The Dove Self-Esteem Project is on a mission. For over 10 years, Dove has been dedicated to developing self-esteem in young girls through our world-class workshops and resources. But in order to truly ensure that the next generation of women grows up to realize their full potential, our resources need to continue to grow and evolve to address the ever-changing challenges that face the modern girl. With that in mind, we set out to tackle one of the greatest influences on self-esteem today: social media.
Our research uncovered that while social media is the center of every teenage girl's social life, 72% of girls encounter negative beauty posts, comments, snaps, videos or photos that are damaging to their self-esteem at least once a week. With the rise of cyberbullying, photoshopping, and overly curated feeds, social media is no longer a safe space for self-esteem.
In October of 2016, Dove resolved to make a change–assembling an unparalleled team of self-esteem experts with one ambitious goal in mind: to make social media a more positive place for girls. And with that, the Dove #SpeakBeautiful Squad was born.
We knew that the success of our campaign hinged on identifying the right combination of experts to comprise the #SpeakBeautiful Squad. Our final roster of self-esteem all-stars ran the gamut in terms of fields of expertise:
• Teasing & Bullying Activist: Ariel Winter of ABC's "Modern Family"
• Media Expert: Franchesca Ramsey of MTV's "Decoded"
• Growing Up & Body Image Blogger: Jeannette Kaplun of Hispana Global
• Relationships Expert: Vanessa Van Edwards
Collectively, our squad possessed a social media following of more than 3.6 million people spanning generations and backgrounds. With our team in place, it was time to confront the biggest hurdle facing our campaign: how do we empower women to help us make social media a more positive place for girls if they don't fully understand the challenges girls face online today? Older generations grew up in a very different world than today's girls. Social media didn't exist! They didn't face the pressure to pick their five best photos on Instagram. When the bell rang at the end of the day, they went home and the bullying stopped. Our resources would not only need to bridge this generation gap but also provide tangible, realistic ways women could make a difference for younger girls.
Together with our experts, we developed tips, advice, and activities for women to address real-world issues facing girls today: from body-shaming to cyberbullying to selfies–and everything in between. We leveraged an array of Twitter capabilities to tell our story: eye-catching GIFs, informative and entertaining videos, and even our own Twitter Moment that served as a campaign hub for our collection of resources.
For topics that required a deeper dive beyond Twitter's 140 character limit, we leveraged Steller, a long-form storytelling platform to build digital storybooks about self-esteem. Steller enabled us to tell a fuller story–giving women the research behind the activities while remaining within the Twitter app. These resources were designed to be digestible and easily implemented and lived on both Dove and our experts' social profiles.
With the goal of educating women to help the girls in their lives, we knew that two-way communication would be imperative. Recognizing that Twitter is an ideal platform for one-to-one consumer engagement, community managers at Dove's social media agency VaynerMedia and squad members solicited questions and moderated posts to facilitate positive, meaningful conversations about these sensitive topics.
Talk about #SquadGoals! To date, our self-esteem resources have resulted in more than 200 million social media impressions–including 3.7 million interactions from women actively engaging with our content. On Steller alone, our stories accumulated more than 570,000 page views and 104 shares of our resources. Steller also featured both of our stories as "Story of the Day" based on having the highest engagement and page views on the platform in the 24 hours they launched.
In addition to thousands of real women who shared and reposted #SpeakBeautiful messages, notable influencers organically supported the campaign, including Rachel Smith (host of Amazon's Style Code Live), Elaya Fernandez (The Positive Mom Blogger) and Elizabeth Denton (Digital Editor, Allure). Word quickly spread as real women took up the #SpeakBeautiful Squad mission–earning the campaign over 195 media placements.
Most importantly, our #SpeakBeautiful Squad created a toolkit of relevant, invaluable resources that will continue to effect meaningful change in girls' lives long after the campaign concludes. The spirit and intention of the campaign is best captured by @KaylaPadilla333, one of the very young women we are so dedicated to supporting:
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