Dove Case Study
Dove Case study the main problem The main issue affecting the company relates to the real beauty campaign. The campaign was triggered by the quest for a point of view for the dove brand since the functional superiority emphasized in the past was not applicable to all products as it communicated different meaning to different categories. The real beauty campaign risks making dove an ordinary brand thus killing its heritage of inspiring beauty thus impacting on its performance (Deighton 2008). History and Background The history of Unilever Company dates back to the year 1930.
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In this year, the Lever brothers from the UK agreed to merge with Margarine Unie from the Netherlands. Both firms depended on palm oil in the production cooking oil products (Deighton 2008). The company gained roots in all the continents with specific strengths in South East Asia, Africa, Latin America, and India. The company Unilever had over 1600 brands in the market but in 2000, the company introduced a scheme to winnow the brands to just 400 (Deighton 2008). One of the company’s ancient brands is the dove brand. Beauty bar was the first product under the brand as was launched in 1957.
Dove production considers in health and beauty sector such as cleansing bars, body washes, hand washes, hair care and so on. Procter and Gamble’s Ivory , Kao’s Jergens and Beiersdorg’s Nivea are its competitors. The new market decisions by the company were informed by the study of the customer needs. The product was thus developed to solve dry skin problems (Deighton 2008). As for advertisement evolution, since 1957 Dove brand has relied on the functional efficiency of its product in its communication. The recent past (2000) has seen an attempt to develop a customer’s point of view that would become the selling point (Deighton 2008).
Research has continuously played a pivotal role in understanding the consumer needs and in the consequent development of products tailor made to satisfy these needs. In 2002 was the origins of the real beauty idea then in 2004, was the beginning of practicing the real beauty campaign. In the year 2007, the dove brand became the world’s number one n the cleans sector with more than $2. 5 billion in over 80 countries (Deighton 2008). Strengths of the Company One of the strengths of the company is its ease in entering new products into the market. This can be evidenced by its massive 1600 brands in the market.
This represents a lot of wealth of experience in introducing new products spanning from the year of its birth to date. The other strength of the company is its global presence and distribution. The company has succeeded in exploiting the global village phenomenon to create a network around the world. This provides the company a wide market for its product thus eliminating the demand bottlenecks. A diverse market presents greater business opportunities as the firm leverages on the diversities by developing new products to satisfy these needs and thus its growth.
The other strength lies in the global parent company and its management resources and its strong cash position. The company has blended the traditional advertising and promotional strategies. This actually reflects that management resources department in the company has skillful and talented team. The strength of the company is on the use of the internet which is a modern technology to power its advertising campaigns. This is one of the tools that have a great potential in passing the message to the intended clientele. Marketing of brands such as the Dove can easily be done through the internet.
The emergence and expansion of virtual communities is strength as it provides an opportunity for advertising of the Dove with marginal cost and ability to connecting to consumers . Weaknesses One of the weaknesses is in its number of brands. The company has far too many brands most of which compete against each other as well as those of the company’s competitors. This large number of brands proves to be a liability than strength. All these brands compete for the same resources within the firm (Horn, 2009). The public relations department at the company is also wanting.
The adoption of an interactive advertisement campaign presents the company with benefits as well as challenges. Of particular concern are the adverse effects that emanate from the customers response (Deighton 2008). Some of the responses by the customers have the potential of denting the image of the advertising brand. This means that if the advertisment are not effectively managed they can erode the many benefits that can be reaped from this noble and modern approach. Opportunities and Threats PESTLE analysis Political Factors Unilever Company is one company that is affected by political factors.
The company depends heavily on crude oil in the production of its products. The revolutions have resulted to uncertainties related to a shortfall in the supply side of crude oil thus high prices (BCM 2011). Most of the Arab countries have in the recent past been experiencing sweeping calls for protests and hence political instability. This in turn has affected production of crude oil in these countries which coincidentally hold large production scales for global consumption. The political instabilities that have been experienced in the Arab world have posed a serious threat to the company.
Economic Factors Economic factors affect the business since different economic cycles offer varied levels of aggregate demand. Over the recent years, the world has been experiencing a recession. This has impacted on the aggregate demand for all goods within the global economy (Horn, 2009). Persistence of this economic crisis is a threat to the demand of the Unilever products as well. A constriction in demand translates to low sales levels and hence low revenues. Consumers would switch to buying products that are necessities of existence before looking at other products. Social Cultural Factors
People are today more than before cautious of the effect of chemicals on their health. This greatly affects the company’s beauty as well as beauty products. The idea of globalization and its reality has led to changes in the traditional cultural and social patterns. Free movement of people has helped break the archaic beliefs. Interaction between people of different cultural backgrounds is now a reality. This presents the company with the opportunity to invest more on products since the market is now more receptive of products of innovation. It is as a result possible to gain new markets that were traditionally held by the competitors.
The threat is the opposite of that since the company can lose its customers equally easily to its consumers if it fails to sustain its quest to satisfy its customers. Technological Factors Technology is very relevant here. The success of any company depends on its ability to take advantage of the latest developments. The development of the internet presents a new opportunity in marketing. The social media has particularly provided the best advertisement platform. The social media technique is an interactive platform that makes use of cheap tools (Lake 2009).
The social media’s ability to reach the segment that the company targets cannot be is huge. The threats posed by the growth in technology are dire. One of the threats is the issue of confidentiality and security of the organization’s information. The use of computers and the internet within organizations has grown. However, the security of sensitive information is threatened by the susceptibility to hacking. Hacking can expose the company’s secrets which can result to heavy financial and non financial losses. Legal Issues The Dove just like any other product produced by Unilever is at the mercy of state governments and trade agreements.
The emergence of trade blocs has made it difficult for the company to avail this product to some countries due to trade agreements that may not allow this to take place. In the 1980s the dove brand was highly recommended by physicians as well as dermatologists in the treatment of dry skin (Deighton 2008). The recent past has seen may countries pass legislation on issues pertaining to the employer- employee relationship. The legislations have set minimum wage rates which have to be adhered to. This impacts on the company in terms of increased operations costs owing to increased costs in maintaining the human resource.
This increase threatens the financial stability of the company. Environmental Factors The issue of global warming has been subject of debate across the world. The calls to reduce the emission of carbon gases are not relenting. The environmental laws have become tighter. The financial impact on compliance with these laws by the company is massive. The company faces extra costs in terms of the detoxification chemicals. These extra costs threaten to shrink the company’s profits. On the other hand, the company can build its image and productivity through this corporate social responsibility (Filho, & Idowu 2009).
This is a corporate social responsibility which the company can take advantage of in order to gain a good image which can translate to better revenues and thus strong financial accounts. SWOT analysis Strengths The ease to enter new products into the market. The company’s global network. High cash inflows and management resources. Established brand with strong loyalty (competitive advantage). Using the social media to personalize the brand to the audience. Weaknesses contradictory message between compared with others Unilever beauty brands. Weak public relations.
Difficult to move away from the real-beauty campaign(risk of hypocrisy). Opportunities Image building through corporate social responsibility. Expand product offering to more market segment; geographically and demographically. Threats Shortage of crude oil supply. Security of confidential and sensitive organizational information. Increased labor costs. Risk of being seen as a brand for “fat girls”. The Real Beauty campaign can be copied by competitor. Implications of the main issues Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty has pushed the brand along with its parent company Unilever into a corner.
There are a number of issues and threats posed by the subject advertisement campaign that require decisive actions to be resolved. Indeed, the decision to make Dove into one of the company’s master-brands was perfectly reasoned and had the potential to pay off. Firstly, this type of campaigns promoting natural looks and raising people’s self-esteem have been in action for several years prior to Dove’s initiative, as suggested by Hopper (2006). Secondly, Dove’s army of followers that has been growing for decades since the brands inception in 1957 would serve as a supporting factor for its conceptual initiatives.
Lastly, putting major emphasis on online means of advertising expanded the audience reached and pumped up Dove’s reputation as a company that keeps itself abreast of the times. At the same time, these advantages have the potential to turn into drastic consequences of a poorly reasoned out strategy. The first issue was that the models picked by Dove to become faces of the Campaign for Real Beauty have endangered the brand’s image in the eyes of its core clientele. A heavily-freckled girl, a gray-haired old lady, and a group of young women in white underwear that have body forms far from generally-accepted measurements of perfection and beauty.
Indeed, it was Dove’s initial intention to question what was beautiful and if ‘television beauty’ was an achievable state or a torture of one’s body and mind – nothing but an artificially created image. However, this leap of faith was unreasoned: The Campaign for Real Beauty affected the way young women (many of them being Dove’s regular clients) perceived the brand’s positioning. Women who were naturally closer to the universally accepted standards of beauty would have never agreed to drop the aspiration they have been so much closer than women from Dove’s advertisements.
This unpremeditated shift of image and target audience brought drastic consequences for Dove’s sales (Neff, 2007). The second issue was the fact that Dove’s campaign lacked sustainability. This issue involved a number of factors that contributed to the general problem. Firstly, Dove’s product had little to no connection to the message of the campaign because the campaign itself had more resemblance to a social advertisement than a product promotion. A concerned buyer could try to find the link between Dove’s campaign and the product and become frustrated and ultimately disappointed because they would not find any.
Secondly, Dove’s sudden appearance in the of social advertisement scene had raised questions whether they honestly believed and promoted the message their campaign conveyed or was it a mere marketing device. Lack of certainty of the company’s intentions struck suspicion into the hearts of Dove’s core client. Finally, the media coverage of the campaign was dual, as views split. While some reviewers praised the inventiveness, the honesty, and the depth of the Campaign for Real Beauty, others criticized many of its flaws (with some particularly concentrating on the ones mentioned in this paper; Parks, 2009).
Needless to say, that constructive critique beats even the sheerest praises, and this was exactly what Dove’s numerous core customers experienced. Development Alternatives There are several ways for Dove to dodge the threats posed by its highly profitable yet future-less campaign. One of such ‘escape strategies’ is gradual development of the Real Beauty campaign to make it stand out less – this will give the brand the freedom to maneuver and eventually terminate the Real Beauty hysteria.
Although most critics and reviewers praised Dove’s approach to the promotion of natural beauty, they also did not hesitate to acknowledge that it is but an advertisement campaign to sell products – only in a different, more dramatic way, by altering the ‘right’ image of women’s beauty in the public perception (Scriven, 2007). Therefore, Dove can gradually include the Real Beauty idea into a larger concept that would include, for instance, aspiration for beauty by natural means or by minimum application of make-up.
Supporting Dove’s core product with a line of extra-light cosmetics is a perfect second step in this escape strategy. Eventually, Dove will be able to use its Real Beauty campaign as a component for a larger brand development strategy with knowledge about the threats that have been overseen during the 2002 campaign. An innovative approach to resolving the current strategic crisis involves overcoming observable hypocrisy that emerges from the observation and comparison of such Unilever brands as Dove and Axe.
Grow (2008) argues that this situation is not unique, as the widely-known sportswear brand Nike has also faced such issue with their Nike Women line of products. An interesting coincidence is that this is exactly the path taken by Unilever’s management – they launched a separate line of products for men within the Dove brand in 2010. In this way the company tried to show its equally serious approach to women and men, granting Axe the reputation of a joke that should not be misinterpreted as the company’s general line of reasoning.
The main weakness of this alternative strategy path is that neither Dove nor its parent company Unilever know the possible outcomes of this development. The Real Beauty campaign has been a large risk for a $2. 5-billion business; adding a line of products for men is another risk that has been planned poorly and is poised to be a temporary salvation for the rocking boat of Dove’s reputation. One more plan to save Dove from the threats of its Real Beauty campaign is to gradually transform it into a non-profit initiative called to promote natural healthy beauty.
Critics admitted that one of the major threats of Real Beauty campaign was Dove becoming a ‘brand for fat girls’ (Stevenson, 2005, n. p. ). This perspective means that all other buyers are most likely to refuse to support the brand because it is associated with naturally unattractive women which would also affect their own reputation. Although this far-fetched argument is highly subjective, the fuss created by Dove’s campaign has proved that there is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to women’s perception of their own beauty and their aspirations in this regard.
Cook-Cottone (2009) suggests that Dove is one of the companies that promote the ideas of healthy image without resorting to saying it directly. Therefore, transitioning into pro-health status is a matter of initiative for Dove’s management. Moreover, the pro-brand will be saved from the reputation of being ‘for fat girls’ only. Because Dove’s advertisements portrayed regular women, in their own words, everyone could interpret what was regular in their own way. This is why the ‘fat girl’ threat appeared – Dove did not mark the limits of regularity in their perception.
Stressing the health component in the new strategy is vital because it will: 1) Give a positive boost to the brand’s reputation the way all pro-health slogans and programs do; 2) Provide women with health issues and eating disorders with images to pursue (not just being ‘natural’ and ‘beautiful’ by ignoring problems that stand out); 3) Effectively reduce the campaigns influence on Dove’s products because it is tremendously unhealthy in the contexts of business and marketing today. The Preferred Alternative
In spite of the advantages of all the aforementioned alternative strategies, the first one seems to be most consistent with Dove’s business attitude. Developing a larger campaign and entering the market of green / minimalist cosmetics as an extension of the Real Beauty campaign is a good idea and a great exit strategy because it will allow Dove not to over-extend its operations and enter an additional market that is adjacent to its main operations on the wave of support from Real Beauty-lovers. Contingency Plan
There are no financially-inclined concerns about this plan because Dove has substantial reputation and funds to survive the complete failure of this strategy by reverting to its core product, which is still a unique name-giving toilet bar. However, there are a couple of ways to minimize the most probable backfires of this strategy. Firstly, Dove should be ready to come up with sufficient explanatory press-releases of their intentions regarding the Real Beauty campaign. Because their initial intentions (besides selling more products) were vague, putting them into context would be highly appropriate.
Secondly, Dove should not over invest into the new line of products at the initial stages of the program implementation because there already many competitors in the market of light beauty products. However, learning the market and devoting more resources to can pay off well in time. Lastly, there is nearly no way for the brand to drop its Real Beauty campaign because of the large discussions it provoked, which means that ultimately refusing to admit this point of the brand’s history can bring forth indignation of their ideological supporters and spoil their reputation among loyal customers.
Recommendations Action Plan for the Implementation of the Chosen Strategy Strategy Action Responsibility Time Anticipated results Developing an extended Real Beauty program for minimalist daily cosmetic and make-up products Implementing the plan Developing the products Re-launching the campaign Dove management Total time for the project – 1. 5 years Earn trust of critics Provide women concerned with health with quality cosmetic products Promote healthy beauty