Promoting well being
In 2004, the personal care brand Dove started its worldwide “campaign for real beauty.” Despite some initial and ongoing critique, this campaign is already considered a classic example of a modern CSR approach of improving consumer well-being while at the same time helping achieve strategic goals such as market development and increased sales. With its objective of raising self-esteem of young women it started out as a billboard campaign showcasing “natural beauties” that contrasted with the size-zero-standard normally hyped by the fashion industry. The campaign later used viral videos like Evolution and started the partnership “Free Being Me” with the Girl Scouts. This program comprises age-appropriate curricula and workshops and has greatly boosted the popularity and sales of Dove products. It aims at inspiring girls to embrace a wider definition of beauty, build a strong sense of self and take care of their bodies and minds. The huge success of the Dove campaign was certainly one reason why companies are increasingly engaging in strategic CSR programs.
What makes CSR programs successful?
So, is engagement in CSR a no-brainer in competition with other brands? No, there is a lot of homework to do to match outcomes and high expectations. To integrate CSR successfully into a company’s strategy, it is necessary to know what fosters and hinders success. It is also important to check both sides of the story: Is there an improvement in the cause itself as well as in business goals for the brand? To answer these questions we investigated a nationwide CSR program in the USA dealing with oral health care among Hispanic immigrants. The focal brand (here referred to as CB for challenger brand) attempted to gain ground against and challenge the leading brand in this growing Hispanic segment.