Hello Products Challenges CPG Giants With Soul And Design (Not Data)

Craig Hello OmniDigitalThe founder and CEO of Hello Products, Craig Dubitsky, will appear at AdExchanger’s Omni.Digital conference on Sept. 10, an event designed to educate marketers on advanced solutions for building seamless cross-channel brand experiences.

Most CPG brands have shifted to using data to make decisions about selling products. To challenge the giants in the space, startup CPG brand Hello Products is going in the opposite direction.

CEO Craig Dubitsky said his company's product is fundamentally better than its larger rivals. He wants the product’s design and taste, as well as his team’s enthusiasm about it, to sell more toothpaste.

"You can’t outsource soul,” he said. “It’s very hard to do and tricky.”

Dubitsky likes to emphasize personal, rather than mass, messaging. Hello Products chooses to communicate via mediums that can showcase the authenticity and novelty of the brand.

That communication starts with personal emails to Hello customers, but also includes social media, targeted video and what happens in-store when a customer picks up a bottle of mouthwash.

“Anyone who writes to us or calls us, I call or write back to them,” Dubitsky said. “I do it because it’s unheard of, and because it can’t scale. No one expects the founder or CEO to call back or write them.”

Those personal communications also include Skype. “I had to tell two people who Skyped with me at night to put on a shirt,” he added, because they didn’t expect an actual person to answer at the other end.

On social media, he composes his own tweets. “We try to keep as much in-house as we can.”

The brand has found a warm welcome on Instagram, which shares a similar focus on design and beauty. “We have the largest following of any oral care brand on Instagram,” Dubitsky said. Hello has 15,500 followers.

On the paid media side, Hello has had success using programmatic video, a lean and efficient channel. For that, it breaks its own rule of doing everything in-house and relies on outside expertise, such as TubeMogul, to execute the buy.

“We have an 80% completion rate on our videos, which I’m told is an extremely high rate,” Dubitksy said. “I think that’s because we’ve been able to [deliver] a more fun, natural, delicious and beautiful product compared to what people are used to.”

Everyone has to brush their teeth, so Hello prefers psychographic to demographic targeting of media buys. Dubitsky describes the Hello target customer as someone who likes well-designed brands and wants to be part of “a brand that you join, not a brand that you purchase."

While Hello’s media budgets pale in comparison to those of giant CPG brands, Dubitsky said the democratization of media is working in Hello’s favor.

“It’s completely leveled the playing field to do things digitally,” Dubitsky said. “It used to be there were three major TV networks. If you didn’t have a budget to be on the big three, good luck.”

Cable networks helped close the gap, he added, and “now with digital you can get as discrete as you want, and get more granular about what we’re saying and who we’re trying to target.”

A recent study of Hello’s awareness levels – which he declined to share – drove home that point for Dubitsky.

“It used to take exponentially more capital to get that kind of awareness,” he said. “These new platforms allow us to compete with companies infinitely bigger than ours.”

 

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