Disruptor Status: Harry’s

Jared here, back with another edition of our market disruptor series that highlights companies we think are changing the world and getting it right. Last time we checked out Tesla and their open-source approach to electric cars.  Round two of our disruptor series features Harry’s.  Harry’s is a web-based start-up in the business of selling men’s razors.

The $2.4 billion shaving industry is dominated by giants like Gillette and Schick who, through lack of competition, have created a market full of overpriced razors.  Since being founded in 2013, Harry’s has been on a mission to bring change to this stagnant industry one razor at a time.  Its secret weapon in this uphill battle?  Storytelling.

Any brand can relay a message, but a great brand tells a story.  And, if storytelling is the name of the game then Harry’s is Shakespeare.  At its core, Harry’s story is a simple one: “We knew there had to be a better way, so we created Harry’s as a return to the essential:  A great shave at a fair price.” The way they tell this story is the special part.  After following Harry’s for the past several months and using their products, I believe there are two main reasons why their storytelling is so effective: authenticity and relevance.

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Authenticity

Harry’s promises their customers a great shave at a fair price, but in order to deliver on that promise they’d have to put their money where their mouth was.  In order to provide quality blades while maintaining low costs to the customer, the Harry’s co-founders knew they would need to control the supply chain process.  After months of research and over $100 million in funding raised, the two purchased a German razor factory.

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Owning the razor factory not only gives Harry’s the credibility as a razor expert, but also allows them to deliver on their promise.  By inserting themselves into the blade production process, Harry’s isn’t just telling you you’ll get a better shave, they’re ensuring you’ll get a better shave.  The authenticity behind Harry’s story differentiates them from the jargon of the industry giants.

Relevance

Let’s be honest, shaving isn’t the most fun thing to do in the world. If anything, it’s a nuisance in the daily routine.  Instead of taking this as a negative, Harry’s has crafted a brilliant campaign around the morning routine called #OwnYourAM.  #OwnYourAM is based around the morning routine of the everyday guy, and Harry’s features just about everything but shaving – from coffee drinking habits to breakfast choices.  Their emphasis on the morning routine relates to nearly every guy and makes shaving just another part of owning your day.

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Another way Harry’s story stays relevant is with their magazine, Five O’ Clock.  Five O’ Clock magazine features stories about the morning routines of men around America.  The stories aren’t focusing on celebrities, they’re on the stories of people just like their target market – the everyday men of the world.  Everyone from a bike builder, to a novelist, to a consultant.  Harry’s Five O’ Clock publication shows that they identify with their target market, making you believe that when Harry’s says: “Like most of you, we’ve long had to choose between over-priced, over-marketed razors that disrespect your intelligence, and low quality, cheap razors that disrespect your face.” they really have been there.

It’s one thing to tell a story, but it’s another to live it.  Harry’s does a fantastic job of telling their story in an authentic and relevant way.  Their strong branding has led to major disruption in just over a year, and with over $130 million in funding, there’s no sign in them slowing down.

There are a lot of great takeaways from a brand like Harry’s.  They are a great example of a brand that is living out their mission statement and keeping a finger on the pulse of what their customer base wants.  Here at Republic, we also strive to be a brand that delivers on our mission, and listens to our customers.  What are some ways in which you think we are living out our story?  Where can we improve? Join in the discussion here.

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