Five years before it was acquired for $1 billion by Unilever, Dollar Shave Club launched with a marketing and communications strategy built on its direct-to-consumer business model.
In March 2012, Dollar Shave Club rolled out a YouTube video that became an internet sensation and helped to put the company on the map.
More than two years later, it brought on Kristina Levsky as its first communications head to structure the company’s vision. Today, she serves as its head of consumer and corporate communications.
Levsky chatted with PRWeek about the company’s unorthodox approach to business.
How did Dollar Shave Club build on the momentum of that video?
By sending out interesting, fun content and making sure people are receiving the products they want, need, and enjoy. We’re also constantly communicating with our members, so we’re learning what they’re looking for and then we create products that serve their needs.
How does being a direct-to-consumer company, rather than being dependent on brick-and-mortar locations, inform your comms strategy?
We’re able to communicate with our members as opposed to someone that goes into a store, buys something, and leaves, and that’s the only sort of relationship they have with the brand.
As with the grooming report we did for National Men’s Grooming day last year, we’re able to ask our research department to run a survey or work with a survey company, go to those members, find out their behavior, and pull out those key insights and translate them into comms strategies and give that information to product development.
What’s the philosophy behind your comms strategy at Dollar Shave Club?
You won’t see us doing a press release for the sake of doing a press release. We want to make sure the things we’re sending out are valuable to the media outlet and to the consumer reading it.
Comms has been a big part of the company for a long time, [with CEO] Michael [Dubin] having a marketing background. He’s pretty savvy when it came to comms in general. We have an agency that has been with Dollar Shave Club for some time, but we needed to put more structure around a vision and plan going forward that was cohesive.
How do you anticipate the cultures of Unilever and Dollar Shave Club integrating? Any problems?
We’re working together well; we worked together on the announcement. Hopefully, we have great ways to collaborate in the future.
I can’t imagine there would be a problem with integrating our cultures. Again, I’ve worked with them over the last few months, and it’s been a really wonderful experience, and I look forward to working with them.
With this acquisition, do you plan on adding team members to your comms division?
Right now, not necessarily. We want to see how things roll out and see what things look like.
Part of the Unilever deal entailed that Dubin stay on as CEO. Does that indicate Dollar Shave Club will retain its culture and identity as well?
Yes, that’s incredibly important at Dollar Shave Club. We’re a tight-knit company. The culture that’s emulated outward — that culture of giving and listening — is very much part of the internal culture. So it’s important to us we retain that. We’re a company recognized for our personality and culture, and that will definitely be something that stays.
P&G must realize the growing importance of shave clubs in the market since it rolled out the Gillette Shave Club. How do you plan to tell a better story than them?
Dollar Shave Club was around for quite a bit before their launch. Our story and voice had established our own place.