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Orabrush-150x150Talk about customer segmentation. At Orabrush they have two segments: People and dogs. Or as Kainoa Clark, Marketing Director & Pet Expert Advisor at Orabrush likes to put it, anyone with a tongue – human or canine.

They haven’t left much out. As one of the Brand Innovators Made in America Top 25 Brands To Watch, Orabrush not only proves that market niches can be created and branded, it shows that marketing can be the most powerful weapon in the toolkit. A small start-up in Orem, Utah has been able to move its brand from no sales to megasales largely on the strength of innovative product, irreverent digital marketing and risky business models. It’s nearly impossible to find a brand that has moved with such agility between retailers and such mobility between species. Name another brand that has extended from addressing human bad breath to dog breath without missing a beat.

Time’s up. Orabrush is your final answer.

There are few secret to its success that other brands can learn from. First: product. Orabrush started by designing a product that took a problem (bad breath) humanized it, made fun of it and tried to solve it. Orabrush went right past the teeth in on to the tongue. Bad breath could be solved, it said, by brushing your tongue.

In 2010 with a $500 budget, it produced its first video, “Bad Breath Test – How to Tell When Your Breath Stinks,” introducing the Orabrush and offering the product for purchase online only. To say it went viral is an understatement. In fact, you could argue that Orabrush’s viral video campaign is second only to Dove’s recent “Real Beauty Sketches” as the most effective use of online video branding. More than 18 million people have watched it. After two years, Orabrush has sold more than a million tongue cleaners to people in 40+ countries. In the fall of 2011, Walmart began carrying the Orabrush tongue cleaners in its 3,500+ stores across the United States. And a few months later, CVS pharmacy came in. Then in March, Target.

“It went from no sales 30,000+ stores in 15 countries by using YouTube videos,” says Clark. “We try to serve two masters in our videos – education (helping people learn about proper tongue hygiene) and entertainment (presenting that information in a quirky, offbeat manner).”

Orabrush now has one of the top subscribed sponsor channels on YouTube, with more than 49 million channel views. Next, it went to the dogs.

“Once we identified that the success behind Orabrush was a replicable model, we subsequently launched additional products, including the Orapup tongue cleaner for dogs,” says Clark. “Our consumers really help to brand our business and shape our culture. Our unique marketing approach and videos allow for our consumers to be tied in so closely thus becoming brand ambassadors. We have given them the avenues and products to shape our story.”

The Orapup, a tongue cleaner to help cure dogs’ bad breath, is available for preorder. The company partially funded its development campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. It too has taken off at retail.

Indiegogo and viral videos are not the only way the company uses social media.

“Our consumers create brand and product reviews, which in turn help to build validity and market approach with retailers,” Clark says. For example, when the company opened Target, Orabrush human users could photograph themselves with the product and get a $10 Target gift card.

For the future, ask Clark where Orabrush will be in a year: “Five years old (33 in dog years).”


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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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