Inspirational Owners: November 2005
King of Shaves
Every seven seconds someone buys a King of Shaves product — proof of success in a market where the consumer has power of choice. 12 years since he hand-filled 10,000 bottles of product over his kitchen sink, Will King now heads a growing empire whose award winning products work to rid nasty shaving rash and burn. Will shares his thoughts.
Lovemarks: Lovemarks is premised on the Love/Respect Axis and attaining both High Love and High Respect. How do you relate this idea to the way your business works from day to day?
Will King:Our ethos at KoS is to "Enthuse, Exceed, Enjoy!" I hope this manifests itself in everything we do — whether our products, customer service and overall approach to building "love" for our brand.
LMKS: Attributes associated with design, innovation and resilient sustainability are a part of the evolution from trademarks to brands to Lovemarks. How highly do you rate these attributes and why?
WK: These attributes are hugely important. We are constantly changing, and embracing change to remain constantly better than our competitive set.
LMKS: Lovemarks recognizes that the senses are portals to our emotions. Sight, sound, scent, touch and taste. Can you identify how one of the five senses — or a combination of interplay o more than one — connects most strongly with your product or service?
WK:As we sell shaving and skincare "Software" products for us on customers’ skin, touch and scent are key. In terms of sight, we attempt to differentiate our "look" through extensive use of ’fresh’ colour.
LMKS: What makes you curious and passionate about other brands around the world?
WK: I’m known as something of a ’knowledge dyson’ — a ’sucker up’ of what’s really interesting, differentiated and decommoditised out in the world. Use of the internet and independent consumer opinion makes me ever more curious to know more, learn more. For armed with knowledge, you can get ahead of the curve, and surf it for faster and longer. So I constantly refer to what I think are cool brands (e.g. Innocent, Oakley or Apple) and see how I can learn from their success.
LMKS: Inspirational Consumers have been described as the people who, without any prompting, tell other people about the business you’re in and what it is doing for them. Can you recall any encounters you’ve had where a customer gave you a new insight to the rationale of both your business and your marketing?
WK: I’ve had loads! The thing with our shaving oil (for example) was that it literally changed a person’s experience of shaving from awful to fantastic. If every day you got razor burn, then didn’t, it was something you felt compelled to ’shout from the rooftops’. We must have many hundreds, if not thousands of emails and letters applauding us for the product range, and these continue today, as evidenced by Lovemarks comments.
In terms of marketing, we’ve always tried to do stuff which means something to our consumer. For example, ’Be the Face of King of Shaves’ was a chance for a normal consumer to be featured in a print ad campaign.
LMKS: In thinking about your business, how, in broad terms, do you define loyalty?
WK: The ’loyal subject’ is clearly a play on words from ye olde days of Kingly Rule, and is tongue in cheek. We are blessed with our consumers - loyal subjects - as those who love us, tell others, and those who think we might be getting it wrong (or indeed have) tell us.
LMKS: What are your top 5 Lovemarks?
WK: * Formula Alpha Shaving Oil (unmentholated)
* AlphaGel Supercooled Menthol shaving gel
* Kinexium Shaving Oil
* MagnaGel MME Shaving Gel
* XCD Perfecter Skin Mattifier