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The power of stories in beauty branding: Dove wins national award

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 09-Jun-2014
Last updated the 09-Jun-2014 at 16:11 GMT

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ marketing campaign has scooped the top prize at the Effie Awards, a national competition honoring efforts in branding and consumer-engagement. 

The beauty brand was announced as the winner of the award’s Grand Effie for North America, in recognition of the success generated by their campaign, which focused on the narrative of women realizing their ‘natural beauty’.

The campaign proved a feat of small-budget marketing, creating $24 million in incremental sales and $52 million worth of media exposure, on the back of just $925,000 in costs. It also "returned Dove to culture", according to the brand.

Storytelling

The win confirmed the rising importance of a personal narrative in branding, fast becoming a hot sales ticket within beauty.

Judy John, CEO of Leo Burnett and member of the 2014 Grand Effie Jury, acknowledged this as a key reason behind Dove’s success, noting that “the work demonstrated how the power of ideas can influence society and lift brands.” 

It's critical for brands to shift from messaging to storytelling,” Jonah Sachs, American author, designer and entrepreneur, has said in The Guardian.

“After all, a brand is nothing more than an ongoing story – a set of meaningful emotional experiences – unfolding between itself and its audiences,” he observes.

Merrily McGugan, marketing manager from YouTube analysts Pixability, has confirmed the rising focus in beauty advertising, advising brands to “move into delivering relatable, valuable content.”

Speaking to Cosmetics Design, Tom Fishburne, marketoonist and industry expert, agrees: “Brands need to forget everything that has been learnt before and take a different approach. You need to approach an idea as a consumer would,” he states.

Two-way street

The increasing demand for campaigns which tell a story participates in an overarching marketing shift away from flat product advertising, to fostering a brand identity with which the consumer can identify and participate.

Social media has opened up the potential for greater consumer involvement with brands, to which the response is strong: crowdsourcing innovation ideas, selfie-marketing campaigns and personalized products are all being met with enthusiasm.

Lancôme’s recent #BareSelfie campaign via Instagram and Benefit’s ‘Inner Beauty Challenge’ offer two recent examples of companies drawing the consumer into the marketing itself, giving the appearance of ‘accessible brands’.

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