'If you can't outspend them, outsmart them'.
This is how Dollar Shave Club created waves in the market — by starting from nothing.
From launching its viral video in 2012 to later getting acquired by Unilever, the journey of Dollar Shave Club is quite something that you should add to the list of your top branding strategies.
The idea it came up with was simple — offer wallet-friendly razors in a subscription-based model. This gave it the advantage of delivering a unique value proposition from its competitors like Gillette.
Now let’s dig deeper into Dollar Shave Club’s branding strategy and learn how the brand caused a revolution in the grooming industry.
The power of storytelling: Beginning with a bang
Dollar Shave Club's journey began with its first marketing video featuring founder Michael Dubin, garnering millions of views within days of its release. The video has a memorable line "Our Blades Are F**king Great," humorously and boldly addressing the exorbitant prices consumers were paying for razor blades. The message is communicated to the viewers within the first 10 seconds of the video hooking the viewers to the video itself.
This video, effectively established Dollar Shave Club's brand identity. It was humorous, relatable, and unapologetically different from the traditional, buttoned-up advertisements of competitors.
By incorporating humor and wit, Dollar Shave Club immediately engaged its audience and made a lasting impression. Similarly, you can study your audience, choose a brand tone, and stick to it throughout. In addition, you can present a sound idea that challenges industry norms, as Dollar Shave Club did with the traditional grooming industry's conventions.
Simplicity and transparency: Razor blades delivered to your doorstep
One of the key elements of Dollar Shave Club's branding strategy is simplicity. It recognized the frustration many consumers felt about buying razors, which often involved going to the store every month and navigating a sea of confusing pricing structures and flashy marketing gimmicks.
Dollar Shave Club simplified the process by offering a subscription service that delivers high-quality razors and grooming products directly to customers' doors. This subscription model eliminated the need for customers to browse crowded store shelves and compare prices, making their lives easier.
Dollar Shave Club's subscription-based model featured straightforward pricing. Customers could choose from various plans based on their shaving needs, with no hidden fees or complicated terms. This not only addressed their pain points, but the transparency gave customers the confidence that they were getting a good deal, and it countered the traditional razor industry's practice of upselling and confusing pricing structures. It also gave the users the choice of shopping from the comfort of their homes.
Did you know?
Due to the competition from trend-setter brands, established brands like Gillette had to drop its prices to not lose its customers and market shares.
Distinctive brand identity
In a market filled with razor brands, Dollar Shave Club needed to stand out. It accomplished this through distinctive branding elements:
Logo: Dollar Shave Club's simple yet memorable logo features two razor blades with the company's name below it. This minimalistic design was instantly recognizable.
Brand colors: The company's branding primarily featured blue and white colors, which conveyed a clean and trustworthy image.
Brand tone: Dollar Shave Club established itself as a brand unafraid to challenge industry conventions. From its very first viral video, which said "Our Blades Are F**king Great," It adopted a bold and irreverent tone that immediately captured attention and differentiated it from traditional, more conservative competitors.
Brand value: Dollar Shave Club's branding is centered on the customer. It focuses on addressing common grooming-related issues faced by its target audience, and its messaging reflects this customer-centric approach.
Slogan: Catchy slogans like "Shave Time. Shave Money." established its value proposition and made its message easy to remember.
These elements have set it apart in the grooming industry and contributed significantly to its remarkable success as a disruptive and customer-focused brand. By acknowledging and empathizing with its customers' pain points, it could build trust and loyalty.
Video marketing for the win
In the current scene, 86% of marketers use video as a marketing tool. But Dollar Shave Club embraced the idea way ahead of its time. It maintained its witty and humorous tone throughout its video marketing campaigns. If you look at every one of the brand’s videos, it involves a brand personality that is fun, irreverent, and relatable.
There are four points to note while creating a brand video — storytelling, benefits or services your product can offer, tone, and duration. Dollar Shave Club is the perfect example of keeping the video snappy and short while conveying the message wittily. This has stayed throughout contributing to creating a strong brand identity.
Content marketing: Providing value beyond products
Dollar Shave Club recognized the importance of providing value beyond its core product offerings. To achieve this, it created a blog called "Bathroom Minutes." It featured articles on grooming tips, humorous takes on daily grooming challenges, and informative content about relevant topics.
It also launched a podcast in 2020 called ‘I Learned A Thing In The Bathroom’. The goal is to educate the listeners on something valuable during the time spent on shaving.
This blog served as a platform to educate and entertain customers. By offering more than just products, Dollar Shave Club aimed to establish itself as an authority in the grooming industry while providing customers with valuable information and entertainment.
Keeping up with the wit
Dollar Shave Club tackled the pain points of its young audience with humor in their messaging and ad copy. From website to social media posts, it has been constant with its tone. While being true and authentic to its audience, it also educated and provided value to them.
Consistently engage your audience while adhering to brand compliance. Maintain fidelity to your brand and its values. Customize content to align with your audience's perception, and be willing to adapt your brand's messaging in response to societal changes and consumer preferences.
Social responsibility: Going the sustainable way
As consumer demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products grew, Dollar Shave Club also introduced environmentally responsible options. It launched sustainable razor handles made from recycled materials and offered eco-friendly alternatives for customers looking to reduce their environmental footprint.
No matter what, it is important to contribute to the betterment of our environment and the lives in it. Dollar Shave Club not only met a consumer need but also aligned with the values of socially and environmentally conscious consumers.
Widen your target audience
When Dollar Shave Club was introduced in the market, it focused on solving men’s grooming problems. But later, it launched a campaign showing that its razors are gender neutral through a simple effective video.
Even if you started your brand with a certain goal and experience, you can always pivot or improvise it as you grow. Goals can change but your brand value doesn’t have to. Even if you make alterations to your strategies or target audience, be careful to not stray away from your brand identity.
Finding the right time
Talking about expanding the audience, Dollar Shave Company finally stepped into the retail sector by appearing on the shelves of Target and Walmart in 2021. After its success online, it wanted to reach out to the audience outside the internet.
Once you see your brand has been established and smoothly running, you can always experiment. Going omni-channel can teach you a thing or two about your brand and explore what else the market can offer you and your audience.
In conclusion, Dollar Shave Club's branding strategy has been nothing short of remarkable. By including humor, simplicity, customer-centricity, and innovation in its brand identity, it gave a new face to the grooming industry and redefined the way consumers approached shaving and grooming.
Dollar Shave Club's story serves as a testament to the power of a well-executed branding strategy, demonstrating that even in a highly competitive market, a brand that understands and connects with its customers can achieve phenomenal success.
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