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Dove focuses on friendship to extend Real Beauty via greeting cards

Dove is extending the reach of its ongoing ?Campaign for Real Beauty? via a partnership with digital greeting card company Open Me to land an emotional plea around friendship for a female audience.

Seeking to re-engage the audience in the debate over the definition of beauty Dove?s ?Beauty is? native ads on mobile prompt women to create and send an e-card to a friend in celebration of things that are beautiful aside from physicality. The campaign ties in nicely with how Facebook is already used to express support and kudos for friends.

?With a sensitive topic, brands often want to frame the message in their own style, and not try to force a message into a preexisting format,? said Mack McKelvey, CEO of SalientMG, Laurel, MD.

?Native advertising gives brands a level of flexibility and authenticity of message and creative that is not necessarily possible otherwise.?

?Social platforms give brands an opportunity to reach consumers in a personal environment that is inherently different than channels like TV, print or traditional digital. Content on social platforms is seen as more relevant and personalized, and due to the nature of log-ins, social networks can advertise with a certain degree of accuracy,? she said.

Dove could not meet press deadline

Ms. McKelvey is not associated with Dove and commented based on her expertise concerning marketing efforts.

Dispelling negativity
With more than 22 million fans on Facebook, Dove is reaching an audience that it hopes will make the latest iteration of the campaign go viral.

Facebook is a platform where most of the content comes from close social connections, and the topics can often touch on very personal subjects.

If a brand can tap into this with advertising, it can form a connection with the consumer that may be tough to accomplish in a different environment. 

Dove?s promoted posts highlight the disparity between the flaws we see in ourselves and the strengths noticed by others that we often overlook. Because the topic is so universally relevant and not age-specific, the message becomes amplified beyond existing fans and furthered by the sharing aspect to reach new audiences.

Users are greeted by posts which highlight the value of friendship and are invited to create a digital greeting card through Dove and Open Me. The whole card template is able to be personalized with text and photos.

Beyond awareness, the power of advocacy is at work. Sending or receiving an e-card elicits an element of surprise and surreptitiously inspires real reactions and conversation involving the brand, though not explicitly or intrusively.

?Facebook is personal - each person curates their feed with information from friends and brands that they want to see,? said Jen Gray, vice president of marketing and creative services, HelloWorld, Detroit. 

?As a brand inserting themselves into that space, they're creating a more emotional connection with users. Additionally, social platforms provide the opportunity to hyper-target your message to your ideal audience, something highly valuable when communicating this kind of narrative.?

The last installment of its famed Real Beauty campaign brought forth a similarly related social experiment to dissipate negative personal perceptions. A professional artist initially drew portraits of seven women according to their own description, followed by sketches of the same individuals as described by total strangers.

The Unilever-owned brand also underwent an ad makeover campaign last year in honor of International Women's Day by inviting women to ignore the ?unreal beauty? commercial offerings of products mean to flatter the body through hiding, nipping and tucking insecurities. Through a Facebook app, women were able to send positive messages to others.

Digesting the overall social activity surrounding the Dove brand evidences a large number of conversation participants and a high frequency of participation that is strongly constructive. What?s more, the passion exuded by fans proves that a multichannel strategy inclusive of Facebook is an effective outlet for positive emotional response.

Encouraging participation
Marketing agency PM Digital released a report in February citing that social media accounts for 12 percent of traffic on beauty brand sites, which is reportedly higher than in other industries.

Embracing ecommerce at an increasing rate, beauty brands are seeking out the best channels and strategies to build direct relationships with consumers that avoid traditional avenues that have been overrun.

While Estée Lauder prides itself on its aspirational model and high price points, it has also been able to interact with the consumer where she wishes to shop, which is progressively online. During the Luxury Interactive 2013 conference in September, an Estée Lauder Cos.? exec highlighted the achievements that have kept the brand at the forefront of mobile commerce, citing that brands seeking to increase consumer engagement should optimize mobile platforms to engage consumers in various markets ( see story )

At the start of 2014 the brand teamed with Flipboard to create content to support the relaunch of its Advanced Night Repair serum. The featured content found on Flipboard appealed to new consumers through the app?s innovative sharing and consolidating capabilities.

Adding user-generated content is a marketing must for the future, and catching up to this trend will help brands solidify their place as digital pioneers and address both global and local markets through social media, which is perpetual challenge for all brands.

The conversation continues to moves from a brand to fans to friends to acquaintances. Instead of promoting a product from a biased brand viewpoint, social gives agency to fans and emits an authentic voice.

?People love the chance to express themselves and share their views with others whether it's through photos, videos, websites or social sites,? Ms. Gray said. ?Therefore, when promoting content with a meaningful a message, you're encouraging consumers to lay claim to your message and share it with their communities.?

?But consumers don?t live just on social media and advertisers must ensure their advertising strategy aligns with their target consumers who are engaging in other lean-back mobile destinations,? Ms. McKelvey said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York