The Real Beauty Campaign: Dove Evolution

30 Mar

Imagine a World Where Beauty is a Source of Confidence, Not Anxiety.

Dove is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was launched worldwide in September 2004 to widen the definition of beauty and to provoke the discussion of beauty becoming limited and unattainable. Dove utilized the structure of the groundswell to relay the message to all women.

The groundswell structure consists of five initial objectives that companies aspire to practice. Those objectives are listening, talking, energizing, supporting and embracing (Li and Bernoff, 68). The groundswell speaks of the contraction POST, people, objective, strategy, and technology. This contraction can help companies determine what your consumer looks for in terms of a social media presence. In other words, this will explain their involvement based on what they’re already doing (Li and Bernoff, 67).

For the people aspect, Dove reviled when listening to their consumers, found that their demographic of females of all ages are in lack of self-esteem and confidence of their beauty. The second step of this contraction is determining the objectives of the groundswell. Before Dove decided what actions to take, they set the goal of reaching at least a million females and letting them know that they’re beautiful regardless of today’s standard of beauty. Dove also proved through Dove Evolution that today’s standard is a transformation, not natural. Determining the strategies between the social media outlets is the next step, authors Li and Bernoff brought up the idea of asking, “How do you want relationships with your customers to change?” (Li and Bernoff, 68).

Dove wanted it’s consumers to know the unrealistic perceptions of how beauty is created and that beauty is attainable. The last step in this contraction is the technology aspect. Dove chose YouTube to jump-start their Dove Self-Esteem Fund with Dove Evolution. In continuation, Dove posted Dove Evolution on their Facebook and Twitter with the hope to prolong the message.

In 2006, Dove launched its Dove Self-Esteem Fund, a program that helps develop workshops for girls and boys on issues surrounding beauty perceptions. Within this fund, Dove’s goal was to reach out to a million girls through this program. Dove believed that beauty should be a source of confidence, not anxiety.

In September 2006, Dove Evolution, a 75 second viral and compelling short story, was produced to depict the transformation of an everyday real woman, into a model. One of the main focuses of Dove Evolution was to raise awareness of the unrealistic perceptions of how beauty is created. Dove Evolution first aired during Super Bowl XL resulting in almost 500 million impressions. The viral-film was posted to YouTube early October 2006, within less than one month the video went viral with more than 1.7 million views (Ad Age). The surge of traffic to Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty website, nearly doubled what Dove’s Super Bowl ad drove (Li and Bernoff, 216).

The Dove brand is rooted in listening to women. Dove’s objective of consumer research transformed to consumer listening in the groundswell. Listening serves as the ongoing monitoring of consumers’ conversations with each other, instead of occasional surveys and focus groups (Li Bernoff, 69). The Dove Evolution makes it clear that the diversity of human beauty has been strained through a sieve of culture, status, power and money. In 2004, Dove constructed phone interviews to listen to what women had to say about their “beauty.” Only 2% of women that were interviewed choose beautiful to describe their looks. In Dove’s action of listening to their consumers, in return they established the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. 

“Dove knows that the relationship women have with beauty is complex: it can be powerful and inspiring, but elusive and frustrating as well,” said Sylvia Lagnado, Global Brand Director of Dove. “We sponsored this study in order to probe more deeply into this intricate relationship. Dove wanted to understand how women define beauty; how satisfied they are with their beauty; how they feel about female beauty’s portrayal in society; and, how beauty affects their well-being.”

Instead of marketing themselves, Dove began talking directly to their demographics. According to Li and Bernoff, participating in and stimulating two-way conversations with a company and their demographics, allows for continuous communication (Li and Bernoff, 69).  Dove aims to establish steady relationships with their consumers, whether through social media or direct conversation. Dove Evolution was a benchmark in Dove’s actions to let their demographic know that they are there for support. On their website, Dove has archives of articles and advice about self-esteem and beauty. Having a presence on both Facebook and Twitter, Dove posts at least three times a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. The existence of conversation between Dove and its consumer on social media outlets lets the consumers know that they’re listening. The surveys that Dove post on their Facebook page engages conversation and interaction.

Supporting, enabling a company’s consumers to support one another (Li Bernoff, 69), showcases Dove’s involvement in the community.  The partnerships with Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girls Inc., and Alliance for Women in Media, demonstrate their objectives. Dove supports their partnerships with after-school programs, self-esteem building events, and educational resources. On their website, there are activities, articles, and advice that are available for their consumers that may not be comfortable or may not know how to talk to someone about.


In my opinion, I think Dove was right on point when employing all of the groundswell objectives. Every aspect of their social media outlets, Dove’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel focused on the needs of the consumers. In all honesty, I think if Dove continues with their social media efforts, I see no need for change. As time goes on, Dove will continue to grow their Twitter handle with posts, mentions, and replies, as well as their other social media outlets. The least feasible functions of the groundswell, in my opinion were embracing and energizing. Embracing is the function of helping the consumer work with one another to come up with ideas to improve a companies products and/or services (Li and Bernoff, 69). Energizing is the function of making it possible for a company’s enthusiastic consumer to help sell one another (Li and Bernoff, 69). Dove’s objective and strategy was to focus on the consumer, not their products or their brand.

Dove has more than 6.7 million “Likes” on Facebook. In March 2012 alone, Dove’s Facebook page has 653,000 “Likes” and 913,000 people talking about the company. Dove’s Twitter handle has over 3,500 tweets, following over 8,000 handles and over 21,000 followers. Establishing only 11 months ago, Dove’s YouTube channel has 241 subscribers, 39 videos with over one million video views. I think Dove has done an excellent job utilizing the functions of groundswell. I always knew that Dove was engaged with their consumers, but after doing research I realized that Dove’s main objective is to raise awareness of this ongoing issue behind unrealistic beauty, not their brand.

Works Cited:

Ad Age. Neff, Jack. Better ROI From YouTube Video Than Super Bowl Spot. Oct. 29, 2006.

http://adage.com/article/news/roi-youtube-video-super-bowl-spot/112835/

Li and Bernoff. Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies.

Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

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