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Dove’s Inner Beauty and the Brand Experience

Brennan White
October 04, 2019

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In 2004, Dove launched its “Real Beauty” campaign that resonated with millions of women across the world. This campaign changed Dove’s future as a beauty brand and has changed the beauty industry forever. Not only has this campaign produced tremendous sales for the Unilever company, but Dove has also achieved a sense of mindshare for its niche. Dove is a perfect example of a brand experience that captures people’s hearts using emotional marketing. Let's take a look at a few of Dove’s Real Beauty Campaigns in the last 10 years to observe and learn more about the great brand experience.

2004 - Dove Conducted A Consumer Research Study

Understand your audience to improve brand experience. 

This was a pivotal year for Dove. Their PR agency helped them conduct a study with 3,200 women (around the world) ages 18-64 to understand the relationship between women, beauty, and well-being. They wanted to understand what it is like to be a woman in today’s society. The research campaign found that 31% of women view themselves as natural, and 29% of women view themselves as average. In addition, only 2% of 

women described themselves as beautiful. These underlying feelings directly affect their consumer behavior because women often buy makeup and beauty products to hide problem areas, not enhance their natural beauty. This study changed the beauty industry forever because it used digital experiences to expose the reality women feel everyday and in our digital worlds. Companies that invest in their audience like this study, will see great ROI. The publicity far surpassed Dove's original goals. We still see the ripple effect years later. This shows that if you invest in improving the lives of your audience, you will see results. 

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Great marketing requires research, creativity, and brand promise. Understand your consumer first, and then provide an unprecedented memorable brand experience. People want to feel they matter. Dove's brand strategy is to help women feel comfortable in their own skin and be themselves. It's a powerful marketing strategy. Dove is the type of brand personality you would want to be friends with. Take advantage of each opportunity to be different from your competition. Marketers that continue to develop their brand identity and use experiential marketing, are the ones we see succeed.

2006 - Evolution Film is launched on Youtube 

Like Dove, make your brand experience meaningful. 


Evolution was a short video that confronted the use of makeup and photoshops to distort women’s bodies. This video had great engagement. In the video, you see first hand how much makeup they put on a model, how her hair is transformed, and even after she is made up, they photoshop her shoulders, her skin, and she is almost unrecognizable. Dove writes on their page that “Evolution helped us encourage positive body image in women everywhere by exposing the truth behind the media’s magic tricks and showing them that our perception of beauty is distorted.” Though digital distortion still widely exists, this campaign brought awareness to this issue. The campaign seemed less about promoting Dove, and more about improving the portrayal of women in the media (with the intent to improve self-esteem). Digital distortion is a huge problem that consumers feel the effects of during their customer journey. 

Often, women compare themselves to models on marketing campaigns, and feel they will never measure up. Dove addressed this problem and provided a solution: we need to stop distorting women's bodies. This is a great tactic to improve your brand experience because the customer will associate you as a positive brand. Brands like Dove that do this, are no longer just a beauty brand. They appear to be much more than that--they are storytellers and pioneers in the eyes of their audience. Campaigns like this improve your mindshare. Once an association is created between a product and a solution/idea, you can radically increase your mindshare by revamping your marketing campaigns into experiential campaigns.

2017 - The Self Esteem Project

Dove implements more ethical, emotional, experiential marketing. You should too. 

unnamed (1)-5Part of where Dove’s success comes from, is their brand promise and brand story. Dove is a brand that has tremendous brand loyalty--even in an age where it's hard to achieve consumer loyalty. For years Dove has practiced message consistency, which achieved increased mindshare for their brand. People associate Dove as a successful brand that cares about women. Even in the user experience, you see their brand promise. Clearly written on their site, Dove writes: “In the 11 years since we launched the Dove Self-Esteem Project, more than 625,000 teachers have delivered a Dove self-esteem workshop and more than 1.5 million parents have engaged with our online content." Their website is designed to give the user a memorable experience by reading women's stories and reading data about self-esteem. This clear mission and results appeals to their credibility and is an exceptional brand experience. Customers want to know they are buying products from companies that reflect good values. Dove has seen this and ran with it. Being a good person/ company is highly profitable.


Their brand experience doesn’t stop there. On Dove’s website you can actually “search for solutions”. This is impeccable user experience. Consumers are usually looking for solutions, so providing them a search tool makes this action effortless. 

2019 (Present) - Dove Stories #ShowUs

Dove continues to use storytelling in their brand experience and experiential marketing. 

Brand experience is important for any business. The customer experience should offer value, and Dove’s short films and storytelling use visual media that engages their target audience. Dove stories about real women are inspiring and make Dove beauty brand for “every woman.” Dove has done something really special: they’ve created a community of women who are talking about real beauty (and their brand). Dove is starting a conversation on social media, asking women to share their own stories and use hashtag #ShowUs (as in “Show us your real beauty”. Women from around the world are using this hashtag to post video/picture, showcasing their real beauty. Dove’s social media is engaging because it offers value and inspires women to be naturally themselves. In the image below, Dove asks its audience to join the beauty movement. As a company, if you can start a meaningful conversation, you will increase your mindshare. Brand experience isn’t just about great customer service or a nice logo. It’s about the experience your customer has every time they interact with your brand. It’s about delivering value to the customer.

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