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Billion Dollar Brand Club

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Billion Dollar Brand Club

Talks at Google,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Direct-to-consumer start-ups still have space to expand.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


Perhaps you remember the heady early days of the social internet, when internet ads felt friendly and familiar, goofy and spoofy, and direct-to-consumer companies could also accurately be called “connect-to-consumer” companies. Now, there’s a cacophony of voices shouting for attention, and social media advertising may seem less charming – and less effective. Is there still room to succeed in the direct-to-consumer start-up that uses social media to market? Larry Ingrassia, author of Billion Dollar Brand Club thinks so. You’ve just got to know which category to target.


Technology evened the playing field, allowing new start-ups to play David to the Goliath of already established companies.

In 2011, Dollar Shave Club uploaded an advertisement to YouTube. Filming the ad cost only $5,000, but it received over 26.6 million views at the last count. The Dollar Shave Club had a bold goal – they wanted to take on Gillette, a firmly established company that spends hundreds of thousands a year on marketing. Somehow, with a $5,000 ad, the Dollar Shave Club managed to get a foothold in the market, and eventually sold for a fantastic profit. Gillette even ended up lowering its prices, making it a win for the consumer no matter where they purchased their razors.

Technology, the internet and social media marketing had given start-ups an opportunity to compete with already established companies. After ...

About the Speaker

Larry Ingrassia is the author of Billion Dollar Brand Club, and worked as a journalist and senior editor for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

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