Search Results for: orapup

Orapup — A newfangled innovation to tackle dog breath — and have fun doing it

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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.


Warby Parker, and why Brands Don’t Matter

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Brands don’t matter?!?  Blasphemer!  Heretic!  Neanderthal!  Republican!  Put down that crack pipe!

This is of course counter to everything you hear (and if you know me, everything I say).

But it’s true, with an asterisk: Brands often DON’T matter – – until they do.  Then they matter a lot.  It all depends on what value is delivered.

At the risk of alienating my friends in the branding business:  look at some of the more successful recent brands , or just brands you’ve used everyday and never really thought about (Yahoo!  Google.  Zappos.  Ebay.  Subway. Apple.  AT&T.  Starbucks. Blackberry. Target. Kindle. MiO. Allegra.).  Even better, musical artists:  Stone Temple Pilots.  Foo Fighters. Neutral Milk Hotel.  Arcade Fire.  Queen – – no, strike that last one.  Anyway, you get the point – – does any of these in any way describe the product or service?  (and let’s not get started on prescription medicines…). Asked another way, did the brand have a material impact on success?


Which brings us to Warby Parker.  Warby Parker is a relatively new web-driven mail-order prescription eyeglass business that has totally disrupted this space.  The concept:  shop online, they send you 5 frames to try out at home, you pick one, get them your prescription and you’re immediately sent designer eyeglasses for $95!  So from a value perspective it’s a great deal – – sort of in the same mold as Target – – call it cheap chic or funky frugal or whatever – – their value recipe is cooking right now.

But that’s not all.  Like Zappos, WP have distinguished themselves with over the top customer service.  Every message, call, post or Tweet is answered personally, promptly, and cheerfully.  The combination of value and service has created a significant buzz that is helping to propel the business very quickly.

So where does the ‘Warby Parker’ name come from?  Who cares?* — because of a winning value proposition and excellent execution, it NOW means something very valuable and unique that drives customer loyalty – -and that’s the value of a brand.

*According to the WP website, it is actually a combination of two characters’ names from Jack Kerouac’s work.

Sure, the exceptions to the ‘brands don’t matter’ statement could fill an e-book:  Oikos and Chobani convey Greek; Twitter suggests short bursts of conversation; SquareSpace describes a computer screen, Orapup means something to do with a dog’s mouth, etc.  These and others can help quickly telegraph what’s going on, particularly where authenticity is critical or where marketing funds are limited.  And certain brands can definitely convey a sense of quirkiness — or seriousness — that is core to the product or service’s desired positioning.

However – – while many electrons are spilled proclaiming the value of brands, the most important thing is ultimately not the brand itself, but the lasting value and relevance that the brand delivers.