiating itself from competitors, source: https://bit.ly/2DbC2h8       

This was how “the real beauty” campaign was born in 2003. This campaign was unconventional in the sense that it stood to redefine unrealistic beauty standards by showcasing women of all sizes, and across age, with all of their flaws and imperfections, which were portrayed as beautiful, self-assured and confident women. It spoke to the masses of women who deal with self-confidence issues and reassured them that they are beautiful as they naturally are. Due to the unconventional boldness of the campaigns commercials and advertisements, significant conversation was generated both on and offline of the brand, including media coverage. This new positioning strategy was great for the brand in the sense that it generated free publicity and increased brand awareness. Dove sales increased by 700% during the first half of the year after the launch.

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The functional product benefit such as gently, moisturising and not drying to the skin has remained the core differentiating factor about the brand. The brand has managed to further differentiate itself by offering intangible value to consumers. It has done this by positioning itself as endorsing realistic beauty standards by encouraging real natural beauty in order to build consumers (especially women) self-confidence, self-esteem and ultimate self-acceptance across all consumer touch points. By doing this, it has managed to resonate with its target market who believe and buy into the brand for what it represents and stands for, in support of the movement towards celebrating realistic beauty standards. No other brand in its category has authentically achieved this and Dove has gained a competitive advantage in its category due to this positioning strategy.

(Dove commercial, Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNYjRmNCu9o)

Dove also differentiates itself from its competitors by consistently communicating and endorsing real natural beauty, self-confidence and self-acceptance across all platforms (commercials, print adverts, website and social media) by featuring imagery of real ordinary women. It is also the only brand in its category that distinguishes itself by taking a real beauty pledge not to distort or visually enhance any of their images of women. No other competitor can promise this. Furthermore, Dove encourages dialogue and invites women to join the conversation about beauty across their various social media platforms. This develops a sense of community with the consumers, encourages engagement with the brand and also allows consumers to establish a connection with the brand. The Dove brand uses a customer-focused approach and the brand is positioned as having the consumers best interest at heart in wanting to empower consumers to be confident in their own skin as they naturally are. Dove gains a favourable place in the consumers mind in this instance as this is not done by competitors in the personal care category.

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Dove social media post, source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/DoveSouthAfrica/posts/?ref=page_internal
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No digital distortion of images, source: https://www.dove.com/us/en/stories/about-dove/introducing-the-no-digital-distortion-mark—dove.html

Furthermore, unlike other brands in its category, Dove differentiates itself by utilising a cause marketing approach through its social mission initiatives to illustrate that dove is committed and believes in what it portrays to be endorsing. The “Dove Self Esteem Project which looks at self-esteem education to build self-confidence and empower women and girls across the world to reach their full potential. This positions the brand as being committed to creating social value and helps to distinguish the brand from competitors. Consumers emotionally buy-in to the brand from this aspect as they feel that they are doing the right thing to help other women and girls that may be struggling with self-esteem/confidence issues. This is also beneficial for the brand in the sense that it establishes a base of customers that are brand loyalty and customers are more likely to pay more for a brand that is committed to creating community value (Nielson Global Online Survey; 2015) The brand can, therefore, ask a higher price as the perceived value is high.

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Dove Self-esteem project, source: https://dsep2017.devpost.com/

Dove products are positioned as a personal care product that caters to the everyday women across the world. They predominately focus on positioning their brand around aspects of femininity and beauty that speak to the female market. The brand is positioned unlike other brands in the personal care products category in that it aspires women to embrace their natural looking beauty as they are regardless of their shape, size, age or race with the aims to celebrate realistic beauty standards and ideals. 

Dove has successfully managed to have a competitive advantage in its category because it has looked beyond the product features of the brand to differentiate itself by focusing on endorsing realistic beauty standards in a beauty-obsessed culture. It achieves this through its effective positioning strategy that resonated with their target market in positioning the brand favourable in the mind of the consumer. This has meant tremendous success for the brand in establishing brand equity, brand loyalty and sales.

What other brands do you think have successfully positioned and differentiated itself?

 

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 https://bit.ly/2q89ooB

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.

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(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.

packaging
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.

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1957 Dove print advert: retrieved from Daily Mail https://dailym.ai/2q65oW0
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Dove soap editorial, retrieved from Dailymail https://dailym.ai/2q65oW0

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-QkhNrldy4)

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.

References:

Dove. n.d. The Dove difference. Available on https://www.unilever.com/brands/personal-care/dove.html accessed on 18 October 2018

Dove. n.d. Our vision. Available on https://www.dove.com/za/stories/about-dove/our-vision.html 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 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4103774/Darling-m-having-extra-ordinary-experience-m-head-heels-Dove-beauty-bar-turns-60-look-vintage-ads-helped-make-household-name.html 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  https://jessicakohl.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/the-real-beauty-of-doves-brand-identity-in-the-real-beauty-advertising-campaign-strategic-analysis/  Accessed on 19 October 2018.

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