Clever manufacturers are taking advantage of the 'Net and blogosphere - free media buzz about a product or ad.

We've written before about how web buzz can kill a brand, the experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State U describe how web buzz can build a brand. Following from their online magazine, knowledge@W. P. Carey. Anyone with Internet access these days can reach the world thanks to "free media." Many of the old filters have been taken down. Corporate news organizations, for example, no longer control the flow of news -- "citizen journalists" can use free blogs or post to YouTube, and the story is out. Now marketers are seeing the brand-building possibilities in free media. Those that are apparently successful -- such as the Dove beauty brand's campaign -- have been able to enlist the public and the traditional media in helping their brand image grow. But there's an inherent risk involved in public participation in branding. Marketers lose control of the messaging when the public becomes helps create branding tools, and if things go awry, as seems to be happening with the Heinz experiment, the damage can counterbalance the potential return. Marketing brands through new media could set companies apart and provide a way to create a dialog with the media and consumers. But is anybody listening? And if they are, will they take the message seriously? John Deighton, marketing professor at the Harvard Business School, recently gave a presentation about the Dove master brand at the American Marketing Association Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium hosted by the W. P. Carey School of Business. Deighton used the success story of Dove's almost overnight transition from beauty bar to beauty brand to discuss a new phenomenon: pursuing participants -- media and consumers alike -- to build the brand's image. "This example has taught me is that managing a brand is no longer a top down, hierarchal centralized activity," said Deighton. "It's a matter of relinquishing control." Brand evolution: the Dove story The Dove Campaign for Beauty has made the topic of beauty itself controversial, but marketers have kept the message itself positive. The message: Real beauty can only be found on the inside and every woman deserves to feel beautiful. The image: Real beauty is portrayed by women who do not have "runway model" on their resumes -- they are the women passing by in grocery aisles or sitting in the office next door. The result: A dialog between Dove and its consumers about the definition of beauty. Dove's marketing push defied conventional stereotypes and advocated for unconventional beauty and self-esteem. But before Unilever committed to the controversial campaign, it secured evidence that the majority of their consumers would relate to it. "The Real Truth About Beauty," a global research report commissioned by Dove, reported that only two percent of women worldwide describe themselves as beautiful. This is what sets Dove apart from other brands: its beauty campaigns touched a cultural nerve by challenging the current super-thin, silky-hair, perfect skin standard. The campaign spurred

Dove was to be a beauty brand. nominating Dove to be one of its master brands. where they would be sure to catch the eye of producers and reporters. "Dove Evolution. In Dove's case. encompassing products such as body wash. Dove now had to come up with a message that could speak for all its products. "The exploration for this advertising is as interesting as the result. deodorant. delivered via traditional media. the Dove advertising message has been a constant: It's not soap. and invited people to vote whether these real women were "fab" or "fat. conceived in 2002. The Campaign for Beauty expanded into the Self-Esteem Campaign during the 2005 Super Bowl. It's a beauty bar. hair care and body lotion. The intention of the advertisement was to engage people to participate in the campaign." said Deighton. and at that they were successful. The picture of cream pouring into the bar was the iconic image Dove used in ads for nearly five decades.600 brands to 400.conversations in the media and among product consumers. No longer just a beauty bar. Unilever downsized from 1. They decided to take the concept a step further and talk about self-esteem. "I'm calling it a switch from a functional brand to a brand with a point of view." says Reingen. marketing professor at W. Reingen adds. Ultimately Dove's brand image grew because people began associating concepts of true beauty with Dove and its products. To get things started." said Deighton. Dove marketers were not discouraged. Ads featuring women who were not models appeared on billboards." The billboards were placed strategically in locations such as Grand Central Station. Carey School of Business. says Peter Reingen. united the entire Dove product line under one message. Free media: relinquishing control Brand managers have never been able to completely control brand image." which races through the cosmetic artistry and PhotoShop "plastic surgery" that ultimately . The Campaign for Real Beauty. "Due to traditional (off-line) wordof-mouth communication among consumers. Dove posted a fast-motion. The success of the Dove campaign has been its agility in bypassing traditional mainstream media and entering popular culture through new media. is new media. a brand's image has always been affected by consumers with a point of view. The message in the commercial had an enormous impact and the story was picked up by credible media and bloggers alike. brand images powered by new media were coconstructed by the company and its consumers. Nothing in its heritage had prepared the brand to represent all of these functions. which disseminates information constructed by consumers affecting the content of a brand much faster and far wider than ever before. one-minute film entitled. While "fat" eventually logged the most votes. In 2002. P. Since the brand was launched in 1957. What makes a huge difference nowadays. Dove used YouTube to ask their consumers to help create the Self-Esteem Campaign.

Unilever needs a hit with Dove. from bar soap. However. "Did the sales for Unilever's beauty products grow faster than the growth in the global market for such products? Unilever." Dove. the brand with a point of view. The free media community can and does police itself. Within a month of the release of "Dove Evolution" on YouTube. Here is the evidence. the stakes are high for Unilever. The result is an overweight. That's real beauty." In fact. body wash. The spoof shows an attractive young man going through a "slob" makeover. "Overall. there are several big questions for industry analysts to consider. Free media places the brand image in the hands of consumers. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has helped the company gain market share in all of its five major beauty categories. the paramount question is whether Dove is taking share away from Olay which pursues a different. hair care to deodorant. particularly in the quest for consumers to participate in creating the advertisements. is in a fierce global battle for market share with Proctor & Gamble. Many of the entries dealt with the meaning of real beauty to real women." Reingen said. Clearly. No one likes to look at ugly people." The YouTube Dove film has been viewed over three million times and has brought more attention to the Campaign for Real Beauty than the 2005 Super Bowl ad. Thus. The spot played on TV shows such as "Ellen. The film ends with the tag line: "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted." "Entertainment Tonight" and "The View. Dove's message and story then migrated to the entertainment media. Dove's parent company. companies leave their carefully constructed brands vulnerable to that type of creativity. if a company sticks to its principles and has a quality product and message to offer. he says. too. might voice divergent or even negative views. it need not worry too much about negative kickback." Is using free media an option for all brands? Dove is not alone in using free media. even when no one is looking.transforms a model's features into an ethereal face that then appears on a billboard. more traditional branding strategy. a parody called "Slob Evolution" was posted. The winning commercial's tag line: "Because what's better than knowing you're beautiful. who unlike corporate brand managers. . Dove ran a spot during the Oscars announcing the winner of an advertising contest that asked consumers to create a spot for their new body wash product. This is where it can get tricky." When they use free media. This year. love Dove. which owns beauty powerhouse Olay. The tag line: "Thank God our perception of real life is distorted. now had customers with a point of view. middle-aged man. It can be open season for satirists." The Dove competition yielded positive results because the Campaign for Beauty had already embedded the brand's true beauty message in the public mind. Proctor & Gamble was growing twice as fast as Unilever in 2006 and enjoying healthier profit margins. But Reingen says "It's difficult to establish a cause and effect relationship here.

. Some YouTube users posted comments speculating that Heinz was in it for free advertising. If a brand cannot do that. Dove. has been flooded with commercials that portray Heinz in a negative light or are just plain awful. may have found a way to tap into and leverage a generalized uneasiness with our culture's perception of beauty. In actuality. however. But in a recent New York Times article. Heinz also recently gave its consumers the tools to create a spot. The Heinz "Top This TV Challenge" contest awards the creator of the best ad $57.000. Heinz spokespeople denied the charge. The key to free media seems to be a cultural hook. the price may be high. on the other hand.and that's not counting the potential cost of subjecting a venerable brand to the possibility of new media vandalism. the cost of advertising the contest and hiring the eyes to watch the thousands of entries was higher than creating an ad in-house -. The evidence is not all in yet. YouTube. Perhaps Heinz' results on YouTube are different than Dove's because in this case the ketchup was just a condiment.Not so Heinz.

Alternatives: 1. Problems of control as Unilever has managed brands in decentralised fashion allowing direction to be set by brand managers in each geographical area. How would you answer to the comment that Dove started a conversation with consumer ³that they don¶t have control of´? Is the brand ³out of control´? Is Dove making a ³risky bet´? Symptoms: Unilever was the world¶s largest producer but lacked a unified global identity. Unilever had more than 1600 different brands.Dove: Evolution Of A Brand Dove: Evolution of a Brand Question: Imagine you have oversight of Dove marketing management. entrusted with responsibility for creating its global vision and inspiring cooperation from all geographic markets. No longer could Dove communicate functional superiority as functionality meant different things in different categories. Building brand awareness through . Basic Marketing Problem: Building a global Masterbrand.

fast and out of control? Footnote 2 refers to Dove as having started a conversation that they don t have control of. What does this discussion contribute to the meaning of the brand? Footnote 1 of the case leads you to a blogger who asks.Discussion Questions y y What was Dove s market positioning in the 1950s? What is its positioning in 2007? How did Unilever organize product category management and brand management before 2000? What was the corresponding structure after 2000? How was brand meaning controlled before 2000 and how is it controlled at the time of the case? Spend a little time searching blogs. to get a sense of what people are saying about Dove today. with reference to the age of YouTube advertising. or any other blog search engines. Technorati. Is marketing now cheap. Do you see risks for the Dove brand today? y y Class objectives y y Identify and describe the main elements of the communication mix Explain how firm s branding and communications strategies are changing in the context of new media . using Google Blog Search. Blog Runner.