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Dove Addresses Important Issues Through Social Media and Thrives on Feedback

In 2021, Dove was valued at over $5 billion. Much of that growth lately has been a result of their social media strategy which has been called, “ahead of its time”. The brand is now known as a marketing/beauty industry disruptor for its innovative approach to two-way digital communication.

In 1957, Dove was launched as a household soap brand. Today, it is a powerful voice in the beauty industry space. It has expanded from soap to various brand extensions including shampoo, deodorants, men’s products, and more.

Dove’s attitude toward beauty has been inclusive and brave. The brand helps customers think about themselves in an accepting and open way. The brand encourages consumers to be themselves and to appreciate and accept beauty in all its forms. At the forefront of these values and messages is Dove’s digital strategy.

Dove started an unconventional beauty campaign in 2004 with the concept, “Real Beauty”. This campaign evolved into a prominent hashtag and portrayed women without makeup or outside the traditional standards of beauty as “Real”—and therefore beautiful. The strategy almost doubled revenues in ten years. Dove continued with body-positive messaging in 2006 with the Self Esteem Project (#selfesteem). This web portal offered resources for young people to build self-esteem through articles, videos, and workshops designed to help young people accept and appreciate every person’s unique beauty. This campaign helped define how women saw themselves and encouraged body positivity for all.

Since Dove had developed an emotional connection to their customer base, they were able to build off their positive messages and created a social media campaign called, #SpeakBeautiful. Dove teamed up with Twitter and created video content about the negative effects of body shaming. The #SpeakBeautiful hashtag was used over 160,000 times and generated over 800 million social media impressions.

This campaign was followed by the Real Women photo campaign. Dove partnered with Shutterstock and professional photographers to show images of real women and tagged them #beautiful, so their real women would show up on search results. Other photographers were then encouraged to follow suit in the spirit of Dove’s #realbeauty message.

Dove’s latest body positivity campaign is called #showus and they partnered with Getty Images to collect thousands of images by women and underrepresented communities to portray everyday life and #showus what everyday real beauty looks like.

Dove tapped into the unrealistic beauty standards today and parlayed its body-positive messages into tangible marketing results. Innovative social media marketing has helped Dove succeed in getting to know its audience better than ever. In addition to the positive messages, Dove has fully integrated its digital marketing campaigns across all channels to maintain its messages of #realbeuaty, #showus, and #selfesteem consistent throughout.

By creating an emotional connection with their audience and consistently serving positive messages about beauty, Dove has created successful social media strategies that have helped them gain a competitive advantage and influenced other brands to follow their idealistic lead.

—Robert Vergara


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