Sterling BrandsSterling Brands


It’s hard to imagine 15 years ago when Dove was just a moisturizing soap bar about to embark on a transformation. But, it was just at this time that Sterling Brands was engaged by Unilever to help understand how a mature brand, with entrenched functional equity, could extend into face and hair care as first steps in its ambitions to as become a beauty icon.

Through a global study with beauty experts and influencers, analysis of “iconic” brands and a deep dive on the nature of beauty brands, Sterling Brands helped understand how Dove could transform from a bar of soap to a beauty icon, through an ownable point of view. In our work, we uncovered that women felt the beauty industry was conspiring against them by parading supermodels and celebrities as the standard, when what they desired, was to be the best version of themselves. At the time, the idea was breakthrough – today, we see it mimicked far and wide.

Founded on consumer insight and infused with creative energy, we crafted Dove’s True Difference – Real Beauty – and laid out a ten year roadmap to expand and evolve the brand. Communications agencies, notably Ogilvy, have done a brilliant job bringing the “Real Beauty” strategy to life, while dramatically changing perceptions of the Dove brand and catalyzing a broader cultural conversation about self esteem among women of all ages.