Building a Brand Focused on Delivering Honest, Meaningful Products
Building a Brand Focused on Delivering Honest, Meaningful Products

The Moms Co. has reached over a million moms in three years, and that is a testament to the love the brand has garnered very quickly. The Moms Co. journey started with young parents Malika and Mohit Sadani looking for toxin-free, all-natural skincare products for their baby, and finding a major gap in the Indian market. In the process of finding a solution, Malika and Mohit helped many struggling parents by taking it upon themselves. The success of The Moms Co. can be attributed to listening to your customers, developing great quality products with a single-minded, patient focus, and keeping things honest.

In the recent episode of Brick by Brick: Building Insurgent Brands hosted by DSG Consumer Partners, Malika and Mohit delved deep into the company’s story- from the early days of Malika’s searches for advice and product reviews on “new mom” Facebook groups, to working on their own product line and launching the brand, to generating trials and adoption via smart marketing on a budget, and the recent integration into The Good Glamm Group.

Here are our top eight tips that we felt would be of great value to new Founders:

1. Fill a Gap, and do it with honesty:

The Moms Co. was an idea that took shape around the time Johnsons and Johnsons, a CPG veteran, was facing a major confidence crisis with its hit line of Johnsons Baby products. While there was a consumer need, the target audience of new parents is a sensitive niche. Consumer trust had to be earned, especially when The Moms Co. was going to compete with large brands that have been around for many years.

The only way to win this battle was to focus completely on product quality. Malika and Mohit worked hard to develop a product line that was efficient and safe and delivered on what it promised- one they could trust and use for their own children. No complicated messaging, and no overly broad range of SKUs- the focus was on addressing the specific needs of parents with great products that stood out because of their quality.

2. Price Points are Not Deal Breakers for a Value-Sensitive Category:

New parents prioritize product quality, and not price. Malika and Mohit developed products that were even better than globally trusted brands like Cetaphil and Sebamed, because they used all-natural ingredients, and their product line was completely toxin-free.

Sure, the superior ingredients meant the cost of production was higher, and as a result, the products were priced in line with these global brands, but new users found value in high-quality, trustworthy products for their babies.

3. Keep Your Product Portfolio Focused on What is Important to Your Customer:

At a time when competitors were rapidly expanding their product lines, Malika and Mohit decided to keep their portfolios streamlined. Instead of launching many products to showcase a well-developed product line, they channeled their energies on bettering their product quality to better serve customer needs. This involved constantly interacting with customers to get feedback on what is working and what is not, pressing the peddle on innovation and research, and raising the bar for their own products as an organization-wide best practice.

The team at The Moms Co. was also cognizant of the fact that new mothers were short on time and needed help with making simplified choices. Theirs was not a “high experimentation” segment. Mothers who found good products that worked well for their babies would be loyal and avoid switching without reason. They had to, therefore, make an impact with the first trials.

4. Founders Should Lead From the Front, But Only if They Want to:

Many digital-first brands have founders as the face of their brands and lead from the front. Mohit and Malika, however, feel that it is not essential, and should only be done when:

  • The brand is a reflection of the founders’ personality
  • Being the face of the brand excites the founders, and doesn’t drain them out

Being the face of the brand can be taxing, and founders shouldn't take it up if it doesn’t come naturally to them. Instead, they can focus on addressing online feedback and listening to customers through various channels.

It is important for potential customers to be able to see who the founders are, what their background is, and if they can be trusted. As long as founders are able to address this, they will be okay.

5. There Are Many Ways to Build Long Term Defensibility:

Often in personal care, many people including investors believe that building defensibility is quite a challenge. When most brands end up using the same factories and suppliers for production, how does one build a long-lasting, differentiated brand?

Mohit believes this can be done by-

  • Focusing on how you define your brand. If founders do a good job of defining it differently, ie making it stand out from the crowd, it becomes harder for incumbents to copy them
  • Setting up unique, stand-out processes. For example- differentiated forums to regularly interact with customers, such as The Mom Co.’s weekly customer interactions with Malika, are not something large organizations can easily replicate. 
  • Being innovative with your research and product line, messaging, packaging, etc. The Moms Co. constantly came up with cool deals like the Pregnancy Gift Box, to keep themselves ahead of the competition. The idea is to keep innovating and making it a habit for everyone in the organization to stay ahead of the competition and break the clutter.

6. Brand and Performance Marketing Efforts Must Focus on Sustainable Business Growth, and Not Just Customer Acquisition:

The Moms Co was careful about spending on performance marketing. Instead, Malik and Mohit believe founders should focus on building the brand and strengthening the product. In the long term, this makes performance marketing campaigns more efficient. Founders should resist the urge to ramp up on the back of performance marketing campaigns, as metrics might look strong at the face of it, but over time founders will notice concerns like traffic quality, poor conversions, lower CLTV, etc.

Another thing Malika pointed out is that brand marketing need not be large-scale, such as signing up a big celebrity, to be visible. Initially, founders should use their limited budgets to drive trials, get customer feedback, host pop-ups, etc to connect with customers, and forge partnerships with other related brands.

7. Founders Need to Approach Their Business Differently Once They’ve Sold It:

This is a tricky one, and possibly something all founders find difficult. Founders nurture their businesses with a whole lot of care, and changing their perspective once they’ve sold the business to another organization, to take up the role of an employee in the system, requires a major readjustment in the thought process. They need to hand over the reins and learn to work in the best interest of the business, but as employees, not business owners.

To Malika and Mohit, some things were critical when they were selling their business- such as making sure their entire team is suitably absorbed into The Good Glamm Group. They also knew that The Moms Co. would be an integral part of The Good Glamm Group’s portfolio, and so the baby brand that they worked so hard to build would be well looked after. Founders must carefully think through what is important to them while deciding on who to sell to.

8. Founders Must Be Okay with Hiring for What They Can’t Do:

Founders can’t do everything by themselves. And that’s okay. They should be aware of their own skill sets, and what they enjoy doing, and focus on that. For roles they can’t fill themselves, founders should quickly hire experts who can.

Malika also rightly pointed out that the role of a founder doesn't become redundant as they hire experts and expand their team. Instead, that is when the most critical part of their job begins- which is to bring everyone together and drive them towards a common goal. Founders bring in a passion that is unique to them, and they must use this passion to keep the organization on an upward path always.

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