Can a small company use social media to compete with much bigger brands?
Take a look at Orabrush, Inc., a company of 15 employees that makes a brush/scraper to remove bacteria from your tongue –- not exactly a ‘sexy’ product. By creating a funny and informative YouTube campaign, combined with a Facebook and Twitter presence, Orabrush now has:
- Over 40 YouTube videos on a channel that has received 35 million+ YouTube views, and over 118,000 subscribers
- Over 270,000 fans on Facebook
- Nearly 4,000 followers on Twitter
- An active collaboration with Google Inc. (YouTube’s owner offered to place a widget on the Orabrush YouTube page that lets viewers buy the tongue brush directly from the video page)
- Shipped more than $1 million worth of tongue brushes to 114 countries, and is now at ‘break-even’
Orabrush rose above big name brands including Disney and Apple to become the 2nd-most-popular YouTube sponsored channel, behind only Old Spice, the champion of viral YouTube marketing with over 245,000 subscribers. (However, Apple recently regained the #2 slot with the upcoming launch of the new Ipad, bringing Orabrush back down to #3.)
All of this can be tacked up to a “social media blitz” created by “a small group of people in Utah with funny ideas and a webcam,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
What can other small businesses learn from their success?
If you make it interesting/funny, they will watch. (No matter what your product is.) Boldly differentiating themselves from the makers of traditional toothbrushes (their main competition), the young marketing team of Orabrush took a relatively boring product and added some quirky characters, a weird tongue costume, and semi-ridiculous plotlines (a Iphone app that tells if you have bad breath) to produce low-cost videos on YouTube. The results for their top 3 videos on the Orabrush YouTube channel, curebadbreath:
- Over 13.5 million views for their first video: Bad Breath Test – How To Tell When Your Breath Stinks, posted Sept 2009
- 2.5 million views for FUNNY: Test YOUR Breath – The Stench That Stole Christmas, posted Nov 2009
- 1.6 million views for Test Your Breath With an Iphone – Bad Breath Detector, also posted Nov 2009
Stick with what works; provide original content where it has the greatest effect. While Orabrush has a large Facebook following, it is largely a vehicle to make fans aware of recent video posts, and to give them an outlet to share their excitement or communicate with the company (fans are allowed to post on the Orabrush wall). The Orabrush Twitter account just tweets new Orabrush videos or other YouTube videos the brand ‘likes’.
Give fans something to ‘follow’ and keep them coming back for more. Orabrush created serial segments entitled ‘Diary of a Dirty Tongue’, posting a new video every Tuesday: ‘Morgan, the Orabrush tongue, making a weekly vlog about what tongues like to talk about’.
Orabrush has taken the old-fashioned infomercial concept, added imagination and humor, and put it on a ‘free’ channel – YouTube. The company’s success on this platform makes it a poster-child for marketing and advertising on YouTube.
“We are going to be the first company to put out a product with a sticker that says, ‘As Seen on YouTube,'” Chief Executive Jeff Davis told The Wall Street Journal.