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Dove Marketing Strategy

Strategic Management Report

Dove, a global personal care brand is a product of Unilever since 1957. The brand earlier catered to women only but has eventually expanded itself in product line for men-care and baby-care products too. It has also diversified its product line. This report will present a critical review of Dove handling its internal and external challenges over a period. It would focus on success and failures basis the strategies adopted.
This report presents a complete strategic analysis of how the brand operates. It is also a critical discussion examining the key developments and diverse aspects of company in contrast to its competitors. Report would conclude by summarizing the study and providing options for global market sustainability and consistent success.


The Background

Dove is a well-established personal care brand in the world. It is owned by a British-Dutch company Unilever head-quartered in United Kingdom. The first product of Dove, beauty soap was launched in 1957. Initially the brand aimed at catering to women customers but eventually extended its product line to men and baby segments. (Bhasin, 2018).
Dove has expanded its product base from bathing soaps to a total of 5 different categories of Skin Care, Deodorants, Hair Care, Washing & Bathing and Special collections like Dove Elixir Oil. (Backe,2016). Dove has always worked on the principle that consumers should embrace their bodies as they are and hence none of its product line has makeup or cosmetic supplements. Dove established itself as an innovator, from a normal soap to moisturizing soap, curved shape of soap, simple and elegant packaging and unique marketing strategies made it stand out from others in the industry. Brand value of Dove in 2018 is of $6020 Million.

The Purpose

This research report aims to evaluate strategies used by the brand Dove relevant to attain global market share. The purpose of this report is multifaceted. It will understand the involved strategic issues by analyzing the business environment with the help of PESTEL analysis. It will also define factors of environment using Porter’s five forces. It will also analyze the strategies relating to the various internal strengths and weakness and identify external opportunities of growth and related threats for the brand. Report would focus on competitive advantages and disadvantages of the company which helps sustain and retain growth and success by going into information about their recent developments and decisions. Report would conclude by summarizing the study and recommendations for the company for future to grow the brand and mitigate the impact of weakness.

The Scope

The scope of the report is limited to analyzing the brand Dove’s Strategic position in the personal/skin care industry. The depth of analysis will focus on competitive analysis of Dove and its market position in contrast to its main competitors. Also critically evaluate/discuss the company’s internal & external environment regarding strengths, weakness, threats & opportunities.

The Method of Investigation

The assessment approach used is Qualitative assessment. Secondary sources are used to assess in depth the strategies implemented by the company and the internal and external environment factors. To study the factors instrumental for success of Dove, various research data & tools are used. The sources of information are official website, scholarly publications, journals, articles and statistical data (listed in Bibliography. The analysis models used are: SWOT Analysis, PESTEL, Value Chain analysis and Porter’s Five forces.

Research Questions and Objectives

The following research questions are inferred while conducting the research:
What is the company’s response to internal and external challenges?
What was the change in the company’s relative position?
What are the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the company in comparison to its competitors?
The objectives of the research include:
To identify the internal and external weaknesses, strengths, threats, and opportunities
To evaluate the core competencies and the competitive advantage of the corporation
To analyze in-depth about the sustainability of the corporation


(PEST, Porter’s Five Forces, the Industry Life cycle, Strategic Capabilities, etc.)

Political Factors: The political factors are concerned with political stability in the market in which a company/brand operates. It is also the nature of intervention of local and national government in business and economic environment. (Deighton). Dove being a British product, which has a political stability in market. So, operations and trade can be affected by Brexit in near future. But as it also operates in many other countries, this diversity in business can help it to sustain even with problems in one market.

Unilever has agreements in all countries that it sells so there would be no issues in terms of political factors that would affect Dove. Dove is manufactured in India, USA, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Netherlands among others. The political stability varies in many of these developing countries. Other important factors which are vital for political environment are quality of manufacturing units, labor conditions, labor wages and other threats.

Economic factors: It takes into consideration the inflation rate, interest rate, labor market conditions, taxation, disposable income among other economic factors. (Deighton). If the countries in which Dove operates are already facing such economic concerns then in turn it will affect the profitability of Dove. With rise in inflation and interest rates the buying capacity is affected. So, customers can switch brands to cheaper products. With an increase in liberalization of trade policy, dove can invest in newer markets.

The forecast for Global Beauty and personal Care products market is expected to grow at 2.81% CAGR during the forecast period of 2018-2026. Demands are increased due to rise in demand for anti-ageing, eco-friendly and grooming products. Basis this forecast, it is a positive sign for future growth of Dove in personal care.

Socio-Cultural factors: Social factors include cultures, traditions, demographics, societal norms and gender roles. To operate in any market or country the social factors and preferences must be understood and considered. Dove has placed itself as a socially responsible company by launching the ‘Real Beauty Campaign’. Dove has always advertised and projected the brand to encourage real beauty irrespective of class, color, creed or race. But with success it has also encountered some brickbats. Going forward, it must keep in mind the learnings and advertise according to the culture of that country.

Technological factors: Dove has employed a packaging technology called MuCell which reduces amount of plastic used in bottling by as much as 15%. Compressed cans are also being used which reduces carbon footprint by 25%.

Environmental factors: Environmental factors are very import for business and globally governments of all countries have mandated companies to adhere to environmental standards. Company must take care of safe waste material disposition, safe disposal of hazardous material, limiting carbon, safe water treatment etc.

Unilever as a brand is committed to waste reduction and in 2015, its waste impact reduced by 29% per consumer use. Also amount of plastic used is reduced in manufacturing bottles. Dove Body wash is approximately bought by 33 million people, so approximately 275 tons of less plastic is used in its manufacturing leading to lower shipping costs and gas emissions. Dove works on creating sustainable products without comprising on its quality.

Legal: Dove must consider consumer protection laws, intellectual property, patents, copyrights and IPR rights in the countries it operates. E.g. Sale of Goods act 1979 in UK, so for selling in UK, Dove has t comply with this law.

Porter’s Five forces Model:

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Bargaining Power of Buyers: Buyers have an edge if there are many competitors in the same market segment. Customers are price sensitive and there buying decisions can get influenced by advertisements of other brands and similar products in marginal price difference range. Dove’s competitors are Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Sainsbury’s etc., so bargaining power of buyers is high.

Bargaining Power of Suppliers: If there are less suppliers, the bargaining power will be high. Dove has good relations with its suppliers including packaging supplier with MuCell technology. This threat is less for Dove.

Threat of Substitute Products: There are many alternative products available for each product line of Dove. L’Oréal, Clinique, Olay, Lancôme, Neutrogena, Nivea, Pantene, Pert Plus etc. So, this threat is high.

Threat of New Entrants: Dove exists in a saturated market. In Unilever umbrella itself, it has competition from several brands. For any new entrant it would not be easy to match up the benchmark standards set by Dove. So, this threat is low.

Industry Rivalry: Dove has many competitors in global market areas of Asia, Europe and America. It has tough competition from brands Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee, L’Oréal etc. Unilever, parent company has acquired Sara Lee for $1.87 billion as a strategic move to minimize threat of rivalry from industry.


Hitesh Bhasin (2018). Marketing Strategy of Dove. Available at: https://www.marketing91.com/marketing-strategy-of-dove/ (Accessed on: 18.02.19)
https://www.slideshare.net/anirudhjindal/dove-33168695Caleb Backe (2016). Dove Company History and Review: Real Beauty, Real Soap. Available at: https://www.mapleholistics.com/blog/dove-company-history-and-review-real-beauty-real-soap/ (Accessed on: 18.02.19)
John Deighton.PESTEL/PEST Analysis of Dove: Evolution of a Brand Analysis. Available at: http://blueoceanuniversity.com/frontpage/pestelcase/12351-dove-unilever (Accessed on: 18.02.19)
Unilever Dove Marketing Essay. Available at: https://studymoose.com/unilever-dove-marketing-essay (Accessed on: 18.02.19)
Global Beauty and Personal Care Products Market Forecast 2018-2026. Available at: https://www.inkwoodresearch.com/reports/beauty-personal-care-products-market/ (Accessed on: 18.02.19)
11 Ways the Makers of Dove, Axe and Ben& Jerry’s are helping the Planet. Available at: https://www.wayup.com/guide/community/unilever-292539-sponsored-8-11-ways-consumer-goods-company-helping-planet/ (Accessed on: 18.02.19)

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