The thesis statement: Dove brand has evolved into a real beauty product in the world market.
Uniliver was in corporated in 1930 when brothers merged with a Dutch company. The company has been selling products worldwide under global decentralization. the product that has been sold worldwide include; cleansing bars, body washers, hand washers ,face care, hair care, deodorants and body lotions. The Company unveiled a brand name under unilever Dove to do away with some of the brand which was many. The company initial had many brands operating in the market and they were very many.
The success o f dove brand was due to integrated marketing adopted by the company in 1957. After the Second World War the company launched the first dove product in form of beauty product which was a product that one was to use and the skin will not dry. They begun with an “advertisement” does not dry your skin because one quarter of its cleansing crème the company targeted ladies by showing photographs of women have been using. To begin with, the brand was launched by Ogilvy and Mather advertising agency and they used various marketing communication elements to push through the market. Some of the major modes of communication were advertising, sales promotions, public relations and personal selling. The product was mainly advertised on televisions billboards and printer this lead to the product having the largest market share in the United States of America. It has taken the company‘s marketing department to realize that just having a good product is not all, but because of good marketing strategies that have been employed. This has ensured the defeat of competitors.
Unilever’s marketers had a good integrated marketing strategy because they had a good dove brand, and presented it to the right target market at the right time using the right procedures. For instance they had a clear audience in mind because they had produced a beauty products inform of hair care products, face care, body lotions, hair styles products and hair care products. The companies target audience was all people of all ages who used a lot of beauty products and hence needed more of new brands. This made the product stay a head of the competitors such as Procter and Gambler product and Beiersdorf’s Nivea. This is why they decided to target all people, youth, teenagers, children, and middle aged and old people. To do this, the organization had to target hot markets by global decentralization and diversity. This brought in a problem of control since the products of the company grew in manner that was not uniform world wide for example ice cream was the worldwide largest product but it lacked unified global identity. The most important aspect of integrated marketing is to identify a target audience or market. In year 2000 dove moved to change the image of this product. They did this by doing good image analysis and assessing the image of Dove Brand among the competitor’s brands. They also tried to ensure that dove brand had to fit into the beliefs and attitudes of the target market. After identifying the target market, they had to identify the communication objectives, what they had in mind to tell this target market. (Why buy dove brands?) They had to convince these young people to buy dove brand and surely they did this by putting the marketing ideas it into the minds of young and old people and changed attitudes and perceptions of these people towards the brand, and depending on the response, most people worldwide really believed that dove brand was the best beauty product. The company moved to reduce they brand from 1600 to 400 and they formed master brands which served various types of products as well as decentralization the product but not manner that was unified as previous. In each Masterbrand it remained targeting the same target market but having a global brand unit with a global vision in all geographical marketing. This increased its sales making it rise and become the best brand in most European, Asian, American and African countries.
The success of dove brand also could be because of the other most important element of the integrated marketing after there was good understanding of the objectives of the target market;. This was done trough changing the slogans of advertising from what used to be that is giving functional benefits and superiority by carrying out research among women and other experts to choose the best product campaign for the brand. The experts and marketers for the company designated good communication messages targeted towards the target market of women and other beauty lovers of “The Campaign for Real Beauty”. The beauty lovers need captivating slogans that can be associated with power, beauty, tenderness, sex etc, strong slogans also made most beauty lovers to try and fit ‘the crowd’ starting with the term ‘The Campaign for Real Beauty’ was a good message designed to attract the target market because the slogan depicted beautyness and tenderness and as time went by the women and celebrities had to give the brand nick names to fit into their description. Strong designs of the dove brand and photographs of beautiful women and followed by message through words, pictures and even the shape of the women half naked plus real time voting of beauty lovers. Some of the factors too that led to its success for example in 2000 they included photographs of women and children as well as evolution film that targeted a wider market. Good messages however that were designed needed to reach the target market through various forms of communication channels. Dove brand used various communication channels to carry their messages that they relied on traditional advertising techniques like TV, newspapers and magazines, probably in most countries they also use bill boards, and through the radio. They placed adverts that had quality messages with good message content i.e. the messages had good appeals, themes and unique selling preposition and they had good appeals to people both emotionally and morally. Dove brand adverts also were well structured i.e. ‘Hates her Freckles’, “wishes she were blonde”, and the film to reinforce good brand identity. Good format of their adverts is to be given credit because it is evident that they had advertisements beside on good illustrations, color good choice of words and phrases. This is because they realized that his target market paid attention to various features i.e. dressing posture, hairstyle, color, texture and shape who gave this information? Good message source is credible, unilever realized that to lure the target market into the dove brand they had to use people who would be believed by this target market. They used the writer of the book survival of the prettiest, and the writer of fat is feminist issue and other celebrities and used hot markets for the promotion of dove brand. This is because to make the target market believes on the product good marketers should use those people they loop up to, to send the message about the product.
The main aim of the company was to make more beautiful by offering the product that will give them beauty. To support this, a mission statement was summed up has;
“If you are not crystal clear what the brand’s mission is, you cannot control what happens when people amplify it. Everyone working on Dove knows these words by heart. They know that the mission statement does not say Dove is about women feeling more beautiful, but… about more women feeling beautiful. Our notion of beauty is not elitist. It is celebratory, inclusive, and democratic”. Deighton J., (2008 pp. 5)
Integrated marketing, there was good budget allocation for all communication that lead to announcement of contents titled ads by real women which was to inform the target market to create their own adverts. The ads slogans such as ‘what you see, feel, smell and hear’. The promotional mix tools that were used by dove brand also played a major role in placing dove brand at that high position. The use of effective advertising like through TVs, radio and bill boards to make sure that people believed that all that advertising offers a good value. It also helped to build long term image for dove brand and it is good to note that in 2007 sales for dove brand rose highly especially in Africa, Europe, America, and North America due to vigorous advertising. Good sales promotion also ensured that dove brand drew a quicker response to the short run; some of the sales promotion methods that helped dove brand to be successful to the sponsoring of events and competitions throughout the world which made beauty lovers to get to know a lot about the famous product. They also used the creation of experiences designs and contests. This led to the success because customers are given one on one treatment on experience with the product.
Sometimes brands can be faced with unfortunate poor public relations and dove brand is not an exception because not all people had good intentions with the brands all through. Competitors always in any way try to beat down their competitors through negative publicity. At this point there is the need for public relations and publicity due to media dissent when they claimed to that the product was mistreating the public by bringing
“chunky women in their underwear have surrounded my house…,I find this ads a little an settling if want to see plump gals baring to much skin, I’ll go to taste of Chicago,OK?” Chicago sun times (Deighton J., 2008 pp. 6)
This negative publicity and controversy affected the company marketing to deal with this there was the use of public relations. The company also used public relation skills to deal with information that related to the dove brand. There was a rumor that the dove brand was promoting an ethical advertising means. To deal with this company responded positively to reinforce the product mythology of strength by identifying personalities in the media and entrainment to be part of advertising and promoting the product. This lead to what was called dove real beauty award which was featuring American women who work in the media. They also came up with a global fund that targeted women and girls in creating confidence in them. The fund supported girls between the ages of 8 – 17 with educational resources this was aimed at promoting the product. This lead media accepting the products in the market and one magazine Newyork times wrote an article ‘Social lubricant does how marketing campaign became the catalyst to societal debate’.
Dove brand sales people also led to the success of dove brand because they were dedicated to personal selling and tried all they could to set the product including adapting marketing strategies similar to those of Procter and Gambler in this case the management of the company operated brands which were competing in the same market with each brand having their own manger and policies. Each brand manager was assigned duties of managing director in relation to the brand, including choosing the profit target, designing strategy and marketing strategies.
They confronted customers directly and interacted freely about the product and made people to have that feeling to be under some obligation to have listened to the sales talk. Dove brand marketing strategy also included direct marketing where there was the use of media personalities and students through scholarships who were given brand products to use in colleges and schools.
All brands in a competitive market have various challenges that they have to adhere or adjust to. Just like other brands, the major challenge that a brand faced was the rise of competition. All companies in a competitive world have to accept real competition unless in a monopolistic type of market. Competition can be defined as a group of firms, that offer a product, or class of products that substitute the products of a company. In 2006 to 2007 new brands name was unveiled into the market and this was because some people realized that the success of dove brand meant that there was an opportunity in the beauty product market. Introduction of competition to the market meant that dove brand had to face a number of brands that were trying to initiate similar techniques to get the market share that dove brand had acquired over the years and marketing techniques. Some of the companies’ brands that posed a challenge in dove brand included a marketing threat to unilever. To deal with this type of challenge, unilever had to challenge some of the competitors through challenging the products by brand management.this involved brand development and evolving the idea of the future market. This was a great challenge that the company had to deal with. The explode various methods of advertising including choosing a television strategy and online company shop.
The second and perhaps the most serious challenge that dove brand faced was the issue of media because most people in the media gave the product negative publicity. They received a blow because as the result of this the product was at one point negatively described by various media houses giving the product the bad name. From New York to Chicago the company’s adverts were ridiculed by the media fraternity. the Chicago sun times described one of the advert in manner that was ridicule giving the brand a bad name the company responded to the challenge of the media and product awareness campaigns dove brand management and marketers decided to be more innovative and focused more in market research to produce products that could lead to diversification as well as incorporating the media personalities in to the adverts. This meant that unilever had to focus more on research and development of new products. Other challenges that dove brand faced were the reduction of the target market because as time went by most of the target market tended to reduce. This is because it had to recruit new people of the because as time went by most of the young women who used dove brand aged and ceased to be part of the young enthusiastic young customers who formed the dove brand market this mean that they had to hope that young people could continue to use the product even when they grew and changed from their youth years.
The other challenge that dove brand faced was the entire focus on one product and this made it easy for a competitor to create a product that could easily counter them in the market and to deal with this challenge they had to winnow down their 1600 brands to 400 and to deal with the issue of their customers growing and changing form the young enthusiastic youth who formed dove brand a good target market, they produced new age beauty products that served old people.
Innovation and brand diversification is the key to beating product challenges and once dove brand identified its major challenges it had to ascertain its characteristics and specify strategic, objectives look at its strengths and weaknesses, reaction patterns and ways to react to these challenges to overcome them. To do this the pioneer of dove brand decided to send the dove to deliver the message. They monitored the competitor’s expansion plans, size and other factors and decided to plan and game plan to counter the challenges. Unilever continued to defend their market share by continuously expanding their total market size and defended their product against rival attacks.
Developing the dove brand perhaps was the most important step in the success of the product because dove brand was majorly emanated as a product that stood out of the crowd as a distinct brand. A good brand is the cornerstone of marketing and dove brand is no exception. It is definitely a way of life. Dove brand is a brand that relies on entirely word of mouth or buzz marketing strategy when brand personalities or those who have used the product before make people to come in and begin to use the product. Making a product to be accepted fully in the market takes a long time and requires long term investment. The dove brand became a way of life when most young people began to start their attachment to the brand. To do the company started by targeting hot markets such as newborn babies, young men, young women and old people to create brand visibility and then made the product to look hard to get brand so that people could have that urge to use it. Dove brand had specific set of features that made to look nice a way of beauty rather than a product it had good sets of features benefits and good consistent attributes to the buyers or target market and it had that quality. Good advertising through the use of sponsoring events and the youth life like extreme events the product had a large following especially with the youth who longed to be associated with the brand young women from the age of 8 –17 wanted a share of the fund.
Company through vigorous advertising realized that he had to develop a new culture by making the product available to most people who liked it in times. They made it a style rather than a product and made it part of the people. This was done through sponsoring youth events, beauty contest and because they used the idea of participation where most of the participants had one on one experience with the products, there was their development of the dove brand that had a great persuasive power and value in the market place.
Dove brand had that social responsibility touch by giving back to the customer in resource a good experience especially by sponsoring contestentants and youth events and saving the beauty product. The dove brand developed a strong culture that led people to relate it with a certain way of life i.e. most youth related dove brand with beauties. The adverts that dove brand used to promote its brand has grown into the mind of young people positively leading to increased sales of the product especially this is because people talk about the product in different ways that show the rumors ways they perceive the product. The ideas of sponsoring events spread messages about dove brand giving it a competitive advantage over the competitor brands which had sprung up in the year 2001. Dove brands advertisements were also a show that the brand exhibited a culture of beauty because of the word of mouth strategy of advertising (buzz) most people learn about dove brands from their peers and this showed that personalities of the product did much on the marketing and recruitment of customers.
But above all the most interactive way that made dove brand form part of life of most young women is the association with beauty contests. This is because contests are the most influential social activity and once a product is associated with beauty contest the trial is done. They had to give back to the people by organizing such event that promoted dove brand. This was far to the extent of coming up or sponsoring art creative contests where people used dove products to beautify themselves and participate in the contests. And hence through these experiences people became believers in dove brand. To say that a product is part of life of particular people we mean that that product has a lot of significance of that people who form the customer base. The company started brand management by ensuring a birth to growth was that each product have its own brand manger this improved innovatiness and long term market improvement. So the approach was not sale approach but persuasive and as company believed if a brand is well developed and presented by building a mystique it wont be had to market it because people will be looking for the product. That is how dove brand gained this position as a market leader
Dove brand was also later perceived by women as way of beauty and this for any brand is very important aspect because women want to associate themselves with things that will turn them on sexually or the product that relates to fertility. That is why company new that as much as he could loose property money and pride, his main aim was to build a mystique and they belied that they do not bring the product to the people but the people to the product after they developed the brand. It was now the people to join their way of life and surely dove brand succeeded. It was not beauty but the way of life.
- Armstrong G. & Kotler P. (2007). Consumer Markets: Influences on consumer behavior, Principles of Marketing.
- Deighton J., (2008); Dove Evolution of Brand, Harvard Business School.
- Grant, R. M. (1991). Contemporary Strategy Analysis: Concepts, Techniques, Application. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.
- Johnson G, Scholes K and Whittington R, Exploring Corporate Strategy, 2006, Prentiance, Hall, 7 th Enhanced Media Edition,
- Kotler, P. (2005) Principles of Marketing. New York.Melbourne Press.
- Penrose, E. T. (1959). The Theory of the Growth of the Firm, New York: John Wiley.
- Winer, R.S. (2007). Marketing Management, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.