New York Times READ

How Dove Earned—and Kept—Conversation Commander Status

Published by Engagement Labs March 22, 2018

Dove keeps achieving online success with marketing that goes beyond product features
and benefits, such as its “Real Beauty,” “My Beauty My Say,” and “Love your Hair” campaigns. The brand has consistently performed better than average both online and offline, earning what we call “Conversation Commander” status. They have been true leaders in word-of-mouth and online social performance.

In October 2017, however, the brand misfired badly with an online advertisement that some people criticized for racial insensitivity. The ad attempted to show that Dove products are for racially diverse women, but instead seemed to turn an African woman into a woman with white skin.

Dove Online Trend


Online conversations changed suddenly—turning very negative for a nearly two-month period as shown in the charts below. But the brand has since rebounded online. At the same time, Dove’s offline conversations remained rather immune to the crisis, suggesting that it was much more a social media problem than an offline one.


Dove OfflineTrend



Dove's TotalSocial Performance

Dove_Image 1.jpg

While sales results haven’t been announced as of this writing, our expectation is that the brand’s longstanding positive social performance will help it rebound quickly.


What Brands Can Learn from Dove

  • Even brands in categories like soap can excel at driving conversations with innovative marketing that tells a compelling story.
  • Brands with strong track records can rebound from a crisis, having built up a reservoir of good will among advocates who will defend the brand
  • Online and offline conversations are often very different from each other, making it vital for brands to measure their TotalSocial performance.

Read the rest of the case studies included in the ebook, "Social Engagement Secrets: Lessons for Marketers from Landmark Consumer Conversations Analytics Study", to gain more insights (from brands such as Revlon, Nordstrom, IHOP and Lay's) in having distinct marketing strategies for online and offline channels.