The Power of Brand: Dollar Shave Club vs Gillette

By December 3, 2013 Blog

I really wanted to love Dollar Shave Club.   Edgy, non-traditional, irreverant, stick-it-to-the-man, funny, real.  What’s not to love?  Dollar Shave Club appealed to every part of my thinking.   They created immediate differentation with their advertising.  They triggered my sense of injustice for the price I was paying for my name-brand blades.  It was convenient.  They made me laugh.  They made me feel like part of a club – and not just because of their name.  Dollar Shave Club was like discovering an indie band before they hit the big time.

However …

Their blades don’t work for me.  I tried.  Oh, how I tried.  I went through a whole month of blades wishing and pleading that they would work.  Several other friends that were in The Club said they loved the blades.  After a month of cuts and neck rashes, I was done.

So I went back to Gillette.  Not out of love or attraction.  I don’t like Gillette’s over-done, splashy endorsement-style advertising.  They are as about as institutional and establisment a brand you can find.  They have naming rights on a stadium, for crying out loud!  I went back simply because their blades work.

The Power of Brand is based on attraction, emotion, etc.  This is what advertising has traditionally tapped in to but is very rare to find today.  With Dollar Shave Club, I tolerated an inferior product for a month in trade for all of the other feelings that Dollar Shave Club generated.  But in the end, the Power of Product Superiority overcame the Power of Brand.   Product Superiority is based on just that: great products that remind you that you get what you pay for.

Most brands have neither the Power of Brand nor the Power of Product Superiority.  These are the Oatmeal brands that still dominate the marketplace.  In rare instance, you find the Power of Brand combined with the Power of Product Superiority – Apple, Carhart, Audi, UnderArmour, etc.   These brands are committed to getting both sides of the brain to fall in love.   They generate emotion, but back it with logic – often in the perfect blend of function and beauty.

Oh Dollar Shave Club what might have been … if not for the Power of Product Superiority.

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