DOVE: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN BRAND IN A CRISIS OF SINCERITY - The Struggle to Navigate Rising Expectations of Corporate Responsibility

Submited by: Olivia Zed, Sarah Dasher

School: Boston University

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Don K. Wright

Dramatic shifts in corporate social responsibility coupled with growing public desire for companies to act with purpose are creating new reputational risks for organizations. Drawing from a communication crisis for Dove and parent company Unilever, this case explores what happens when companies repeatedly ignore stakeholders and fail to carry out their missions authentically. In 2017, Dove released an ad that many said was racist and yet another example of offensive communication from the company. The case analyzes the business and brand implications for Dove and what it means for companies trying to create social value.

Note: Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

2019 Case Study Competition

Page, in alliance with the Institute for Public Relations, conducts an annual competition for the writing of original case studies by students enrolled in a school of business, communication or journalism and who are pursuing a degree that is focused on corporate communications and the practice of public relations. The objectives of the competition are to introduce practical applications of the core principles that define corporate communication as a critical function of management to educators, teachers and students, and encourage research that contributes to the profession's body of knowledge and provide practical suggestions for improving the corporate communications function. Student authors of winning entries and their faculty advisors are awarded cash prizes and recognized by the nation's leading corporate communications executives.

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The grand prize winner receives the Jack Koten Case Study Award, named in honor of John A. "Jack" Koten, one of the founding members of the Arthur W. Page Society and its first president. The winning students are invited to the annual Awards Ceremony held each year at the Page Society's Spring Seminar in New York.