For some brands, consumer awareness and engagement is heavily centered on driving eyeballs to a TV spot or magazine ad. But for Spectrum Brands, which does little advertising for its broad portfolio of consumer product brands like Black & Decker, Remington, and Rayovac, consumer engagement and purchase consideration is propelled by word-of-mouth marketing.
While Spectrum Brands emphasizes innovative product technology and design, it has never strived to be the premium brand in its served markets. Rather, the company’s commitment to consumers is delivering trusted products with competitive prices. Building consumer relationships via word-of-mouth enables the company’s brands to leverage their biggest advocates as an authentic marketing force that validates the quality, performance, and value of Spectrum Brands’ products.
In the last year, Spectrum Brands’ word-of-mouth efforts manifested in three ways:
A consistent challenge for Spectrum Brands’ products is the ability to transition new product iterations into the market without experiencing a lull in consumer conversation. Product Sampling enabled the company to generate consumer reviews prior to a product’s launch, curbing the loss of momentum during the shift. For example, an updated product for a wildly successful model in the Remington Silk line was sampled prior to launch, and reviews collected through the program were displayed on the new product’s packaging. As soon as the new device hit shelves, sales took off and the product’s conversion rate increased 148 basis points—a successful launch that Spectrum Brands attributes largely to the inclusion of ratings & reviews.
Consumer Generated Content
After implementing Bazaarvoice Conversations to generate reviews for new Black & Decker products, Spectrum Brands realized that the insights in consumer feedback presented new opportunities to elevate the capabilities of Black & Decker products and gain a competitive advantage.
An examination of the reviews of its own products as well as information it could glean from online reviews of competing products led Black & Decker to create dozens of new products based off consumer feedback. For example, the 12-cup Mill & Brew Coffeemaker went out of production nearly 10 years ago, but Black & Decker discovered a large following of admiring customers that continued to support the product because of its unique features and adamant belief in its superiority over others in the market. Taking this passion into account, Black & Decker carefully scrutinized product reviews of competing devices to find out consumer pain points, then re-engineered and re-released the product into the market. This approach across its product line has resulted in an increased average star rating for Black & Decker products that has boosted online sales by 50% and increased in-store sales by similar gains.
Spectrum Brands’ word-of-mouth programs aren’t successful by chance; the company actively seeks to interact with customers throughout the purchase process and across a variety of communications channels. The success they found by utilizing ratings and reviews, product sampling, and additional forms of consumer generated content, spurred the company to seek out additional opportunities to drive brand visibility in a unique way. This led them to get involved with the dynamic changes within men’s beard fashion, which has seen a growing contingent of men who like to maintain a full face of hair. And, yes, “competitive bearding” is a sport in which individuals compete to have the most uniquely styled facial hair.
With this popular trend in full swing, Remington sponsored the World Beard and Moustache Championships and supported six competitors on their individual journeys to become the World Beard Champion. Dubbed the Remington Beard Boss team, these competitors drove across the country driving awareness for their passion. In the process, the Remington’s Beard Boss campaign changed the stale perception of the brand from “your grandfather’s razor” to a hip beard styler and trimmer that garnered the attention of a younger generation of consumers.
To complement the variety of programs Spectrum Brands engages in, the company maintains a steady stream of content by sending post-interaction emails to the customers of their nearly 30 brands, as well as interacts with their audience through social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These tactics have allowed Spectrum Brands to become an integral part of the consumer’s decision-making process without becoming invasive – and for a brand consumed by the customer experience, that’s a true measure of success.