–Sharon Armstrong, Attorney

Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Method products. They are non-toxic, smell good, they come in the kind of stylish product packaging that you can display on any countertop, and they work. So it should come to no surprise that Method is a brand with fans. What other manufacturer of toilet bowl cleaner can you think of that has a blog not just entirely devoted to it, but uses the word “lust” to describe such devotion?

Last month, ANA Advertiser On-Line Magazine featured a great interview with co-founder and Chief Brand Architect of Method, Eric Ryan, which may explain some of the adoration. Although formed during a recession and competing with companies such as Clorox, Procter & Gamble, and S.C. Johnson for shelf space, Method enjoys high (and growing) awareness among consumers. Mr. Ryan explains that Method competes with the Goliaths in its industry by “shift[ing] the conversation” – the branding conversation. Smaller, private companies (like Method) simply don’t have the budget or the longevity to stand up to long-established brands on those brands’ terms. So instead of talking the talk of its competitors, much of which goes to the work that their products do or don’t do, Method “shifts the conversation,” by promoting the non-toxic qualities, pleasant fragrances and cool designs that make up the overall Method design aesthetic.

In short, Method competes by not competing in the traditional sense, but by building brand awareness through non-traditional trademarks, previously blogged about on this blog, by associating stylish sights and smells with its products. It just goes to show that brand loyalty isn’t necessarily dependent on brawn and budget. Chalk one up for the little guys.