Dove Harvard Business School Essay

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1. How did Dove’s brand positioning change from the 1950s to 2007? Back in the 1950’s, Dove’s brand positioning was based on the functional superiority and moisturizing benefits of its beauty bar. The message the brand’s advertising campaign was trying to convey to its customers was the following: “Dove soap doesn’t dry your skin because it’s one-quarter cleansing cream.” In addition, Dove’s positioning was all about honesty and authenticity, so the brand preferred to have natural-looking women representing the brand in its advertisements (which appeared in television, print, and billboards) rather than fashion models. In February 2000, Unilever’s strategic initiative “Path to Growth” mandated Dove to serve as an umbrella brand for a variety of products in the personal care categories (e.g. deodorants, body lotions, and hair styling products). Dove’s strategy at the moment was no longer a viable positioning alternative since functional superiority in one product (e.g. moisturizing soap bars) would mean different things for other products (e.g. long-lasting hair styling products). Therefore, Dove was required to change its positioning strategy to one that could be applied over the range of product forms it was now offering. Its new strategy would from then on be based on an emotional connection between the consumers and the products, allowing Dove to transform itself into a lifestyle brand. The mission of Dove’s “The Campaign for Real Beauty” is to make more women feel beautiful by expanding the narrow characteristics of universal beauty (young, white, blonde, and thin women). Also, the new ads feature women of all sizes, shapes, and ages, and are displayed mostly through digital media (Youtube and blogs). As a result, Dove’s positioning strategy in 2007 was much different from what it was in the 1950s. 2. Study the three early Dove ads shown in the case.

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