The method of method home

One of the cool things with this blogging lark is connecting with interesting people. Earlier this year I had a trip to Innocent’s Fruit Towers. This week I invited Tom Fishburne, UK marketing director of method home, for fish and chips in my local pub in Putney. Tom moved to London earlier this year with his family to launch method home in the UK. Here are some of the things I learnt about the method of method home…

[BTW, If you don’t know method, they are what I called in a previous post "the Green & Blacks" of household cleaning. They sell environmentally friendly, non-toxic products, but is the sexiest looking packaging you have ever seen]

Most admirers of method home wax lyrically about the emotional appeal of the brand and their "higher order mission", and I dig this too. But what I really love is that the whole brand is built on fantastic products and packaging. Just look at this stuff, which is more like cosmetics that you average household cleaning products. No surprise, as they got uber cool design Karim Rashid to design the packaging. And they have a real point of difference in striving for efficacy, whilst being non-toxic. With products like this you don’t need to invest  lot in fancy communication, as the products speak, or rather shout, for themselves.

2. WHAT are you FOR?
Talking to Tom I felt the same fervour as when I met Dan, creative genius of innocent. They are clearly part of an adventure that goes beyond just pushing products. In the case of method, they want want to make cleaning your home sexy, cool and at the same time less harmful. Like innocent, they have their own irreverent tone of voice and language which is shouts through in their manifesto. I’ve posted before about writing a brand manifesto; I find that breaking out of the constraints of a tradition boxy positioning tool really helps you express your brand. Here are a few snippets from the method "humanifesto" that you can download here method_humanifesto.pdf:

we see ingredients that come from plants, not chemical plants
we’re entranced by shiny objects, like clean dinner plates, nobel peace prizes, and tasteful public sculptures
role models in bottles
a way to help each and every advocate put their method where their mouth is
once you clean up your home, a mess of other problems seem to disappear as well

I quizzed Tom about which sort of positioning tool they used to sum up the method brand; Tom knows a thing or two about this as he is ex General Mills. But guess what? They haven’t spent months labouring over a pyramid or onion. They do have a couple of things which are clear, and because these words weren’t messed with by a committee, they are distinctive and edgy.:
– An overall mission, "What we’re for" which they summarise as "people against dirty"
– A slogan: "Detox your home"


Beyond this, people are free to find new ways of expressing the brand. As the products/packs are so distinctive, and as the leadership from the top is so clear, people "get" the brand without the need for a complex brand book.

This is perhaps the most interesting insight of all I got from Tom. Like innocent, Method have key creative people inside the company. In particular, the guy who heads up product design, Josh Handy, used to work as product director for Karim Rashid. Cool. So, rather than having to brief a design agency to come up with ideas, Josh sketches then up in a couple of hours, and then uses a nifty bit of kit to create a 3-d mock-up… over night. Wow. This is part of the reason why the brand can be defined more loosely (see above), as the key creative people live and breathe it.

The 2 founders of method, Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, don’t talk about the brand. They ARE the brand,  what I call "brand CEOs".What is really interesting is that Tom explained how they each bring to life one of the two key sides of the brand:
– "Sex": Eric Ryan is the ex-ad guy with the creative touch
– "Substance": Adam Lowry is the ex Standford scientist who was really into the environment

Their own version of "sausage and sizzle"!


Growing the method brand in the UK will be a long hard slog for sure. But the power of being differentiated shows in the fact that Tom and the team were able to get a listing in Tesco and Sainsbury in the first couple of weeks.

So, good luck to Tom and the Team in the UK. Click through to Ocado here to buy some of their stuff now!