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How Dollar Shave Club went Viral, and how you can use the same approach.

How Dollar Shave Club went Viral, and how you can use the same approach.

Dollar Shave Club is a one of the best recent examples of startup that utilized video and social media to generate a huge amount of traffic and brand awareness. What can we learn from their approach?
The Dollar Shave Club’s video, “Our Blades Are F**king Great,” racked up nearly 5 million views within the first 90 days.

The company’s founder, Michael Dubin, utilized his contacts from his time at UCB (he studied performing arts at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York) to create the video for just $4,500.

Yes this particular founder had a background in performing arts, and a great list of contacts to utilise, but even if you don’t have these to hand there are some key points you can utilise within your own content strategy.


Video is king
Dollar Shave Club understood the power of video. HubSpot shares a number of pretty impressive stats that show why video should play a role in any business’ content marketing strategy:

  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • More than a third of all online activity involves watching videos
  • More than a third of consumers trust video ads
  • 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the last 30 days
  • Enjoyment of video advertising increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

Know Your Audience

It’s pretty clear that Dollar Shave Club has a crazy good understanding of target audience. The tone of voice used is relatable and speaks directly to the brands target customers.

The approach taken by Dollar Shave Club illustrates that is you take time to understand your audience, explore their wants and needs, you learn how to speak to them. Understanding your target audience is essential when creating high impact and relatable content.


Clear Value Proposition

Effective digital strategies rely on creating clear value propositions. What are you trying to sell and what do you want your audience to say, think or do? Dollar Shave Club did a great job of allowing their audience to understand the convenience of never having to shop for replacement blades. It’s also clear from the offset that the price is an important factor.

A really interesting thing to note is that Dollar Shave Club didn’t have a unique product by any means. There are thousands of brands offering Razors. What Dollar Shave Club did so well was in developing a unique value proposition around their products. This messaging remains front and center throughout their content marketing campaigns, whatever platforms they are utilising.

Clear Content Strategy

Dollar Shave Club didn’t just get lucky, they had a carefully orchestrated strategy that delivered results. Calvin Innes, Creative Director of DA Creative Studio says, “Luck always plays a part in any content going viral, however you can increase the chances of your content going viral by following a few simple steps.

  • Be timely. Timing is everything.
  • Keep it simple. A simple idea done well will always hit harder than a complex idea.
  • A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words.
  • Be original.
  • Know your audience.
  • And finally, be lucky. The truth is while you can improve your odds of making something ‘go viral’, there is still an element of luck.

When Dollar Shave Club’s video launched, it coincided with an important funding announcement that was always going to gain plenty of media coverage. That announcement drove huge traffic toward the content and ensured it was picked up quickly.


Make Them Laugh

There are a number of things content creators can do to make their content resonate with an audience. Perhaps most powerful of all is creating content that evokes emotion. This can be joy, fear, lust, they’re all equally valid. Once you evoke an emotional response from your audience, they are much more likely to engage with your product or service. This is why using humour can be so powerful in advertising.

When outline your content strategy you should look at the following:

Does the content resonate with your on a personal level?
Is the content inspirational?
Is the content funny or educational (or both)?
Does it connect with your audience emotionally?
Does the content demonstrate value?

The majority of the Dollar Shave Club’s content marketing activities revolves around funny, witty, self-deprecating content, because this kind of content works really, really well.


Conclusion

With the right approach and content strategy, you can engage with your audience in the same way Dollar Shave Club has done so well. The starting point is understanding who you’re speaking to, then developing messaging and content that hits all of the points above.

Key to a great content strategy is consistency, authenticity and sincerity. If you can be funny too that can be a bonus, but it’s not essential.

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