A brand is the symbol, name, or sign that identifies a specific product or business. Unilever had many different types of brands across the world. And controlling all of them was becoming harder and harder, so Unilever decided to reduce its brands from about 1600 to 400. Then a few of them will be selected as Masterbrands, and each of them will represent a meaningful unified unit on a global scale. Dove was one of Unilever’s many brands.
The first Dove campaign was launched in the 1950s, and as mentioned in the case study, its message was “Dove soap doesn’t dry your skin because it’s one-quarter cleansing cream”; it was focused on its functional benefits and honesty. And soon Dove became one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and was tapped to become a Masterbrand in the year 2000. When Unilever’s Dove launched its “Campaign for real beauty”, the promotion strategy used was cultural branding. However, the message seemed to lack any corporate control when it was released to the public.
Cultural branding can take our brand’s image and vision to places that the company may not want to go to, which what happened with Dove. It was critical for Dove, Unilever’s new Masterbrand that it does not become the brand for “fat girls” or the “ugly girls”; instead it wanted to allow women “freedom to dream. ” One of Dove’s solutions is that it could continue with cultural branding; however have a greater influence on the dialogue. For Dove to use cultural branding they must be prepared to “walk the walk”, “practice what they preach”, and remember that “actions speak louder than words.
If Dove follows its mission statement: “Dove’s mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by broadening the narrow definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves”, they have an opportunity to actually challenge the perception regarding beauty held by women throughout the world. Public relations must be better controlled through careful, thoughtful communication with the media. A problem could arise though, because actions, advertising and wording from every Dove branded product will come under close inspection.
The public and the media will criticize any product from Unilever that does not associate with the cultural branding set in motion by Dove. Without good control, Dove may slip up and allow products to take on an image of its own through several outlets, such as the internet, media, newspapers and so on. Another solution for Dove is to use qualitative research methods that can put Dove on the path to a successful marketing strategy. It can use projective techniques to understand consumer needs and desires without consumers consciously limiting the information provided.
They can do interviews with selected consumers that will allow Dove to dig into the minds of consumers to understand if and why Dove is or not a choice when consumers shop for these types of products. Participant observation in the field can allow Dove to interact with consumers, or observe them over time. The problem with qualitative research methods is that they are a “soft science” and there are no quantitative numbers to back up the science involved with the results achieved. The results that we get from the projective techniques, the interviews, and participant observations, do not provide clear resolutions for the marketing department.
I believe that to make the best use of cultural branding, Dove must combine it with outstanding qualitative research. The new line of Dove branded products, when marketed properly should be more readily accepted into the marketplace. Dove can only start cultural branding after having conducted qualitative research to understand consumer motivations. To combat the effects of “soft science”, Dove must use all its qualitative research methods, and they must detailed and accurate. Projective techniques may be the least helpful of the methods, while the interviews can provide a clear insight into the minds of the consumer.
Digging deep, asking “why” will let us know why consumers make the choices they make, especially if they chose another product over a Dove product. Participant observation in target markets will be important to providing data for a meaningful analysis. We know that sometimes people are not aware of their own behavior; it is important to understand why in certain situations consumers choose what they choose, and we can now that by doing observations. Once the data has been collected, Dove can combine it with data previously uncovered regarding women’s perception of beauty.
We can begin the launch of the semi controlled cultural branding campaign. The “real women” firming campaign will be kept, along with the “Hates her freckles” advertisement. As the campaign progresses, it is important that all Unilever products and brands remain the consistent with the marketing message. One mistake, for example through the Axe brand, could ruin a lot for the campaign, since Axe advertises mainly through sex and beauty. It is necessary that our message is authentic. Some of the reviews on the Dove Evolution video advertisement on YouTube were criticizing Unilever and aying that it’s sending a false message in its products, since Axe was focused on degrading the beauty and Dove was focused on making average women look beautiful. Other people were saying that it completely forgets the male aspect in their campaign, which can also lead to problems because men also use their products. Other reviews were supporting its good work. So Dove must live up to its mission statement in every word and action that it has taken, otherwise they will be seen as a company that is not honest about their efforts to raise the natural beauty of women.
Dove must engage more on the internet, in YouTube, blogs, and all over, and promote the “Real Beauty” of all women, and they must seek the best interests of women, which will be the best benefit for the company. It should also associate the male aspect with its campaign, put them in their advertisements and increase the men’s self esteem along side with the women’s. I believe that if Dove follows up with these steps and applies them, it will be able to launch a successful authentic campaign that will capture peoples trust and raise their overall beauty.