Who Gives a Crap – A Net Promoter Story

I’m a sucker when it comes to clever branding.

As a marketer, it really doesn’t get much better than seeing a company that’s willing to take a bit of risk by using humor and creativity to stand out.

That may seem like a simple thing that most any company would be willing to do, but in reality, most businesses are entirely risk-averse, often sticking to what they believe to be safe and risk-free.

There is nothing wrong with that approach, and depending on the type of customer you serve, it may be your best choice. However, those that have the ability push the envelope when it comes to their branding, and are able to execute it properly, can see massive viral growth at minimal expense as a return.

To illustrate my point, just look at the success of Poopouri, a company whose tagline reads, Spritz the bowl before you go and no one else will ever know.

Starting with just a $25k personal investment, the toilet bowl fragrance company (that protects against unwanted odors), went from selling in local stores in Texas to selling over 17 million products and generating north of $300 million in revenue nearly overnight.

How did they do that?

Clever branding and well-executed humor. Their viral success came from a video that showcased their creativity, generating over 40 million views to date.

While the company claims to “pride themselves on being ‘number 2’”, I challenge you to name me one other toilet bowl spritz brand (without Googling it).

That’s the power of creativity.

Speaking of bathroom products, about two years ago we had a new customer sign up for Promoter that caught our eye.

They weren’t some massive Fortune 500 company, in fact, up until that day we had never heard of them.

What caught our eye was their name, Who Gives a Crap.

At the time, we weren’t sure if that was some kind of sarcastic response to our signup form, or if that was truly their company name.

Again, as a marketer that’s enamored with creativity, I had to know more.

As it turns out, Who Gives a Crap is a super clever play on what it is that they do. The Australian-based company is a socially-responsible manufacturer of eco-friendly toilet paper, whose mission it is to help solve the sanitation issues in the developing world.

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According to their data, roughly 2.3 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet or proper sanitation, so Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of profits to help improve their conditions.

As you’ve heard us say numerous times, for any company, measuring the sentiment of your customers is critically important to the success of your business. That is especially true for businesses that take bold positions and branding.

The team at Who Gives a Crap turned to Net Promoter (NPS) and Promoter.io to ensure that their message was getting across and help them expand their brand outside of their native country.

Megan Olney, Head of Customer Happiness, stated that they turned to NPS to determine what it was that customers loved most about the brand.

Knowing that their customers were “fiercely loyal” and that word-of-mouth had been their biggest growth vehicle to date, the team already had a sense that organic growth would continue.

What they wanted to know more specifically was what drove that loyalty.

Olney says that the feedback they receive has been, “very insightful”.

Some of what they learned was that customers had found their branding and sense of humor to be delightful and refreshing.

They also discovered that customers liked ordering their products on a subscription basis, which turns out to be one less bulky purchase customers needed to make on their shopping trips.

Interestingly though, using customer attributes, they were able to determine that customers in rural areas would benefit greater from a Co-op subscription model, which has opened up new opportunities for the company.

Olney claims that not only has the NPS data been insightful, but it’s also been very actionable.

In particular, the marketing team has been able to improve their sites SEO (search engine optimization) as well refine their Facebook advertising directly from customer insights.

In another example, Olney and her team discovered that customers in the UK, which is a market that had recently entered, were really into zero waste. This NPS discovery helped them improve on the messaging and targeting within this emerging market.

But, like every company, not all of the customer feedback was positive.

When detractor or passive feedback comes in (which isn’t much, keep reading to see their NPS score), an email gets triggered to the customer support team for proper and immediate triage.

In addition, each piece of feedback (positive and negative) is tagged, which has allowed Olney to identify clear overarching trends within the data.

One interesting and relatively amusing trend they discovered is that customers have claimed that they don’t like talking about toilet paper with friends.

While this is humorous because it’s true for most of us, it also brings up an important point about referrals and organic growth.

What happens when you sell a product or service that doesn’t lend itself to natural word-of-mouth discussions?

In the case of Who Gives a Crap, they already know that customer referrals have been their biggest growth channel. While some customers may not be willing to discuss or recommend their toilet paper with friends, they certainly are spreading the word about their social impact, or humorous branding.

If you’re growing a sustainable company, you will need some semblance of organic growth, which every company, regardless of what you sell, is capable of.

If your product or service is inherently unshareable, it’s your job to create a narrative that is. Maybe that’s delivering amazing customer service or maybe it’s something absurd like bringing a clown along on sales calls.

If your product or service is inherently unshareable, it’s your job to create a narrative that is. Click To Tweet

Olney has used NPS for this exact reason. Understanding the reason behind their customers’ loyalty has given the company the chance to grow exponentially.

Since starting their NPS journey in early 2016, Who Gives a Crap has been able to double their growth each year, as well as expand into both the US and UK markets.

One thing that’s certain, with an average response rate of 45% and a current NPS score of 81, it appears that it’s their customers who give a crap!

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Dana Severson

Dana Severson is the Director of Marketing at Promoter.io and cofounder of Startups Anonymous. Former founder & CEO of Chasm.io/Wahooly and AngelPad Alum. In addition to focusing on growth at Promoter, Dana is a weekly columnist for Inc.com

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