Dr. Squatch is big-footing its way into a new growth chapter, adding lotion to its all-natural men’s care lineup. The Los Angeles company hopes to blend its wise-guy personality with education about its high-quality natural products. Josh Friedman, chief marketing officer, tells Marketing Daily what’s behind the expansion decision.
Marketing Daily: Lotion is a tricky category for men -- they need it, but don’t buy it. What led you to this launch?
Josh Friedman: Our customers have been asking for this product for a long time. This launch ties into our overarching mission to inspire and educate men to be happier and healthier. We know that about half of guys don’t use it. But their skin is dry, so there's a lot of pent-up customer demand.
Guys have a very specific problem around dry skin, but lotion hasn’t gotten the adoption that it has among women. So our approach is engaging content -- a kind of ridiculousness that gets people’s attention. But then we take that opportunity to teach them why natural products -- in this case, lotion -- helps solve that need. And why our product is very different from the competition.
Marketing Daily: Who do you see as your primary competition? Dove Men+ Care? Who else?
Friedman: Dove is a massive one. There's also Gold Bond. But from our perspective, their approach is boring. We try to be more interesting, and get away from the stale messaging in the personal care category.
Marketing Daily: Plenty of people would disagree. They might say brands like Old Spice, Axe, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s are funny.
Friedman: It’s true that they have some brand moments they’ll do on TV here or there. But when you look at their presence on social media, where a huge percentage of their customers are looking to engage, they fall very short. They’re stale. At this point, we have the most following on Instagram versus any of the established players in the men's personal care space.
Marketing Daily: Are you on TikTok, too?
Friedman: Yes, we are very active on both. TikTok has been a fun place to be disruptive and show our brand to a slightly different audience. We're very thoughtful in the way we segment those channels.
Marketing Daily: You started with soap, and expanded into shampoo and deodorant. But those are all products men already use. They don’t use lotion. So how does the approach change?
Friedman: Yes, close to 100% of men use soap, shampoo and deodorant, versus 50% with lotion. We use our humor-plus-education, which we call edutainment, as a way of hooking people. Then we teach about the benefits of a natural product. That includes why it’s better not to have parabens, and also to explain that this is formulated specifically for men. That means it’s got a non-oily feel, which is important to men. And the idea that it’s just for men is what customers love about Dr. Squatch.
Marketing Daily: Like many other men’s brands, you’ve begun partnering with athletes: Justin Herbert, the quarterback of the L.A. Chargers, and Alex Honnold, of “Free Solo” fame. How do you use athlete connections differently? Is it as simple as how many followers they have?
Friedman: We want to find people who our customers look up to, but who also are disrupters in their own world. Are they leading something interesting and new in the world? And then, do they actually use our product? Are people going to get excited to see them talking about it in different ways?
Marketing Daily: Many people were surprised when you advertised on the Super Bowl last year. Are you going to do that again, and are you changing your TV strategy?
Friedman: So we grew up as a D2C company, but we are truly an omnichannel brand now, with a massive presence on Amazon. We also have international presence, too. And over the last year, we’ve built an explosive retail footprint. We’re over $275 million in annual sales. So our marketing strategy is changing to account for those different channels. In the past, we had a major focus on paid media to drive our direct-consumer channel. And so now it's a little bit more balanced.
Marketing Daily: Is that a yes on the Super Bowl? Now that you’ve got a quarterback?
Friedman: Not this year. One day, we'll be in the Super Bowl every year. But for now, we have to be opportunistic.
Marketing Daily: So what’s your favorite Dr. Squatch product?
Friedman: The Spiderman soap, and really, everything in our licensed partnership with Marvel. It smells amazing. And I love the different video and social activations we did to support it.
Marketing Daily: So you really value disruption. Are there any other brands you admire?
Friedman: Liquid Death. It has a super-irreverent attitude, which we admire.