While it may be easier than ever to develop a product and bring it to market online, being able to stand out in the crowd is more difficult. Bryce Goldman, chief executive officer and cofounder of coconut-based natural beauty brand Kopari, advised start-ups to put effort, energy, time and capital into building a differentiated and authentic brand story from Day One.
Goldman and his wife discovered coconut oil during its surge in popularity in the food and beverage industry six years ago. As they learned about its skin and hair benefits, they thought they could build a nice brand story and aesthetic around the tropical fruit.
An avid surfer, Goldman had always been enamored with the culture and lifestyle. “Whether it be sunglasses, board shorts, flip-flops, wetsuits, there was something about that lifestyle and the almost transportive nature that was captivating. When you bought their products you just felt sort of cool. There was something about the vibe for that industry that would translate nicely into a lifestyle beauty brand,” he said.
They also focused on trends in the market, one being coconuts, and the other being natural beauty. “So many natural brands looked, felt and sounded very similar. Why wasn’t anybody making natural beauty fun bright and relatable? We leaned into it and we carried it out across our packaging and in our brand voice,” he said.
Kopari’s brand manifesto includes phrases like, “We coconut like we give a damn” and “Grab life by the coconuts,” to speak to its efficaciousness in a cheeky and humorous way.
“We spent as much time concepting the brand as we did developing the products and it’s paid off in spades. It’s been amazing to see it come to life and see our customers interact with it,” he said, noting their messages often adopt the same voice.
The third lesson learned is that a constant stream of content is a must. Whether it’s scrappy in-house stills or highly produced videos, Kopari is constantly testing content in organic and paid channels.
They also repurpose a lot of user-generated content, press hits and advertisements. To launch an aluminum-free deodorant this year, they produced a humorous commercial called “The Truth Stinks” for YouTube and streaming TV networks.
“The last lesson is to engage, build, harness and nurture your community wherever and whenever they prefer — SMS text, social media, or over the phone,” he said.
“We let it dictate a lot of what we do, even product development. Our vision was to be a skin-care brand, but our customers were asking for deodorant. It’s given us the opportunity to expand into this multicategory beauty brand,” he said.
They also take customer service seriously. “You invest so much time and money into your customers, so it’s critical to keep them engaged and coming back and spreading the word about your brand,” he said, noting that next year Kopari will expand further into the personal-care category.