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How Dove Uses Storytelling to Relate to Customers and Push Product

Stories matter. They’re far easier to remember than data. They provide a sense of meaning and allow us to understand the world around us and in turn, relate to one another. “A story can cross the barriers of time – past, present, future – and allows us to experience the similarities between ourselves and through others,” says Andrew Stanton, a filmmaker at Pixar.

Every person in this universe has a story. When parts of our stories are similar to one another’s, we connect with that person. The same applies for brands identifying with consumers. Entities that provide compelling, meaningful, or relatable narratives create an environment for social engagement. Why? Because their message was memorable enough to be talked about after the ad aired.

Dove Real Beauty campaign


Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign

One of the best storytelling campaigns of 2013 was Dove’s series of Beauty Sketches. These advertisements told us the stories behind how many women often worry about their appearance and overlook their own natural beauty in the process. The campaign revealed that the way others see us is often very different from the things we spend our time worrying about. Was this relatable? Very.

The campaign was extremely compelling because it tapped into the far-too-common emotion of feeling insecure in your own body. Many women all around the world face self-confidence issues in their appearance, making this campaign a likely strategy for targeting a group of people with a common problem.


Another one of Dove’s campaigns successfully managed to include men in its persuasive storytelling approach. Beauty products are often harder to market to men, and Dove found that their “Real Beauty” campaign had alienated their male customers even further. Thus, they launched a “Men Care” campaign, which tells a real, touching story about a military dad in Afghanistan who finds it hard to be away from his baby. The company arranged to bring his family to him and filmed the heartbreaking reunion. What does this have to do with soap? Not a single thing. BUT, Dove used the Father’s Day holiday to tell a story that connected with dads around the world.

The big lesson to learn from this campaign is to know your target audience from the start, understand their problems, and be empathetic to the things they worry about. When a brand like Dove is able to show a deep understanding of the problems its consumers face, potential consumers will feel a much stronger connection to the brand.

connect, consumers


Key Takeaways

So, what have we discovered from exploring this successful example of corporate storytelling? Here are a few points for coming up with stories for your own brand:

  • Develop content with relatable, human elements
  • Be kind and sincere
  • Ask yourself if you’d be genuinely interested in what you’re selling
  • Know how you’re connected to your consumers
  • Each story has heroes and characters with desires to be fulfilled
  • Keep it simple!

Once you uncover the human element of your brand, you’ll be able to start thinking about how your product or service can make people’s lives better. Craft your storytelling approach around that. If your customers connect with your story on an emotional level, they’ll want to be a part of it. That, my friend, is the whole point of pushing content!

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