Unilever discovers, then embraces, the power of online social media

As a marketer I read too many cases about companies who do one of the following:

  1. Ignore the power of online social media, in spite of their brand being ideal for its careful use
  2. Run headlong at this Web 2.0 phenomenon, throwing caution to the wind, only to do more harm than good to their brand

danah boyd [sic], the well-known anthropologist and “youth and technology” expert, gives a very personal account of the spread of Unilever’s Dove Evolution campaign. It’s a case study for how an exceptional marketing idea can gain legs through sites such as YouTube.

In the post she recounts how she was acting out of what she perceived as the public good, and not as some shill for the brand. Truly inadvertently, she says that she became “a marketer’s dream.”

I agree. But what still amazes me is that similar efforts for less savvy brands would be viewed by their stewards as unacceptable — nothing more than the unauthorized spread of their content.

These folks would look at the Danah Boyds of the world as more of a nightmare than a dream. Go figure.