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Dove – Building A Global Brand

The closing case describes how Unilever reconfigured its marketing mix for its Dove brand. Historically, Unilever had customized its products and marketing campaigns for each market, a strategy that not only resulted in duplication of effort, but also in organizational complexity. In 2003, Unilever shifted its strategy to develop a more globally standardized approach for Dove. The company now uses a basic message for the brand, and allows some customization at the local level.

QUESTION 1: Historically Unilever has had a reputation for customizing its product offerings and marketing messages to local market conditions. What are the benefits of this approach? What are the drawbacks?

QUESTION 2: Why do you think Unilever chose to move away from its local customization strategy, and tried to position Dove as a global brand? What emerging conditions in the global market place made this strategy feasible?

QUESTION 3: Do you think Unilever could have pursued the same basic strategy 30 years ago? If not, why not, and what has changed to make it possible today?

QUESTION 4: Despite being globally branded, Unilever still tweaked the Dove campaign from nation to nation. Why did it do this? What does this tell you about national differences in consumer behavior?

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