Last night, Stephanie and I watched an excellent documentary about Burt Shavitz — the founder of Burt’s Bees. If you haven’t yet had a chance to watch it, I highly recommend you do so very soon. This is a “must see” for any entrepreneur or business person. Plus, it’s entertaining to boot! There are also some big “Content Marketing” lessons in the documentary, so I wanted to share them with you here on the blog today…
The Burt’s Bees Business Model
Just in case you’re not already familiar with Burt’s Bees, the company specializes in personal care products made from honey and beeswax. They also offer a range of other ancillary products unrelated to bees, but it truly is the “bees” that made Burt’s Bees what it is today.
In the documentary, Burt Shavitz makes a profound statement I want to highlight here. He says (I’m paraphrasing): Essentially, there’s nothing magical or special about the products I created. Anyone could do it. It’s not like we had some lock on honey or beeswax products.
That statement is critical because it underlines the importance of MARKETING. If you strip away all of the Burt’s Bees marketing, branding, and image-making, it literally is just simple products that basically anyone and everyone could produce.
How Burt’s Bees Leveraged Content Marketing
A major focus of the documentary is how Burt Shavitz was eliminated from the Burt’s Bees enterprise by his former business partner, Roxanne Quimby. The documentary definitely favors Burt Shavitz’s side of the story. I’ll leave it up to you (after watching the documentary) to formulate your own opinion about the conflict between Quimby and Shavitz.
But the documentary does an excellent job of explaining how Roxanne Quimby made several important decisions in the early stages of Burt’s Bees to focus their marketing strategy around Burt. She literally used Burt’s image and Burt’s story to create a sense of culture and personalization around the business.
You see, Burt Shavitz is a very eccentric and interesting person. He lives (or used to live) in a small renovated turkey coop in Northern Maine where he makes his home. He rides motorcycles, shoots guns, and has no running hot water. He’s a man of many contrasts but also a man of very clear and very specific life philosophies.
At its core, Burt’s Bees is a company that’s about much more than “beeswax products” and organic lip balms. It’s a company with a mission to change the world and a charming, even if a bit abrasive, front-man to represent its mission.
This is where I give Roxanne Quimby a big high-five for quickly grasping the importance of building a story around her company. Pure genius.
And this is the part where you take a break from reading this blog and go write down your own compelling content marketing story. 🙂
The Burt’s Bees Million Dollar Business Secret
Roxanne Quimby also makes another statement during the documentary I wanted to share with you. This one isn’t exactly related to content marketing, but it’s just as important for your success as an entrepreneur.
She says, (again I’m paraphrasing): What’s my secret to creating a multi-million dollar business? Well, first you have to create it in your mind. You have to believe, without a shadow of doubt, that you can do it and that it is possible.
So true and so important.
What do you think? Have you seen the Burt’s Bees documentary? What other feedback do you have about the content marketing ideas in this post?
Please leave your comment below.