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Cannes Lions 2022: How Dove invested in purpose to stay relevant among different generations

With its Dove Self Esteem Project, the company claims to have reached over 82 million young people with self-esteem education so far

67% of consumers want brands to be more of a ‘We, not me’, Jo Bacon, global client lead, WPP Unilever, Ogilvy, said.

Over the last few years, brands have moved towards being purpose-driven with an aim to make a lasting impact on society. A case in point is the beauty brand Dove, which has rolled out several initiatives such as The Crown Act and Dove Self-Esteem Project, among others, besides rolling out campaigns that celebrate real beauty. While The Crown Act aims to eliminate race-based hair discrimination worldwide, the Dove Self-Esteem Project delivers self-esteem building programmes and body confidence education to young people around the world. “Purpose is a driver of business growth and social impact and the two can coexist. When you try to do things in an authentic way, people see it and reward you in the long run,” Alessandro Manfredi, chief marketing officer, Dove, said at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 2022.  

With its Dove Self Esteem Project, the company claims to have reached over 82 million young people with self-esteem education so far. In 2004, Dove discovered that only two percent of women found themselves beautiful. As per the company, the definition of beauty had become, limited, unattainable, and toxic and therefore the brand started investing in this direction. 

According to Manfredi, the brand has been successful with its purpose mainly for three reasons – First is that the purpose chosen is related to the product category where the brand is present, which is beauty, hence there is a relevance factor. The second reason is authenticity and the third is being unapologetic. “Many times companies choose a purpose that stands far from their industry and that must not be the case. It is more about investing in the cause and ensuring that consumers join in too. It’s about creating a movement and behavioural change, and at the same time, generating brand awareness, brand affinity, growing the business,” he added. 

At the session, Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director at Unilever, Ogilvy, talked about the need for authenticity when it comes to purpose. “Sometimes brand simply jump on the bandwagon and it doesn’t feel authentic to what they do as a brand or as a company. There has to be consistency and authenticity rather than simply jumping in,” he added. 

67% of consumers want brands to be more of a ‘We, not me’, Jo Bacon, global client lead, WPP Unilever, Ogilvy, said. “And I think this is what brands need to address. They need to invest in their purpose consistently and over time to get it right,” she stated further.  

Read Also: Cannes Lions 2022: How ‘purpose’ grew business of Unilever’s Dove, and Lowe’s

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