Sample Research Paper on Dove: Leveraging a Brand Asset


Dove was introduced into the market in 1955 by the Unilever Company which was back then known as the Lever brothers (Aaker 1). On its introduction it was positioned as a ‘beauty bar’ which moisturized the skin of the user. Dove became the best-selling soap brand by the mid-1980s due to its aggressive marketing and its approval by the doctors (Aaker 1). Unilever created maximum profits from the Dove brand by extensions of the brand. Product extensions like Dove Haircare, Dishwashing detergent, and Dove body nourishes led to the brand’s growth from its introduction in 1955 up to date (Aaker 2).

The Unilever Company has grown tremendously both in size and sales due to its leverage on the Dove brand. It has managed to exploit all avenues that the brand can have an extension to its maximum advantage. The extensions have contributed to the ever-growing sales success of the company. The Company has also used marketing of its products to its advantage. The intensive and aggressive marketing has also led to the growth of the company.

Situation analysis

The situational analysis with regards to the Dove brand covered in this paper will include the product positioning, value proposition, market conditions, and competitor advantages. This will give clear insight into

Market Segmentation

The Dove brand has products designed for different market segments. The dish washing liquid detergent products target the household products’ market; the body wash products and hair care products target the personal use products market which is segmented into the females and males market. The market segmentation depends on the demand associated with each of the products within the Dove brand. The other companies in the case such as P&G and Olay also have their product markets segmented in a manner similar to that used by Unilever.`The factors considered in market segmentation are mainly the market potential associated with the particular products and the demand for the different products.

Brand Positioning

The brand positioning of Dove is variable depending on the applications of particular products. Initially, the Dove brand comprised only of the beauty soap, which was positioned as a beauty bar relative to other soaps. Currently, the Dove brand with all the different products is positioned s a superior quality brand with specialized applications and additional benefits compared to products with similar applications. In product positioning, Unilever focuses on the product quality value as well as on the customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is achieved through provision of additional benefits associated with particular market segment needs.

Value Proposition

Unilever grows its brand through the maintenance of strong brand equity and the focus placed on customers’ unmet needs. This is achieved through innovativeness, persistence and effective customer response research. For instance, the inclusion of additional product qualities such as Vitamin E and strong marketing strategies has led to Dove’s success even after late market entry.

Competitor Contribution to brand growth

The Dove product brand has competitors linked to the particular products associated with the brand. In terms of personal care products, the major competitor is P&G while the household care products find competition in Palm Olive. These competitors have contributed to the growth of the Dove brand through push and pull techniques. For instance, P&G’s entry into new markets has previously driven the initiation of new market entry in Dove products such as the body wash. This pull strategy led to immature market entry which resulted in unprecedented failure. Also, push strategies such as the strong brand equity enjoyed by Palmolive dish wash liquid led to the push of Dove’s own liquid detergent out of the market.

Early market entry

The contribution of the early market entrance to the success of a brand is clearly seen in Dove’s operations in comparison to these competitors. An example of competitive advantage gained through the early market entrance is seen in Palmolive’s early entrance into the dishwashing detergent market which enabled this brand to push Dove out of the market. Similarly, Olay’s beauty bar and weightless moisturizers both enjoyed stronger market penetration due to early entry.

Innovation to support new entry

One of the innovative strategies that Unilever can use for the initiation of market entry is through the alignment of their various products with the needs of particular geographical target market. For instance, differences in skin types among various target market could be used to develop skin care products for particular markets. An example would be the development of different product specifications to address the needs of the black skin types and those of the white skins. Hair care products may also be modified innovatively to match varying hair types across the globe. This can help the brand to penetrate new markets.

Product Development Life Cycle

One of the market segments targeted by the Dove brands is the personal care products market which includes both males and females and transverses across various ages. Dove products in targeting this market segment are in the growth phase of the product development life cycle. Dove being a global brand, its product growth is measured by its position in the global market. Currently, the personal care products still have more customers who are yet to begin purchasing those products. There is therefore immense opportunity for growth. To achieve success in this growth, Unilever should enhance its marketing strategies to reach out to potential new customers. Distribution efforts should also be strengthened besides concentration on effective R&D for greater product improvement.

Evaluation of alternatives

Palmolive dishwashing detergent is an alternative to the Dove dishwashing detergent. Palmolive promises to soften hands while making dishes clean has a great appeal on the customers. Dove cannot compete greatly with Palmolive in this market because Dove has a reputation of having maximum results on the skin rather than dishes.

Olay come up with disposable face cloths infused with moisturizers. The Olay’s face cloths had moisturizers that had an appeal just like the Dove soap had. Olay used Dove’s strategy of moisturizing property and it worked wonders for them since the clients were appealed by the product.

The ordinary soap has a drying and irritating feel on the skin. This makes it less appealing to the clients as compared to Dove which moisturizes the skin. This makes the ordinary soaps less competitive in the market because very few people are willing to experience the drying and irritating feel.


Dove should carry out extensive research on new markets and be first movers in the new markets. This will make the company reap the first mover advantages. This move will strengthen the brand name and increase customer loyalty. Being a first mover will eliminate some serious competition from other firms due to the dormancy that will be enjoyed.

Dove brands should change with the changing world trends. The products should embrace technological advancements in order for them to appeal to the current market. Unilever should also market Dove products on social media like Facebook and twitter in order to reach to a large market. Nowadays people spend most of their time online; marketing on these online platforms will make Dove band to capture a large market and this will lead to high sales volume for the products. Dove brands should embrace product differentiation in order to have more sales of its products.

Work Cited

Aaker, David A. “Dove: Leveraging a brand asset.” California management review 46.3 (2004): 1-3