At the end of last year I found myself in a high school in Texas on a Saturday morning with over 2,000 young girls dancing to the Spice Girls. How did I find myself singing ‘Wanna Be’ I hear you ask?
Let me take you back a few steps…
In 2018, we saw the rise of the conscious consumer, with brands attempting to elevate themselves beyond pure product messaging, and looking towards purpose as the secret ingredient of its success. This is partly to appeal to the younger generations who are drawn to socially responsible brands (71% of Millennials say they prefer brands that drive social and environmental change and research continually shows that knowing a brand is socially conscious influences purchasing decisions for younger generations). However, not done authentically, a social purpose that is all words with no action can cause more harm than good… just think of the Pepsi and Kendal Jenner debacle.
So how did this lead me to dancing to the Spice Girls?
Last year, we started working with the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) to elevate their social purpose (creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety) by partnering with and celebrating organisations who share Dove’s beliefs and vision – ultimately laddering up to the Dove Self-Esteem Project’s ambition to build self-esteem in 40 million young people by 2020.
Dove has always understood the importance of fulfilling a purpose that goes beyond marketing and sales, and first demonstrated this with its Real Beauty campaign in 2004 which, is still a benchmark for industry success, even today. 2004 was also the year that the Dove Self-Esteem Project was born. The project’s mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up to enjoy a positive relationship with the way they look and reach their full potential through their educational programmes. DSEP is the ultimate example of a brand putting purpose into action.
With this in mind, Dove partnered with organisations across the UK and the US such as The Girls Empowerment Network, Fearlessly Girl and The Self-Esteem Team to support their ambition. This symbiotic nature between DSEP’s ‘say’ and ‘do’ makes this a powerful marketing tool to drive long-term growth.
My Spice Girls experience took place at the Girls Empowerment Network ‘We Are Girls Conference’ in Texas. Rosie Molinary, one of Dove’s Self-Esteem Project educators, was the keynote speaker and delivered workshops to the girls to encourage them to ignite their power using self-esteem education tools created by DSEP and global body image experts.
Rosie’s keynote speech empowered the girls to be brave and take chances and to see their uniqueness as a celebration. The girls then had the chance to go to breakout sessions covering everything from technology to yoga. Rosie’s session was the DSEP Free Being Me body-confidence programme which was developed with the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to help young people build their self-esteem.
With 100 million hours of video content watched on Facebook every single day, Dove knew that to reach more people they needed to amplify the work they were doing with their partners through video content that their audience would engage with. Dove worked with Mic, the leading digital news company, to create content for Facebook and Instagram that had authentic action behind it.
The ‘We Are Girls Conference’ is just one example of how Dove follows through on their brand ‘say’ with a genuine brand ‘do’.
What I learnt from my trip to the US (apart from the fact that little girls will always love the Spice Girls) was the true impact of a brand walking the talk. A beautifully made ad with an inspiring, thought provoking message can grab attention and even make headlines but only when a brand takes real action that actually impacts the people they are talking about, will the brand get the cut through. It’s what the consumer really, really, really wants (zigazig ah).