By Kayleigh Fitch
I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a marketing event where Eric Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Method, was the keynote speaker. As Eric explains, it is no small task competing in a category against multiple goliaths when your marketing budget is approximately one third of the 800-pound gorilla’s employee’s toilet paper budget.
However, Eric shared how he and founding partner Adam Lowry, along with their dedicated team of People Against Dirty, found a way to make their brand stand out in the noise. Here are five strategies Eric credits Method’s success to.
1. Get behind a cause. Eric explained Method was built from a single core belief, a mantra the company could get behind that focused on a bigger goal than simply selling product. For Method, its entire product line was born from the belief that people have the right to a clean yet not pollute the home environment.
2. What you see is what you get. It is absolutely essential that every aspect of your product – from the shape of the package, to the colors, to the label and the formulation – is a proud ambassador for your brand. So take the time and money to get it right. You may have developed an incredibly successful product formulation, but no one will even try your product if your packaging does not clearly communicate the benefits.
Eric said yesterday “design is media.” Do not underestimate the value each element of your product plays in building awareness for your brand.
3. Arm your employees. Sometimes the best marketing ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. According to Eric, every Method employee is an expert in design and sustainability so all employees can recognize a marketing opportunity when they see one. For example, operations personnel at Method implemented a program using bio-diesel fuel to ship products that now makes a great sustainability story to share with media and consumers.
And give them opportunities to be heard. It’s a good bet your customer service reps have great insight into the experiences consumers are having with your product, but how will they recognize an opportunity to improve product without the correct industry knowledge and how will they communicate that to the rest of the company?
4. Create content. And not just any old content, but useful, engaging, innovative content. Eric used the example of a recent movie that had an excellent opening Friday and then experienced a massive drop in attendance as a result of negative social media buzz. It was not social media itself that caused the movie to flop, but the utterly horrible content of the movie. Likewise, whether you are using Twitter, Facebook, email marketing or video to market your product it is essential to create content that supports your product.
5. Be creative and take risks. When Eric founded Method, he knew there was no way he would be able to compete with a plethora of competitors with much larger marketing budgets. His strategy was to disrupt the category by positioning cleaning products as a lifestyle item. Method’s goal was to take the focus of cleaning off being a chore
and make it more about choosing a product that was fun, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. The point is to always question your approach and do not fall into the trap of playing catch up with your competitors. They should be copying you.
Need help building your brand or launching a new product? Email me at kayleigh at sweeneypr.com or 440.333.0001 ext. 106.
On March 10, Clorox sent a letter to the president and CEO of Method Products claiming that a recent use of a yellow daisy on a Method brand multi-surface cleaner bottle “violates Federal and State anti-dilution laws”. This is because Clorox’s “flower design” featured its Green Works line is trademarked and “has become famous to millions of consumers and represent some of the most valuable properties owned by Clorox.”
Since I don’t have a law degree, I’m not going to attempt to determine who is right or wrong in this case. However, rather than being afraid of Clorox and removing the daisy quietly, Method has turned the cease and desist letter into an opportunity to gain the public’s support on this issue.
The co-founders of Method quickly developed a video about the issue and a micro-site (www.votedaisy.com) allowing the public to select who they believe should own the trademark of the daisy – Clorox, Method or Mother Nature. So far Mother Nature is in the lead by 87%.
The company’s strategic response to this has already landed Method national coverage in a New York Times blog in addition to hundreds of green web sites and blogs. Even if Method ends up having to remove the daisy, they proved they aren’t afraid of the 800-pound gorilla, they will stand up for what they believe in and great marketing can help them turn lemons in lemonade.
From powder to liquid, concentrated liquid, sheets and packets, laundry detergent continues to evolve. The focus on sustainability is what seems to be driving this evolution and likely Walmart is behind most of this. And while the benefit of sustainability alone is not enough for the majority of consumers to make the switch, not having to lug or store big old jugs will.
Method – Detergent in Pump Bottle
Just this week Method launched what it claims to be the world’s smartest laundry detergent: method laundry detergent with smartclean technology. According to Methodlaundry.com, the patent-pending formula allows more of the cleaning agents to be used, which allows consumers to use significantly less detergent compared to national brands.
What is most interesting about this new product is that it features a unique pump bottle. You simply pump the bottle four times per load of laundry. Every bottle equals 50 loads of laundry.
In addition to reducing packaging and the weight of the product, the formula is plant-based and uses 95% natural and renewable ingredients according to Methodlaundry.com.
Purex – 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets
Today, I was looking through the FSIs from Sunday’s paper (yeah.. I’m a bit behind) and noticed a coupon for Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets. The sheet is a detergent and softener and also eliminates static. You simply put the sheet into the washer and transfer it to the dryer with your clothes. How easy is that!
The sustainable benefits of this product are it reduces plastic in the landfills and because it weighs less than liquid detergent it requires less fuel to ship, reducing the carbon footprint.
Since I’m still trying to get through my big ol’ jug of laundry detergent from Sam’s (which is concentrated), I haven’t had an opportunity to try any of these new detergents. If you have, leave a comment with your experience.