I admit it. I am a Facebook junkie. I love keeping up with my friends – the videos of their kids, vacation photos and the occasional inappropriate but hilarious e-card. And maybe it’s just my friends, many of whom are PR and marketing folks like me, but they share a lot of real news, too. It’s the first place I heard about the bomb in Boston this week, believe it or not. What I DO NOT love about Facebook is branded content, whether shared by my friends or popping up insidiously in my newsfeed. With one exception. The Real Beauty Sketches posted by Dove this week are genius. In fact, they left me speechless (and for those of you who know me, that’s quite a feat).

Within a matter of hours, the Sketches video was posted, shared and re-posted by more than 30 percent of my FB friends. WOW. Have I mentioned I have a disproportionate number of marketing-savvy friends? It takes a lot for most of them to share branded content, unless they are showing off their recent work (which I fully support, by the way). While I was moved by the video and the sweet, supportive messages my friends attached to it, it also got me thinking about what Dove did that made this content so powerful – and shareable. For me, it comes down to three seemingly simple things that marketers generally aspire to, but often over complicate or water down to the detriment of the results:

  1. It’s about your customers. Really. Show them you understand them at an emotional level, and you are golden.
  2. Be authentic. It is more than okay to show what your brand stands for without tying it directly to product attributes.
  3. Dare to be different. In a sea of sameness, shine a light on the unexpected side of what everyone else is doing.

The Dove Real Beauty campaign has been successful and long lived, but the Sketches installment takes it to a whole new level. Well played, Dove. I hope somewhere the team that hatched this campaign is doing a happy dance and popping the cork on some very good bubbly.

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