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HOW CHALLENGER BRANDS WIN
WITH CHARLIE BOWES-LYON,
CO-FOUNDER & CMO OF WILD
A strong mission, good timing, and a clear gap
Wild’s mission is to remove plastic waste from the bathroom and the genesis of the business is rooted in the unique experience of both its founders.

Charlie had moonlit a business from his garage making reusable and sustainable coffee cups and water bottles. Whilst the business was ultimately sold, the level of interest and sales were way more than he’d anticipated.

Freddy had led hello fresh’s sales and marketing function for 6 years, and had noticed a steep rise in customer interest in sustainability across the supply chain.

Both these experiences gave the team the theory and the belief upon which wild was founded: that in general, most people want to be and buy sustainable, provided the products are high quality and are easily accessible as the non sustainable version.

It was from this that wild was born….

Mainstream sustainable
Building on that assumption, Charlie spoke about building something mainstream and accessible.

“We wanted our brand to be mainstream, to be accessible, and to be as easy a buying decision to make as buying the non sustainable version. Once we delivered on this, we had to convince customers that they aren’t losing anything by going sustainable.”
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Create memorable brand assets
“The reason we are bright and colourful is we wanted to appeal to the mainstream and as soon as you see the word eco sustainability and you suddenly see different shades of dark green, the average person will immediately subconsciously make a little switch to thinking that this is an eco product, it isn’t for me, and it may not work as well. So we had to kind of shock the brain by taking a different look, being energetic, and underpinning it with a high performing product”

This extended into Wild’s photography and scents where Wild wanted to market the brand through multiple senses and in particular the sense of taste.

“We wanted the deodorants to look really appealing, almost like you’d want to eat it. So, for example, with our orange and neroli scent, we used delicious looking freshly squeezed oranges

And in terms of scents, we really liked the idea of scents that are less functional, more emotional, where the smells can tell a story. "

“Its amazing, we went out and made that lemon and meringue scent, and when we got the scent back we were blown away as it smelt just like it. To the point where you can get the hints of lemon and the meringue. And I think it when you can tell a story like that and match it with your product, it takes customers on a journey where it reminds them of something maybe from their own lives, and it stops being a simple product and more of an experience. And that’s the journey we want our brand to take”
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Sustainability is still the cornerstone
Having said all that, the real cornerstone of the brand remains sustainability, and Wild are committed to the vision that is ultimately bigger than themselves.

They try to communicate that message that customers are contributing to this vision in a meaningful way by buying Wild’s products – from enabling Wild plant trees in the ‘Wild forest’ to saving plastic every time you buy.

Customers as VIP’s
Wild have created a VIP community of customers who are heavily involved in product testing, product suggestions and brand feedback. They even run a monthly Scent Club for these loyal fans.

This sense of community works both ways – customers getting to play a part in the growth of a brand they believe in, and Wild getting the gift of continuous real time feedback.

“One of the huge advantages of having a D2C business has been the ability for us to collect real time feedback on anything from your brand to your products. And we definitely try to gather as much feedback as we can.”
ADVICE FOR OTHER CHALLENGER BRANDS
Take risks – Launch early, don’t overplan, and improve on the go
“You have to take risks. And sometimes that risk might be as simple as just launching your product when it’s not perfect. For us, when we launched our initial version we had an NPS of -20. Now it’s 60. By launching early we were able to gather feedback, make the changes we needed, and keep improving.”As a startup, Wild were nimble enough to launch and learn on the fly. Something larger brands may not have the luxury of.

Walk the walk
“We have to genuinely live our ideals as well as preach them. We’re continuously looking at ways to improve our packaging or use more sustainable ingredients, and it’s super important for us that we don’t lose sight of sustainability being the cornerstone of our brand”
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