Dr. Robb Akridge, co-creator of Clarisonic, early pioneer at Sonicare, and one of my legacy clients, didn’t update us much on his work in the last couple of years.
Finally, last November, we heard from him when I read that Time magazine awarded his new product, Opulus, as one of the 2021 100 best inventions. Opulus is the first cosmetic appliance that allows consumers to activate their cosmetics at the moment of use.
Think about Opulus as a mini blender that mixes plastic-free capsules (“Opoules”) made of top cosmetics ingredients for maximum efficacy when you need them. Both the ingredients and the device are luxurious.
Today, Dr. Robb published a video on Linkedin in which he brilliantly demonstrates his product and lets his community know about his recent developments.
Dr. Robb is a visionary entrepreneur and a creator of industry-transformative companies and products. As his Linkedin profile says, “His mission is to view the world from a different perspective.”
But beyond his capacity to invent what people would die to get, he is most importantly able to successfully change how millions of people think and act about beauty.
In that regard, I’ve always seen Dr. Robb as an authentic strategic narrative builder.
How does he do it?
Watch Dr. Robb’s product demo Linkedin video. See how he uses some of the core principles I documented in my book, Strategic Narrative (Available to download on metahelm.com).
For each of my principles, I’ve identified one of the quotes from the video that best illustrates it:
- Tell people how you started. To be excited about your company, people need to know WHY you were excited about it in the first place. Dr. Robb: “So, this idea came in a chocolate shop, a strange place for ideas to come, but it happens. I was devouring chocolate truffles and I noticed there was a hard outer shell and a creamy core. Each one has a different experience, a different texture, a different taste. It’s just like… amazing! And I thought that it’s the way cosmetics should be. Right now, we are locked into a 3-month supply, a jar, a bottle, a tube. But your skin is changing every day. So I thought “Why can’t people have the flexibility?”.
- Advertise your beliefs before you advertise your product. You can only sell what you do if, first, people believe why it matters. Your strategy is only as good as people’s ability to believe in it. Before starting the product demo, Dr. Robb focuses on a new viewpoint, by definition, what a narrative is about: “I’m going to tell you about our innovation and how I believe it’s really going to change how we view cosmetics.” This phrase seems like a detail, but it’s crucial.
- Challenge what everybody else accepts as truth. You will animate people if your strategic narrative is distinctive and novel. A different perspective is a chance to disagree with your competitors. Dr. Robb: “We don’t believe in putting removable batteries. You can just charge it up overnight. And it’s good for many weeks of use.”
- Say the thing you are afraid to say. Speak the truth. People will trust you for saying and doing what they wanted to say and do. Dr. Robb: “Cosmetics and beauty need to be exciting. It needs to entertain people. They don’t need to be opening the same thing over and over again. They need to have that enthusiasm brought back into their lives, but it also needs to give them the results they need. It also needs to give them some comfort in what they’re doing and some confidence in themselves. That’s the key thing.”
- Say it humanly, without bullshit. Your words matter. They mobilize people. They sell your ideas and your products too. The good ones can be painful to find but powerful to own. Dr. Robb: “So the other thing that people always ask is how easy is it to use? You can see: drop it in, put the lid on, push the button, apply it, and it’s ready to go. Does it work? Does it give you better results? You bet it does. Why would we even bother inventing it? We can actually look at the retinol study that we did. You can see the reduction in the appearance of fine lines. And then actually you can see more even skin tone in this particular example.”Notice how Dr. Robb mostly uses one-syllable words and keeps the whole video as short as possible, treating our time and attention as more valuable than his.
- Serve your community. If you craft a narrative about how everybody can benefit from what you do, everybody will want you to succeed. They will want to participate. Dr. Robb: “…this could be looked at as your forever cosmetic jar, meaning there is no jars or tubes or anything to throw into the landfill.”
- Lead with passion. You can’t inspire people around you and make things happen with a lukewarm heart.Dr.Robb: “This is a video I made myself and it is just me…. no script and straight from the heart.” This line is not from the video but from Dr. Robb’s post. Here, I want to highlight and applaud the authenticity with which he shared his core message and produced this video (nothing more than a self-made and unedited Zoom recording).
I could pull many more insights from this piece, but as Dr. Robb said, “I can’t give you all the details because it would make us have a long, long, long video, and it would get boring.”
Please let me know your thoughts in a comment. As always, I hope this helps.