Dove's Big Brand Gesture

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The Big Brand Idea
Brand communications is a complex world. The role of the brand strategist and brand designer is to take the multitude of nuances of brand proposition, brand strategy, brand personality, market positioning and key brand messages and translate them into a simple piece of brand communication. And the key to doing this is a brilliant brand idea – simple. A beautiful recent example of a brand harnessing the power of a creative idea is the Cannes Lions Grand Prix-winning “Campaign for Real Beauty” for Dove, which has distinguished Unilever in the digital space.

Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty seamlessly weaves Dove’s brand proposition and brand personality into a creative brand platform with all the ingredients to build an integrated campaign linking products like Intensive Firming Cream and Exfoliating Body Wash while encouraging women to define their own beauty and reject big media’s unrealistic and unhealthy definition of attractiveness. A brand’s creative platform is based on the essence of an idea that people – in this case the women of the world – feel passionate about.

“It goes back to the essence of what Dove is about… it’s about redefining beauty stereotypes. And what we’ve learned on a global basis is women feel passionate about that subject. When women feel strongly about something and you give them a platform to speak-out or to create something or to engage with one another, they’ll jump on it. The whole Dove idea really resonates emotionally with women.”
Laura Klauberg, Senior Vice President of Global Media at Unilever

Creating an Effective Brand Platform
It may sound simple, but arriving at the essence of the idea is the result of much discussion, consultation, consideration, and strategic thinking. Typically we work with clients over a period of one to two days, leading them through our strategic brand definition process in a collaborative manner to draw-out all of the key influencers of the brand direction and ensure the brand strategy is best serving the goals of the business. At the conclusion of the workshop process we find the seed of this simple idea has been sown, and awaits the creative process to germinate it into a creative campaign platform. There’s a real skill to funneling the complexity into a simple, engaging idea.

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A Word of Warning.
Multi-platform, integrated campaigns provide a range of channels with which to connect intimately with different markets at different points in their lives, but each of these channels needs to be carefully managed. The Dove campaign is an example of a well executed, integrated brand communications exercise,  but even the experts can take their eye off the ball. Visiting the Dove Self Esteem Fund Facebook page, I was disappointed to find an element of the campaign that had unraveled. The message wall on the campaign Facebook page is filled with advertisements and sales pitches for a number of the latest diet fads. In fact the entire content for this critical aspect of the Dove Self Esteem community has been hijacked, and I fear the people who most matter to the Dove brand have long since been frightened away from the very place built for them. A reminder that every aspect of your integrated campaign needs to be well managed, but none more than the social activations which are a live and on-going expression of the brand.

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So, if you’re looking for the right people to help turn your complex brand ecosystem into an engaging, simple brand idea, or if you need some help integrating your marketing through the world of social, give us a call, we’d love to show you the way.

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
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Brand Designer and admirer of beauty whichever way it comes.


  1. Aligning brand values with a true cause is a natural win-win for any brand. Though, as always, it has to ring true otherwise it’s a futile gesture. I believe Dove’s position on female beauty and support their stance. While I don’t use their products I do feel warmly towards the brand.

    Shame about the Facebook page. They need to get onto that.

  2. Thanks Derek, your position reflects a broader support for brands who stand for a set of values, especially if there’s a cause attached. Getting all of your brand gestures and brand communications aligned is often the tough bit.

    • Hi Stephen, Dove in Australia has built their brand around the same spirit, with a slightly different ‘real beauty’ campaign platform focussing on real women of all shapes and sizes who share a natural vitality and glow. A slightly softer version of the Dove brand philosophy in these examples which for me didn’t have quite the same impact in the market.

    • Hi Ana, the Dove campaign is aimed at a broad 25+ female market with variations through Western countries. At the heart of the campaign is a direct play for women who share the values that Dove is communicating – real and natural beauty.

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