Last week, a company called Hubble popped up in my Instagram feed and got my attention—fresh design plus cheap contact lenses. As one who both seeks out fresh design and depends on contact lenses for survival, I promptly ordered a two-week trial.
This got me thinking about other companies that have employed a similar strategy: rebranding a product or service as a business model. We’re not talking about an innovative technology or a new idea, but rather a refresh on a stale aesthetic and reputation. Throw in an eco-friendly or philanthropic story, and you’ve got yourself a viable business.
Some examples of what I’m talking about, starting with Hubble.
To be clear, there is nothing special about these contact lenses. Hubble proudly states that in clinical tests, subjects could distinguish no difference between their contacts and competitors. The things that do set them apart are 1) good design that appeals to a younger demographic and 2) a simplified user experience.
Traditional contact lens purchasing requires a lot of options and research, a lot of math and the horribly painful process of mail-in rebates.
Hubble “cuts out the middleman”—a phrase that we millennials love—offering an easy-to-understand pricing structure: $30/month for daily contacts. What? That’s it!? That’s it!
Method was one of the first companies to take an unsexy category (cleaning products) and somehow make it relevant to a younger generation. The combination of funny commercials, good product design, and favorite buzzword “eco-friendly”—somehow made cleaning products something that young people actually wanted to talk about and pay an extra $2 for at Walgreens.
Let me start with a personal anecdote. Last time I needed a new mattress, I walked into the Macy’s mattress room—gasp! Hundreds of options. Incomprehensible “technology”. Sales. Coupons. Hungry mattress salespeople. Approximately 60 minutes later, I emerged with a Macy’s credit card, a Macy’s wedding registry, a desperate need for a cocktail, and a decent mattress at a price well below the MSRP. In exchange, I left a small part of my soul in that room.
Enter Casper. Only ONE mattress, because it’s the best option, and because it is made to work for every person. Plus fresh design, cute quirky ads, and free shipping. Done. Millennials rejoice.
Tampons. Ew. Tampons in a pretty box with a pretty name that comes in the mail so I don’t have to move? Okay… Tampons that are eco-friendly and thus make me feel like a good person? Add to cart. Yes, I realize they cost twice as much as Tampax. Please send them right now.
What other product and services are ripe for the rebranding? A hip, attractive and economic vacuum cleaner, perhaps? Share-worthy toilet paper and paper towels? Comment on what you think is the next big refresh.