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Dove on how it created an influencer community

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 7 min read

Dove and Collectively have won the Influencer Partnership category at The Drum Awards for Social Media. Here is the award-winning case study.

Here's is the award-winning activation.

Dove has consistently championed diverse beauty representations, aiming to foster a positive relationship with beauty that's universally accessible. In 2023, our focus extended to amplifying Dove's social impact mission and iconic products, propelling competitiveness, and encouraging consumer action.

Aligned with our commitment to real women consumers, Dove has pioneered creator-led marketing, amplifying the voices of independent female small business owners who own personal brands online. Our collaboration with these allies significantly boosts Brand Lift, cementing influencers as crucial channels for Dove's business outcomes.

This year, we built upon previous successes, empowering influencer voices to advocate for body confidence and inclusivity across diverse Dove product categories and social impact pillars. Our initiatives spanned various product categories, including Skin Cleansing, Deodorant, Hair, Hand Hygiene, and Purpose pillars. Our goals for the year:

Expand engaged reach on a larger scale by growing the influencer community.

Establish Dove as an actionist beauty brand through innovative influencer relationship-building, challenging industry norms.

Foster a broader social impact movement through the One Dove Community, harnessing the energy of our influencer partners to engage followers in Dove's causes actively.

Drawing from insights gained over four years of collaboration with Collectively, we devised the following strategies to achieve these goals:

Increased investment in Macro and Elite talent to amplify messaging reach.

Capitalized on consumer sentiment and TikTok trends to enhance brand resonance.

Actively nurtured Earned and Nano Communities to cultivate new interests and broaden share-of-voice.

Consistently elevated influencer content through A/B testing across formats, messaging, and assets.

Adopted a "relationship first" approach, creating content resonating with both Brand and Talent Partners, effectively integrating creators into the Dove family.

Invested in 3-5 briefs per influencer annually to deepen relationships and strengthen audience affinity.

Strategically blended Dove's successful tactics with competitor insights to elevate content in 2024.

Tracked commerce-driving traffic to major retailers to measure direct sales impact.

As of June 2023, with 45% of the annual scope completed, our efforts have reaped remarkable results:

14 campaign briefs executed

312 creators activated

693 social posts shared

An impressive 684 million total impressions generated

607,000 organic engagements achieved

An encouraging 7.5% Actual Organic Engagement Rate

A strong 48.6% Comment Relevancy Rate

1.2 million link clicks recorded

Our influencer community remains a testament to Dove's dedication to diversity, comprising varying body types, sexual orientations, abilities, and ethnicities:

37% Black or African American

23% Hispanic

20% White

12% Asian

2% LGBTQ

9% Size Diverse

5% Different Abled

Dove's strategic prowess has translated into a competitive advantage, evident through impressive performance results:

Actual Impressions delivery nearly doubled year-over-year.

View Rate witnessed a substantial 30% increase year-over-year.

Click-through Rate rose by a commendable 29% year-over-year.

Dove's Unique Approach to Social Impact: Spotlight on Campaigns

#PasstheCROWN - #BlackHairIsProfessional:

Dove co-founded the CROWN Coalition in 2019, championing the CROWN Act to eliminate race-based hair discrimination. This year, our brief focused on workplace hair discrimination with an expanded creator content series on LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok to tell real women’s stories about their experiences wearing their natural hair. The partnership with LinkedIn for the #BlackHairIsProfessional campaign was pivotal, highlighting workplace hair discrimination. The campaign's potency on LinkedIn was evident, achieving an impressive 19x impressions-to-follower ratio. The campaign spurred viral conversations, with professionals rallying around the cause of embracing natural hair in the workplace.

97M impressions

6.1% Actual Engagement Rate and 3% click-through rate

Viral conversation on LinkedIn led to 9MM organic earned conversion impressions in the first 4 weeks (~6MM in week 1)

More than 450,000 professionals have taken the free LinkedIn learning courses on more inclusive and equitable work environments

#BlackHairIsProfessional has given thousands of Black women a safe space to talk about their hair journeys at work with more than 300,000 posts, actions, and tags

#17YearsofChange & #ChangeIsBeautiful:

In a groundbreaking move, Dove introduced an updated body wash formula and packaging after 17 years. Dove collaborated with trend-driven comedians, skin experts, and emotional storytellers from the One Dove Community to support this launch for distinct campaigns. The program exceeded expectations by garnering a 535% surge in impressions, with viral posts such as this one, amassing 2 million views: TikTok Video.

4.2 million Impressions

An impressive 9.16% Actual Engagement Rate

A remarkable 21% View Rate

-This endeavor exemplified Dove and Collectively's prowess in merging product and purpose marketing, effectively intertwining product narratives with purpose-driven marketing and inclusive casting. The "Change is Beautiful" content, emphasizing embracing change as a beautiful process, achieved exceptional engagement and click-through rates, surpassing benchmarks by over 2 times. Audience reactions indicated positive sentiment and intent to purchase: “This is the first ad I’ve seen in a long time that actually made me want to buy the product.” - comment on @itskatesteinberg’s viral TikTok post.

#CrownCollection & #HairLove:

To support products catering to textured hair—Dove Crown Collection and Hair Love for kids—creators shared genuine mother-daughter stories, empowering families to embrace their natural hair. The campaign exceeded engagement rate and comment relevancy benchmarks, successfully reaching engaged audiences with impactful content. Achievements encompassed:

Over 2.5 million impressions (paid and organic)

A strong 9% Actual Engagement Rate

Impressive engagement, particularly on Instagram Reels

Notable Click Through Rates for IG Stories exceeding benchmarks

Campaign for Kids Online Safety:

Dove marked a significant milestone by entering its third year of efforts to enhance girls' self-esteem and raise awareness about harmful beauty content on social media. The Campaign for Kids Online Safety, a collaboration with Common Sense Media, aimed to hold social media platforms accountable while safeguarding young individuals' mental well-being. Through the enactment of the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), both kids and parents were empowered, giving them a say in shaping the online experiences of youngsters for the betterment of their mental health. Our strategic approach to supporting this partnership was divided into three distinct influencer cohorts—parents, advocates, and social media trailblazers—spanning major platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. This collective effort worked harmoniously to amplify diverse personal stories and perspectives. The results were extraordinary:

3.2 million impressions/views, exceeding the initial goal by an impressive 64%

In-feed View Rate of 9.05%, with Instagram Reels standing out at an impressive 23.75% view rate

A remarkable Comment Relevancy Rate of 53.86%, with LinkedIn engagement leading at 82.52%

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