How A Startup Used This 5 Step Formula To End 100+ Years Monopoly
Yes, a startup has broken the monopoly of the 100-year-old company. It is a branding story that if the author of the David and Goliath story were alive, he would have taken inspiration from it. If you want to beat Goliath in your business then this story is for you.
Our first contender is Gillette, which has billions of dollars in the bank account, more than a century of brand reputation, customer trust, 7000+ patents, and a huge workforce. For more than a century Gillette didn’t even have a worthy competitor. Founded in 1901, Gillette was the US army’s official World War 1 razor.
Our other contender is a newly born baby company named Dollar Shave Club, which has a negligible marketing budget as compared to Gillette, at that time no one knew them. But in the first five years company does $200 million in sales per year and got acquired by Unilever for 1 billion dollars in an all-cash deal. Let’s discuss how this happened step by step.
Youtube became the icebreaker
On the date of 6 March, 2012 Dollar Shave Club uploaded a video for their product promotion. The video was pretty humorous and witty. They were also taking a jab at Gillette for high prices. This video went so much viral on YouTube, in 48 hours they had 12,000 monthly subscribers. This video caused their website to crash within an hour of its video launch on YouTube. Watch this video here.
The Dollar Shave Club Company spent just $4500 to make this video. The actor in this video is the CEO of DSC itself, Michael Dubin. In the video, Michael was seen continuously striking on customers’ pain points with humor like high prices, razor quality, etc. This was the best content strategy that any brand can follow.
Efficient Use Of Social Media
With YouTube, they were also aggressively marketing their product on various social media sites. This strategy was working perfectly for them. Because they were successfully beating Gillette in its own game, who were spending millions of dollars on a single product launch.
To highlight the importance of social media in brand growth, DSC’s CMO Adam Weber once said, “In the long term, social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are great venues for telling brand stories. They offer us great capabilities that traditional media like newspaper, TV, etc. doesn’t offer.”
Laser Focus Targeting
DSC had great knowledge of its customer profile. So they started targeting their customers, mostly males, with a different kind of approach that never happened before. They were focusing on creating direct consumer connections.
Their laser focus targeting was so much accurate that, even today you ask any men between ages 17 to 39 in North America about DSC. They will definitely say that they have heard about it. Interestingly, some of their customers were also women who have bought subscriptions for their male partners.
Consistency & Relativity
DSC was and is one of the most active brands on social media. They continuously experiment with new marketing ideas. Even after their acquisition in 2016 by Unilever, they are still consistent on brand promotion. They have also kept their brand image as it was in their early stages. The loveliest thing about Dollar Shave Club’s ads is relativity.
They never hire celebrities to promote their brand. They promote their brand with common people. That’s why people can feel connected with them. A great example of this was the “Dad Bod” ad, which was used to promote body positivity. No BS, No motivational speech.
DSC Knows What To Do & Not To DoWhile DSC was hitting money in the market, there was a terrible mistake made by Gillette. They launch a campaign named “The Best Men Can Be” to address negative behavior among men like bullying, toxic masculinity, sexism, sexual misconduct, etc.
The men around the world felt like they were being demonized, disrespected because of this ad. Many men addressed this ad as “Feminist Propaganda” This video faced so much backlash that, it became the most disliked video on YouTube at that time. To add more injuries to bleeding wounds no further apology video or statement has been issued by the company or its official.
To give a befitting reply to this ad Dollar Shave Club tweeted simply “Welcome to the Club”. Because many customers who were boycotting Gillette products became DSC’s monthly subscribers. A valuable lesson from this chapter is, ‘You must know what to do and what not to do on the internet.
Meanwhile, Gillette was focusing on product research, patents, development, and product launching with a huge budget. After these huge standard operating procedures, Gillette customers were not able to identify new feature and their benefits in their Gillette razors, according to a survey conducted by an established media brand.