Orabrush is in the business of cleaning human tongues. And they are growing their business by doing a fantastic job with their social media effort. But this isn’t about Orabrush – it’s about Orapup – – a line extension designed for guys like Nigel – – and about how company assets can be creatively leveraged to create new revenue streams.
First, about Orabrush – – their marketing effort, like your breath should be after using their product, is fresh, cool and quite personal. If you want a quick whiff, check out their website: cheeky home-grown and user-generated videos featuring a guy who looks like Neil Patrick Harris (a zillion YouTube views), not so tongue-in-cheek product claims, and a lot of we-don’t-take-ourselves-too-seriously fun. They have a counter of tongue brushes sold online; at the time of this writing it was at 2,982,076 – so if you were lucky, maybe you were able to watch it hit 3 million.
So how does a company like this innovate? Well, in some ways just what you’d expect; in others, the opposite.
They currently have a name, a product, a following, an online presence and retail distribution. In coming up with Orapup, they certainly leveraged technology, their name, and their online fans (who suggested the product in the first place). But because they can’t leverage a distribution system (Orabrush is not set up for pet channel distribution), rather than try to use media spending to first drive retail distribution for Orapup, they’ve done the reverse: in-depth data analysis of focused online ads to tweak the marketing formula dynamically, then focusing local online media to efficiently drive sales where there is distribution, growing organically from there. Ad Age did a good writeup; you can read it here. Love their video (the first 15 seconds are worth the price of admission):
Orapup has taken a decidedly modern approach: Crowdsourcing the idea, crowd funding (they raised an initial $60k and conducted research at the same time), generating buzz (and demand) by taking pre-orders online (they got 60,000 online orders to generate $750k revenue before shipping the first product), and THEN pulling the trigger on shipping product and driving retail distribution. In this way, they’ve leveraged their loyal followers, created pent-up demand, covered some of the upfront investment, and delivered a product that has demonstrated demand. All while mitigating the typical risks of a new product (stale product on shelves, etc.)
This is an excellent example of a few things:
– ‘Traditional’ marketing is an endangered species – – sometimes it’s best to avoid the tried and true – -marketers need to creatively leverage the evolving array of available resources and experiment with new approaches.
– Empowering consumers to have a voice in product development can reduce development time/cost/risk (and avoid aimless R&D safaris) – – in addition to creating an enthusiastic group of advocates.
– Let the numbers be your friend – – by constantly monitoring, analyzing and adjusting, marketers can optimize their marketing mix and quickly respond to marketplace changes
Orapup is a fun product that has extended the Orabrush franchise with low risk, manageable investment, and arguably a nice shot of positive buzz that is consistent with the overall fun brand persona.
It is a great example of how to creatively innovate.