A Closer Look at Dove’s Digital Marketing Strategies

In a fast-paced digital marketing landscape, how can marketing specialists find a way to influence purchasing decisions? Dove’s digital marketing strategies demonstrate how you can do it.

With the efforts of major corporations such as Dove, they are using integrated marketing communication to contribute versatile marketing campaigns. Dove has built up an ultimate integrated marketing campaign model that includes multiple elements of advertising, such as print, TVC, social media, and so on. Through this communication, Dove can create a consistent and strong brand message that spreads awareness of its brand while expanding its consumer base and target audience.

Digital Marketing Strategy of Dove

Dove’s digital marketing strategy is built on the notion of being inclusive and promoting body positivity. The brand aims to understand and declare that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and its focus is to celebrate the diversity of real people and real beauty. 

We’ll analyze Dove’s digital marketing strategy in three parts, brand marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, which all circle around the main focus of the brand: promoting real beauty.

Let’s explore together and see how Dove’s digital marketing strategy is developed and what the appreciated and criticized parts of it are.

Dove’s Brand Marketing Strategy

Dove’s brand marketing strategy revolves around the concept of body positivity and celebrating the beauty of all individuals. It promotes the idea that beauty should not be limited to a specific standard but should encompass the uniqueness of each person. 


One of the most remarkable examples of this body positivity strategy is Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign, which connected and well-resonated with millions of viewers.

In this campaign, we see an FBI-trained forensic artist who sketches women, based on their descriptions of themselves. Then these sketches are compared to ones made by strangers who have seen the women for a short time. The emotional revelation is that the strangers’ perception of the women is more beautiful than their self-perception. 

In short, Dove aims to boost women’s self-esteem and challenge the unrealistic beauty standards imposed by society with this campaign, which basically summarizes and demonstrates the main aspects of Dove’s branding strategy. And this branding strategy is actually what we can call Dove’s content strategy, as all the content Dove produces focuses on the same point.

Dove’s Advertising Strategy

Dove’s advertising strategy is directly related to its brand marketing strategy, which is all about promoting body positivity, as any other marketing endeavor of the brand does. 

Dove focuses on evoking emotions and challenging societal beauty norms. The brand’s thought-provoking advertisements spark conversations and encourage viewers to question their perception of beauty. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that despite the positive responses and increased awareness, some controversies have surrounded Dove’s campaign for finding and highlighting real beauty. The public has accused the Real Beauty campaigns of being hypocritical and sneaky, claiming that they are merely a marketing ploy to boost sales. 

There are also more serious negative responses to certain Dove advertisements, especially those insensitive to races. They have damaged Dove’s reputation and raised doubts about the brand’s authenticity and trustworthiness.

While controversies can be detrimental, it is essential to address them openly, learn from mistakes, and ensure that future campaigns align with Dove’s core values of inclusivity and empowerment.

And for now, it does not seem like Dove has learned from its mistakes.

In 2011, the company released an advertisement that sparked criticism since it featured three women with different skin tones. The black woman represented the “before” image, while the white woman represented the “after” image in this ad. 

Of course, this portrayal was heavily criticized for perpetuating racial stereotypes and insinuating that lighter skin is more desirable.

A few years later, in 2017, Dove was once again embroiled in a racially insensitive campaign. The racist connotations of the three-second body wash commercial aroused anger. 

The commercial featured multiple black women removing their tops to reveal a white woman below. 

This sequence made the exceedingly offensive and racially charged claim that using Dove’s body wash might turn black skin white. The advertising sparked international outrage, with some accusing Dove of supporting racial ideology and upholding unflattering aesthetic standards. 

What is especially disappointing is that Dove appears to have made the same mistake by introducing racially insensitive advertising despite public criticism and the opportunity to learn from their previous missteps. These incidents throw doubt on the company’s commitment to true diversity and cultural sensitivity. The public believes that Dove’s repeated gaffes indicate a lack of knowledge and empathy for the experiences and concerns of underrepresented people.

It is vital to understand that organizations have a responsibility to support diversity, combat harmful beauty standards, and avoid propagating stereotypes. To foster an inclusive culture, brands should listen to customer feedback and learn from past mistakes. 

Dove’s Social Media Marketing Strategy

Dove’s social media marketing strategy plays a critical role in amplifying the messages they aim to spread: self-acceptance and body-positivity, and it has successfully connected with its target audience and created a community of individuals who share their values.

For example, Dove has been working to boost self-esteem and body confidence in people through their #DoveSelfEsteemProject, encouraging them to appreciate their natural beauty and offer assistance in overcoming cultural pressures. And the social media campaign below sheds awareness on the concerning number of adolescent girls from Canada who use cosmetic injections, underscoring the detrimental influence of toxic beauty trends on their self-esteem. 

Let’s see another social media campaign from Dove:

Wrapping Up

Dove’s digital marketing strategies have redefined beauty standards and promoted inclusivity through integrated campaigns. However, racially insensitive advertisements have raised doubts about Dove’s commitment to diversity. 

To avoid such mistakes, it is crucial to work with beauty marketing agencies that can guide you in creating authentic and inclusive campaigns. We suggest you learn from Dove’s experiences, address concerns transparently, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to diversity to build a reputable and inclusive brand in the beauty industry. And before reaching out to professionals or doing some marketing magic, we suggest you learn about the top marketing strategies for beauty first.

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