Five Marketing Strategies of Olly that Worth Learning

Nov. 10, 2023
A growing number of consumer-disrupting brands are called “lifestyle brands.” They are rooted in purpose and values, not just the product itself. For example, Olly’s “Life With A Lift” ethos establishes a higher mission long before the actual ingredients in the vitamins are considered.
This concept of new brands that achieve success through marketing design and lifestyle is spreading widely and being adopted by more and more entrepreneurs.
So Olly Vitamins with a cutting-edge design caught my attention. Here’s a quick overview:
– Co-founded in 2014 by Eric Ryan, former co-founder of the super-successful cleaning brand Method (acquired in 2012)
– The company achieved profitability at the end of the first year and no longer continued to raise funds.
– Revenue exceeded $100 million by 2018
– Acquired by Unilever in 2019
– Settled in Singapore in 2020

What makes Olly so successful? Here are five different ways they can grow from scratch:

1. Market results, not ingredients.
2. Solve the customer’s immediate problem first.
3. When others are round, you are square.
4. Don’t focus on the point of sale. Focus on changing your habits.
5. Being socially responsible makes a brand a real brand.

#1: Market results, not ingredients.

There’s nowhere that is more crowded than the global supplement market, which worthed $151 billion by 2021. But where there is a crowd, there is a fixed way of doing things. This means that the field is ready for disruption.

The outer packaging of various health products on the market is filled with complicated nutritional ingredients. These products use a large number of professional medical terms. In the absence of nutritional and health knowledge, this information cannot help consumers make decisions and is counterproductive in encouraging consumers to purchase products.

For the Olly team, a simple shift made all the difference: market results, not ingredients.

“We’re not selling biotin, we’re selling beauty,” Ryan told CNBC in 2017. “We’re not selling melatonin, we’re selling sleep. To me, it’s such an obvious thing. I can’t underdand it that why hasn’t anyone done this before.”

The efficacy of each vitamin gummy is written as the name of the product in the most conspicuous place on the packaging box. For example, mixed probiotic vitamins are called “improving the balance of intestinal flora (balanced belly)”; melatonin and L -Theanine vitamins are called “sleep improvement”; vitamin D3 is called “hello sunshine”.

Tip: Redesign your website product pages into “results” pages. Instead of talking about all the features of your product, make your content about what your audience will achieve by using the product.

#2: Solve the customer’s immediate problem first.

Olly has been hugely successful, but part of that is their commitment to failing fast and learning fast from day one.

At first, they tested two different products, but both failed – one focused on heart health and the other on joint health. Neither resonated with young users of Generation Z. Olly quickly stopped making these health supplements and stuck to making medicines that really work—vitamins that help millennials sleep, reduce stress, have better skin, and more.

Some people may ask that can middle-aged and elderly consumers really benefit from heart-healthy vitamins? certainly. Olly’s R&D team is very reliable. So can it replace heart medications? Not likely. The Olly team knows the only way they can grow is by helping buyers with their immediate needs. If heart-healthy vitamins are targeted at middle-aged and elderly consumers, but precisely these people need treatment drugs more, the target users of these vitamins are destined not to be these people.

According to Olly’s market insights, all the health products on the market at that time, such as calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamins and other professional terms were overwhelming, which made consumers not know what to choose. Moreover, the packaging of these products and medicines on the market were also confusing. The first thing Olly needs to do is to rescue users from the difficult situation of buying health products. Simply based on the needs of users, for example, health products are divided into several categories: Sleep, specifically for sleep problems, immunity enhancement, beauty and beauty, mood adjustment, etc. Including the recent launch of new categories of women’s health and sexual health.
As a major health industry, they do not write papers and never show off terms. Olly’s product research and development has always focused on the goals of audience needs. We will produce whatever consumers need. If we solve the user’s core problem, will we still worry that they only consume once?
Tip: Your audience needs predictable wins. Chances are, your product might solve a big problem, but the way you make your audience care is by first helping them solve a small one that’s right in front of them.

#3: When others are round, you are square.

Olly’s initial revenue growth came from offline Target shelves. Like every retail store, the vitamin aisles are filled with bottles and jars that are all round.

How to make your product stand out easily? When others are round, you are square. Olly immediately catches people’s attention with its distinctive square bottle. This square packaging box is not only different in shape from traditional health care product packaging similar to medicine bottles, but Olly uses a cute, playful and approachable design language. Their packaging visually presents the product in a more beautiful and youthful way.

I also really like Ryan’s view on why the company was named “Olly” – the entrepreneur with a background in advertising design said “because it looks great on the bottle.”

Yes, aesthetics is important, especially in the e-commerce industry. An excellent and attractive design is often the first step in guiding consumer behavior.

Young people are paying more and more attention to health issues, and regard healthy living habits as an indispensable part of modern lifestyle. The nutritional and health care industry has always had a “old-fashioned”, “serious” and even somewhat “outdated” product style and brand image, which seems somewhat incompatible with young people’s pursuit of a vibrant, simple and simple lifestyle. Olly conducts user-centered research and integrates brand value into the user-centered design concept of this product. Instead, use the language of youthful vitality to describe the product, and use fresh and bright colors and simple design language to design the outer packaging. What they convey is the natural, healthy and nutritious nature of the product, and the sweet taste, so that young people are no longer deterred.
Tip: If all of your competitors have “10 tips” blogs, find a new perspective. If all your competitors limit their white papers, ditch yours. Find a way to do something different today, even if it’s small.

#4: Don’t focus on the point of sale. Focus on changing your habits.

I don’t know the economics of profitability in terms of customer acquisition and vitamins. But I’m sure Olly is focused on repeat purchases and extending customer lifetime value.

From the beginning, when Olly was founded in 2015, it has operated on a subscription service model and launched functional gummy vitamins.

In an interview with TechCrunch in 2016, another co-founder, Brad Harrington, said when asked about the vitamin’s sugar content: “We want consumers to develop good habits. If You’ve got to have a little bit of sugar to feed those habits, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

By 2020, the population of young Millennials has risen to become the main consumer group, and they are becoming more and more health-conscious. Data shows that the likelihood of millennials who’re willing to try new drugs exceeds 32%, which is significantly higher than the general group. Regarding health care product brands, Olly deeply understands that each generation has a different relationship with health, and young people are more inclined to regard health as an integral part of their lifestyle.

From pops of bright colors, to new and different product designs, to helpful, sweet customer experiences, Olly remains focused on guiding customers down the path to behavioral change (and repeat purchases).

Tip: Words on a page are not enough. Make your website load faster. Add “reading time” and table of contents. Put the information they want most in the title. You want these users to come back for a second visit.

#5: Being socially responsible makes a brand a real brand.

Mental health is something we all experience, just like physical health. Olly stands out by emphasizing the benefits a product provides (such as more energy or stress relief) rather than just the ingredients, and also addresses the mental health crisis through a partnership with the JED Foundation.

As can be seen from Olly’s official website, their mission is to help protect young people during the critical period of their growth. They work with the JED organization to improve the emotional health of young people and prevent suicide.

Therefore, it is a brand with a sense of social responsibility, and only at this time can it be called a real brand.

Tip: If your product itself is well done and will generate stable income, then tell a story. You can focus on vulnerable groups in society and actually take a small percentage of the profits to elevate your product into a real brand.

Over the past 10 years, Eric Ryan has founded household cleaning brand Method, vitamins and gummies brand Olly, and first aid brand Welly. Now, Eric Ryan is entering a new area that he believes needs restructuring: luxury jewelry. Eric Ryan’s new brand is Cast, an online DTC jewelry brand soft-launching in early October 2021. The brand announced a $12 million round of funding led by True Ventures that month. Next time we’ll see this super serial entrepreneur’s new brand.


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