'Brandless' is the only 'brand' you can buy at the eponymous e-grocer. As co-founder Tina Sharkey explains, young 'Brandless' is not about the absence of identity or meaning and being a brand in that sense. Rather, it is about changing the way in which a brand connects with constituents and is distributed. Which, in her words, is no less than a 'revolution' in which Brandless seeks to 'abolish the brand tax' (see chart below) used by 'regular brands' to make up stories (aka advertising) and generate profits for everyone across the media employed and the long supply chain - retailers, in particular.
Instead, the vision of a 'Brandless life' is one where you 'shop by values' (ie. 'certified organic') on a website, where labels check-off (what are judged) key product attributes on the front (pics below), where less is more (ie. GMO free, gluten free, no added sugar, no pictures/logos/slogans, etc.), where you swap recipes with the 'Brandless community' and dialogue with the company on what they should add to the lineup.
And every item costs a mere $3, ships for free and an order triggers two meals being donated to NGO Feeding America - provided you signed-up to 'B.More' for $39/year. - 'Hurray!' (to quote the site).
The above are just some of the elements Tina talks about - enthusiastically - in our interview, as she illustrates how Brandless executes against a higher mission of 'democratizing goodness' with the help of a motivated team and brilliant agency. -- You can imagine that we were intrigued.
Is Brandless a blueprint for the 'new way we live and shop ... build communities ... and thus build brands,' as Tina says? Or is it more simply a savvy shot by two digital serial entrepreneurs at disrupting 'Big CPG and Retail' - or at least scare it enough to buy them out? The other co-founder, Ido Leffler, wrote a book in 2013 entitled "Get Big Fast and Do More Good' to summarize his experience in 'accelerated brand building' up to that date. Him and Tina have certainly succeeded to catch attention fast if over 165k Facebook followers (as of Jan 2018) six months into their new venture are a solid indicator.
But is the @BrandlessLife here to stay? Maybe, the best way to judge might indeed be to take Tina up on her offer and give it a try. Let us know when you do and what you think.
FURTHER THOUGHTS AND READING:
For insights into what drives the success of modern brands - we call those that succeed to elevate themselves and can charge a premium Ueber-Brands - read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands” and other case-studies on this blog.
If you want us to help you elevate your own brand, then write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is another interview with Tina about how "Hot new e-commerce start-up Brandless is totally obsessed with its own brand" by Alison Grisworld at Quartz magazine. We learn that the "brand bills itself as the Procter & Gamble of millennials" wanting "people to live more, brand less... and stop the false narratives sold by Madison Avenue". Out of context quotes or an over-the-top portrayal? Listen to our interview with Tina and or study the brand talking 'About Us' and you will hear/read that Brandless sees itself a "group of thinkers, eaters, doers and lovers of life with big dreams about changing the world."
Or watch both founders on CBS This Morning