Dove: the power of product plus emotion

Dove have been getting a lot of publicity over the last 12 months for their "Campaign for Real Beauty". The brand has created a Self-Esteem Fund to promote a healthier attitude to beauty amongst girls and young women, and so help reduce the incidence of slimming disorders. The brand is really taking a stance on an important social issue, and in doing so differentiating itself from the other brands who promote a more stereotypically perfect view.

A post on Brandplay highlights the latest communication that is the most hard-hitting to date (click on the link to go to Brandplay, where you can play the ad). Having met some of the Dove team today, I understand this is a made-for-YouTube viral ad. It shows the process of make-up, air-brushing and re-modelling that goes into the average cosmetics commercial, and ends with the statement "No wonder of perceptions of beauty are distorted."

But an important point about Dove that no-one seems to talk about is the brand’s product credentials. The core of the business remains the bar, with its product truth of "1/4 moisturising cream". The strong product roots of being pure, natural and "real" that gives the brand a solid platform, allowing it to now have a more emotional component. Perhaps the most impressive result the brand has achieved is not the launch of new products such as the firming range, but the growth in share of the US cleansing bar market. This is less sexy than NPD, but more important for the bottom line owing to the higher profit margins. This has been achieved by new variants, continued advertising support and relationship marketing to bar fans.

This potent combination of product functionality and emotional appeal is summed up by the Dove team as "selling products wrapped in Dove’s beauty theory". Sure, build an emotional side to your brand, but make sure you are also delivering relevant innovation.

5-minute workout:
how does the product truth on your brand compare to the "1/4 moisturising cream" of Dove’s cleansing bar? And on the emotional side, what are you campaigning for as a brand, and how does this stack up versus Dove’s "campaign for real beauty" and its Self-Esteem Fund?