Adam Lowry: Method to Success [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

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December 6, 2011
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Stanford eCorner
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Adam Lowry: Method to Success [Entire Talk]

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Summary

This video features the founder of Method, Adam Lowry, discussing the story behind the company's success as a business focused on positive social and environmental change. He explains how frustration with existing cleaning products led him and his business partner to create a brand that offers innovative, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing products. Lowry discusses the importance of innovation, storytelling, and creating a culture of evolution within the business.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the frustration with existing cleaning products inspire the creation of Method?

The founders of Method, Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, were frustrated with the lack of high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, and sustainable cleaning products on the market. They saw a sea of sameness in the cleaning category and realized there was an opportunity to create a brand that offered something different.

Q: What motivated Adam Lowry to leave his job as a climate scientist and start Method?

While working as a climate scientist, Lowry realized that his work was only reaching an audience that was already concerned about environmental issues. He wanted to reach a wider audience and make a bigger impact. Additionally, he was frustrated with the sacrifice-based proposition of existing sustainable brands and saw an opportunity to create a brand that offered both sustainability and high-quality products.

Q: How did Method differentiate itself from other brands in the cleaning category?

Method focused on design, sustainability, and performance to differentiate itself from other brands in the cleaning category. They created aesthetically pleasing products that people would want to display in their homes, rather than hide under the sink. They also developed more sustainable packaging and ingredients, while still maintaining high performance.

Q: What challenges did Method face when trying to get distribution in stores?

Method faced challenges when trying to get distribution in stores, as they didn't have a large budget for sales staff or traditional marketing. They had to pitch their products directly to store managers and faced many rejections and doors being slammed in their faces. However, they persisted and eventually secured distribution in a few stores, which allowed them to prove the potential of their business.

Q: How did Method's innovation model allow them to create positive change in the world?

Method's innovation model focused on creating innovations that were adopted by consumers. They aimed to make sustainability more convenient and accessible for people, rather than creating innovations that made it harder for consumers to adopt sustainable practices. By creating innovative, sustainable products that people actually wanted to buy, Method was able to create positive social and environmental change.

Q: How did storytelling play a role in Method's success?

Storytelling played a critical role in Method's success by allowing them to connect emotionally with their customers. They created stories that highlighted the problems with existing cleaning products, positioned Method as a solution, and invited customers to join the movement against dirty. By telling compelling stories and engaging their customers, Method built a strong emotional connection with their brand.

Q: Can you give an example of a story Method used to promote their brand?

One example of a story Method used was their "Jug Free America" campaign, which aimed to highlight the wastefulness and messiness of traditional laundry jugs. They created a spoof video and campaign that positioned jug-free laundry as a more convenient and sustainable alternative. This story helped Method build awareness, engagement, and participation in their movement against dirty.

Q: How did Method's innovation in laundry detergent change the industry?

Method's innovations in laundry detergent, such as their triple-concentrated and small-sized bottles, challenged the convention of bigger is better in the industry. They focused on creating convenient and sustainable options for consumers, rather than wasteful and unnecessarily large jugs. By creating compact and concentrated laundry detergent, Method was able to reduce waste and have a positive impact on the industry.

Q: How did Method's innovative refill format contribute to sustainability efforts?

Method's innovative refill format allowed customers to reuse their existing Method bottles by refilling them with the product. This significantly reduced packaging waste and the overall environmental footprint of the product. By providing a more sustainable and convenient option for customers, Method was able to further its sustainability efforts and make a positive impact on the environment.

Q: How did Method's storytelling and innovation model lead to customer participation and engagement?

Method's storytelling and innovation model created emotional connections and invited customers to participate in their movement against dirty. By creating stories that resonated with customers and showcasing how Method's products could solve their problems, customers felt a sense of ownership and became advocates for the brand. This participation and engagement helped Method spread their message and build a loyal customer base.

Takeaways

Method's success as a business focused on positive social and environmental change stems from their innovative approach to product design, sustainability, and storytelling. Their focus on innovation allowed them to create products that revolutionized the cleaning industry, while their storytelling efforts helped build an emotional connection with customers. Method's commitment to sustainability and their willingness to evolve their business model has positioned them as a leader in their space, constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved through business as a force for good.

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