Lessons In Razor's-Edge Creativity From The Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club launched to great success by communicating in a way that simply couldn't be ignored. Whether you’re starting your own business, seeking a promotion, or improving your community, taking your creativity to the brink will help you come out on top.

It's easy to feel like the window of opportunity in business has shrunk to the size of a Tic Tac; many entrepreneurs long for the pre-Internet days when it seemed there were oodles of products just waiting to be invented. And it’s one thing if you are a Zuckerberg-like tech geek, but innovating in more mature industries can seem especially daunting.

So how do you take on a big, established industry?

One recipe includes humor, web marketing, a borrowed business model, and a heaping dose of creativity. DollarShaveClub.com launched last week, and in their first seven days they snagged over 17,000 paid subscribers. Their hilarious marketing video—produced for under $4,500—has been now seen by over 3 million people. 

Check out their fantastic video:

Founder Michael Dubin (read Fast Company's interview with him here) did a number of things to make this one of the most successful launches in history. Dubin’s first insight was that he didn’t have to manufacture and market the razors; he could sell the blades directly. He "borrowed" a low-cost subscription model from Netflix and now offers his monthly razor blade subscription service for as low as $1 per month.

Naturally, you’ll probably prefer their $9-per-month plan with better blades. But by the time you reach that order page, he’s already got you. Never run out, blades shipped right to you, save up to $300 per year. Brilliant!

Next, he used humor and the power of the web to market his product to consumers at a fraction of the price that Gillette or Schick spend on TV and in-store campaigns. And with his subscription model, he only has to market to a customer once and then they are on auto-renew.

If Dubin only keeps his current pace (which will likely increase as word spreads), he’ll have nearly a million subscribers at the end of his first year. Assuming $5 per month as an average, this Santa Monica-based entrepreneur will have a $60 million business in 12 months. In an old-school, mature, commodity business. With no marketing budget. No salespeople, distributors, retail stores, trade promotion, supermodels, or TV commercials.

Whether you’re launching your own business, seeking that big promotion, or improving your community, you can do the same thing. Focus on disruptive thinking. Let your creativity shine, and bring your most potent and differentiated ideas to the forefront. Communicate in a way that simply can’t be ignored.

Do something remarkable. Unleash the never-been-done-before. It’s time to take your game to the razor’s edge.

—For more insight on creativity and innovation, visit www.JoshLinkner.com.

RELATED: A Startup Ad Pivot: Behind the Dollar Shave Club Promo

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