A Complete Case study on the Marketing Strategy of Dove & it’s Campaigns

Updated on: Mar 28, 2023
Marketing Strategies of Dove - Featured Image

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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

Practical assignments, case studies & simulations from Harvard Business Review helped the students from this course present this analysis.

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Marketing Strategy of Dove – Introduction

Some brands have grown exponentially since their inception. Dove is one of them. It started its journey in 1957 from the US and now the products are sold around 150 countries. How did they manage it? What did they do to increase their customer base? How did they manage to keep their consumers coming back? We think that Dove’s Digital Marketing Strategy played a major part in all this.

To keep up with the market, Digital is the new and effective space to tap on. IIDE helps learn you how to effectively use digital space to advertise and showcase your brand to a tremendous number of consumers. It provides different types of digital marketing courses and supports in-depth learning.

This case study analyses a few e-marketing strategies used by the company to give you an insight into what they have been doing.

Marketing Strategies of Dove - Dove

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

About Dove

Unilever is the parent company of Dove, originating in the United States. Dove products are manufactured in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.

Dove has a wide range of products which cater to the needs of men, women and toddlers as wekk. Dove’s logo is a silhouette profile of the brand’s namesake bird. Vincent Lamberti was granted the original patents related to the manufacturing of Dove in the 1950s, while he worked for the Lever brothers.

Marketing Strategies of Dove - About DoveNow that we have a brief knowledge about Dove, let’s dive into its Marketing strategy.


Dove’s Marketing Strategy

The primary ingredient of the Dove products is synthetic surfactants along with palm kernel and other vegetable oils and salts derived from animal fats such as tallow. At the same time, Dove products are accredited under PETA and hence, there is no animal testing involved in the manufacturing process.

  • The biggest advantage being freshness and moisturizing properties of Dove products for women, its venture into Baby Dove has been an excellent marketing strategy. Mothers around the world have instantly fallen in love with products like baby bar and body wash to baby lotion simply because of their quality. While rich moisture products keep the tender skin soft, sensitive moisture products keep skin safe from allergies.
  • For men, in January of 2010, Dove brought out the Dove Men+Care that includes shampoo, body wash, and deodorants.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Dove’s Marketing Strategy


Target Audience

Women who are active online became the core focus of Dove’s target market on digital and social media. The brand focused on females, ages 18 to 35, who valued natural, healthy beauty products. Naturally, for such socially engaged and image-conscious women, “selfies” were hugely popular.


SEO Case Study

WHAT WOMEN WANT was a dove initiative for using SEO to create the highest engaged Hair Care content destination in India.


Brand insight

Dove, as a brand has for long contained the beauty heritage in the mind of the beauty aspiring Indian consumers. The Indian beauty market is getting cluttered due to the influx of newer brands in the segment. Multiple brands arrive, make claims, promise, and often leave the consumers confused about the right products for them. Trust and belief were declining among the audience. They were needed to bring relevance to Dove’s hair care products and engage with the audience. Being surrounded by fashion and beauty brands, getting women to be loyal and in constant conversation was difficult. But, according to the studies, women in India, are looking for content that will help them stay beautiful.


Consumer insight

Women want to be well turned out for every occasion be it hanging out with friends, or a wedding, or even an everyday corporate do. They also lacked in information sources- magazines, beauty blogs, etc. the dilemma of ‘deciding what is right for them continued. No single platform existed to cater to all their questions in one place, in a manner they could trust and rely upon. So, Dove created its website. Space where women can have relevant and customized conversations about their beauty needs without brands telling them what to do.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Dove’s Marketing Strategy - SEO Case Study - Consumer insight



The creativity of the communication and activation was divided into 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 – Keyword Analysis & Selection

While doing analysis, found websites need optimization for Brand & Generic keywords both also detailed research and finalized the keywords relevant for the category and consumers, apart from brand keywords.

  • Phase 2 – Content analysis and Generation

They found content on all topics related to hair problems/solutions. With the help of the client and content team, they made changes in the existing pages and also added new content to make the website user and SEO-friendly.

  • Phase 3- Website Flow and Link Building

They built a unique strategy to get quality links from different domains which would support brand presence over the web for the brand and generic queries.


Dove Hair Care took the center stage for the hair care universe while being the authority on all things related to hair care for Indian consumers.

  • 54% organic traffic increase

A year into the new launch, Dove Hair Care is the bible for over 1.2 Million people

  • 787 hours of watch time

Sticky content consistently pushed daily ensured revisits to our content pages with less than 30% bounce rate.

  • Ranked No. 1 in the hair category

58% of new users acquired through SEO optimization. Ranked No. 1 within the hair category – Beauty/Fashion/ Style community online

SEO helps you target your audience and with the help of correct and accurate keywords helps you rank on the search engine. Let’s tear into the previous advertising strategies and the marketing campaigns they carried out.

How Dove Has Evolved

At the very beginning of the 1950s, Dove focused its advertisement on showcasing the benefit of their beauty bar – “that it is made with ¼ cleansing cream and that it creams while it cleans.” The ad was highly comparative, asking women to try Dove for themselves and compare it with other usual soaps available in the market and feel the difference.

Dove is all about being different. The advertisements from 1960 had started getting more ladylike, featuring naturally beautiful and thin models. The 1970’s advertising period moved ahead and took a turn toward the anti-aging benefits of using Dove soap. This advertisement crossed all the barriers and went against what Dove stands for today. The period of the ’80s and ’90s focused heavily on comparative advertising, using test strips to show the difference between the moisturizing qualities of Dove compared to the harsh chemicals mixed in other soap bars. The same method of advertising persists for the company.

Dove’s social media platforms are strong with 27 million followers on Facebook and 194k followers on Twitter. On each platform, Dove used campaigns to focus on specific products. While Dove’s Facebook page focused on campaigns every month or so, its Twitter handle is much more active.

Here are some of the social media contents:


Empowering content


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Empowering content


Non-conventional beauty standards content


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Non-conventional Beauty Standards Content



Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Testimonial


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Testimonials




Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Festivals


Eco Friendly & animal care


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Animal Care

Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Eco Friendly


Body confidence


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Body Confidence - Insecurities


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Body Confidence


Care for consumer


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Care for Consumer


Aesthetics and colour / flatlays


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Aesthetics and Colour - Flatlays


Real use


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Real Use

Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Real Use - Tips

Trends/ Happenings


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Trends - Happenings


Consistent themes


Marketing Strategies of Dove - How Dove Has Evolved - Consistent Themes


DOVE advertising strategy from the 1950s to 1990s

Dove started its journey through its first advertisement in 1957 featuring its “1/4 Cleansing Cream”. The ad encouraged users to have an experiment over themselves by cleansing half of their face with ordinary soap and the other half with Dove soap and feel the difference in how velvety and smooth their skin looks. Here is the link to that video- click

A print advertisement published on May 9, 1957, used the tagline, “Suddenly DOVE makes soap old-fashioned!” This advertisement, like the other ads of the 1950s, emphasized Dove’s creaming qualities and differentiated it from other soaps. In reality, Dove did not refer to itself as a soap but it called itself a “bath and toilet bar” as a new way to differentiate itself from the other products.


Dove’s advertising strategy from the 2000s to 2013

A Dove TV advertisement in 2006 was launched showing the photograph of a real woman after she had her hair and makeup done, and lighting adjusted. This ad was also a part of Dove’s earlier Campaign for Real Beauty.

In 2013, Dove beauty bar ad conducted an experiment that directly differentiated Dove soap from one of its leading competitors, Ivory. The woman in the ad used a test paper to show how ordinary soaps strip the skin saying, “If it can do that to test paper, imagine what it can do to your skin.” The ad was very well concentrated on differentiating Dove from other soap bars. This ad brought back the aromatics of Dove’s previous ads which were very much experiment-based and directly compared Dove with other top soap brands.


Dove’s Campaigns

The dove campaign focuses on making women feel confident in the skin they are in. They also aim to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety. Let’s look into some of them.1. Dove started it’s marketing campaigns in 1957 with the “Simple Face Test” and has come a long way since to the “Campaign of Real Beauty”. Their ads were made with the intention of changing the norms. Another advertising campaign called “#ChooseBeautiful”, showed how feeling beautiful and confident comes from within. They also tried to address the issue of body shaming faced by women of different physiques and asking the question of whether beauty comes only in one size.



Marketing Strategies of Dove - DOVE advertising strategy from the 2000s to 2013 - Dove’s Campaigns - Simple Face Test


2. Dove and Vogue India came together to showcase that women from different parts of the country have their own beauty. They produced a series of campaigns in order to break the stereotypical meaning and definition of beauty where women with different hair color, skin tone, physique, height and shape can face the camera confidently and say that they feel beautiful and confident by using Dove.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - DOVE advertising strategy from the 2000s to 2013 - Dove’s Campaigns - Dove and Vogue India


3. Another hard-hitting campaign by Dove called “Choose Beautiful” is a survey with a signboard that depicts “Average” and “Beautiful” in order to find out how women around the world feel about themselves.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - DOVE advertising strategy from the 2000s to 2013 - Dove’s Campaigns - Choose Beautiful


4. This campaign video showed women with different types of getups with a hint of cluelessness over which entrance to select, where some of them are confidently entering through the “Beautiful” door while some awkwardly and in a shy manner entered through the “Average” door. At the end, women were interviewed and all of them stated confidently that they would enter through the “Beautiful” door next time around and most women did exactly that.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Dove Advertising Strategy From the 2000s to 2013 - Dove’s Campaigns - Beautiful Door


5. FBI-trained Forensic artist Gil Zamora was a part of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign where he made two sketches of each woman, one was narrated by the woman herself and the second sketch was described by another person. After both the sketches were completed, he revealed two sketches, it was seen that the one described by another person was glow happier and fresher, which made the women emotional and conscious about the fact that they were more beautiful than they thought.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Dove Advertising Strategy From the 2000s to 2013 - Dove’s Campaigns - Real Beauty Campaign


Via their empathetic approach for branding, Dove has managed to receive a wide and tremendous size of audience. They first understand women’s insecurities and then put their conscious efforts to make them feel better instead of selling their product. They become a top of the mind brand by empowering women. Let us now check out their social media presence.


Social Media Presence

Dove has the highest number of followers over various social media platforms compared to other top brands like Ivory, Olay, and Suave. Dove has a large fan following on Facebook, they try to keep users actively engaged with discount coupons and by answering the queries and comments posted on their page in detail and within a short period of time.


Dove on Facebook

Dove’s social media presence is gigantic and very much interactive. Their Facebook page is updated almost daily which has helped them to drive the fan following to 25.6 million over the platform. The Facebook page is less about direct selling of the products and much about selling the brand name and image. The posts are about encouraging women to be self-confident and celebrate who you are, just the way you are. Dove celebrates real women, using images of women who do not fit the orthodox requirement of a model, and receives a lot of respect and followers for its commitment to celebrating real women. Every comment on the Facebook page is properly and timely responded that creates a decent customer relationship.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Social Media Presence - Dove on Facebook



Dove on Twitter

Dove’s Twitter page is full of empowering posts that have driven the fan following to over 183,300 followers over the platform. The brand posts very few promotional messages via Twitter page, unlike their Facebook page. Dove highly emphasizes developing a brand personality and defining and broadcasting their beliefs.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Social Media Presence - Dove on Twitter


The Dove Website

Dove’s website focuses on screening how Dove works and assists in improving the health of the skin. The website also has information about social missions for which they are working like celebrating real women, supporting positive self-esteem, and defining beauty as confidence. The women featured in their advertisements are neither celebrities nor models or actresses; rather they are fresh-faced, natural, and women of all ages. The Dove Insider program encourages interaction with the brand and develops a sense of community.


Marketing Strategies of Dove - Social Media Presence - The Dove Website


They empowered women, understood women’s insecurities and provided them with solutions to their problems and thereby, building trust and brand loyalty.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC


Since 1957, the Dove soap has come a long way and in this long journey, it has been accompanied by extensive body care products from the brand of the same name. Using cruelty-free and moisturizing ingredients for the products, the main aim of Dove has always been to enrich the beauty and confidence of women especially along with men and infants. 

From soaps to shampoos, deodorants to hand wash, the product line of Dove is long and reliable for getting moisture, pure and clean skin that is naturally smooth to touch. The controversies regarding Dove advertisements being racist are subdued by its campaign to break the conventional definition of beauty. Dove is a one-stop solution for all skin and hair care products. 

Similarly, IIDE is the one-stop solution for all your digital marketing skills. It helps you level up your digital marketing game by providing various courses to revamp your brand. All you have to do is register and develop the enthusiasm to learn. Before you make a decision, sign up for our completely free-of-cost masterclass led by Mr. Karan Shah, the founder, and CEO of IIDE, and learn the basics of digital marketing from the expert and then make your decision.

Thank you for taking out time and reading the case study. Comment down your suggestions and recommendations for Dove’s Marketing Strategy. Share and educate your friends with the same.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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