Gain deeper knowledge through our adaptive insights communities. See the world through your customer's eyes.

Back To Views

Building an Authentic Brand – Therabreath – Phil Rubin, President

Today on Real-World Branding, we hear from Phil Rubin of Therabreath. Tune in to hear about his career journey, how the Therabreath brand got started and where it is today, and what it takes to build a brand that is disruptive yet authentic. If you like our podcast, please subscribe!

 
Podcast: Download Subscribe: iTunes RSS

Podcast Signup

Transcription:

Bill:

Greetings one at all. This is Real-World Branding. I’m Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands, a premier boutique brand consultancy. Thank you for joining us. Phil Rubin, today’s guest is a fascinating guy. TheraBreath itself where he is president is a really interesting sort of brand and business and he’ll walk through that. But his entire career has been so intriguing, it seems. And he’ll discuss that he’s really revolved around cultural movements, and harnessing the passion and authenticity and sort of progressive feeling that underlies these movements or moments or fandoms within the culture, and building commercial opportunities around this is really what Phil’s done. And I think you’ll really enjoy hearing his story. And he’s a guy with tremendous enthusiasm and insight. So enjoy Phil Rubin.

Bill:

We are here and excited to have Phil Rubin, the President of TheraBreath join us today. Phil, thanks for coming.

Phil:

Thank you for having me, Bill.

Bill:

Now, it’s a pleasure. And thank you for your patience as I did my customary tech glitch over here. And so, had a couple of great minutes, and we’re starting again. But I know our audience is really going to enjoy hearing your story and all that you’ve done across cultural and commercial movements that have been so cool and interesting. And so why don’t you start from the beginning, if you wouldn’t mind? And I’m sure that you’re maybe not the typical Georgetown School of Foreign Service grad, but talk about your professional journey.

Phil:

Yeah, sure. I started at Georgetown. And in addition to my various political science efforts there, I also was a DJ on the little radio station. And this was right at the beginning of kind of the dance and techno and rave scene of explosion. So right after college, I started a big kind of a festival promotions company, that I wound up selling, from that I launched a skateboard company for girls at a time when skateboarding was a kind of a heavily male dominated sport. That went on to a lot of success and notoriety and we sold that to Isetan Holdings, a large Japanese conglomerate, based around department stores and then also licensed in the US to the Group, which was a large catalog seller at the time. From then, I went on to basically run a kind of a high value, luxury consignment auction firm that was kind of a precursor to companies like The RealReal or thredUp.

Phil:

And after that, I came to TheraBreath, which is about 12 years ago. And we’ve been working hard now in the CPG consumer goods and personal wellness space. So yeah, definitely a lot of interesting twists and turns in my career path.

Phil:

I didn’t really have a huge background in oral care before I joined the TheraBreath team, but was a very quick study, had some great mentors there, we have a just absolutely fantastic team that kind of helped me get my mind around all of the various consumer goods, ideas and ideals that we espouse today. And that’s kind of how I came to be here where I am now.

Bill:

Very cool. And we’re definitely going spend time on the brand that you have, and are building that TheraBreath. But reflecting a little bit backwards. You had mentioned that during your Georgetown sort of experience, you fell in with DJ culture. And that was sort of a propulsion mechanism for you into different directions you pursued initially. And then there was this sort of really interesting kind of skate wear brand for girls. When you think back on sort of what has been maybe a through line in the career that you’ve had. I mean, what are you really into and kind of what motivates you as a business builder and a business person from the beginning that you take into the present day?

Phil:

Great question. And let me tell you, okay, brand building is a collaborative endeavor, and not so much even collaboration with your team. It’s a collaboration with the end user, the only time that a brand it really breaks out, it’s really effective, is it’s when it’s prescient, when it has kind of a premonition of what it can offer that all of a sudden will instantly resonate with consumers. So in a sense, you have to show up saying, “Hey, everybody, I think you are thinking about this,” and they go, “Hey, you know what we kind of are, tell us more.”

Phil:

And that’s the thing that I’m really passionate about is, I never do me-too products or me-too brands. That’s a big thing for us as we don’t need to reinvent. We’re going to make a wheel, we’re going to need to make something better than around. So if round is as good as it gets leave the wheel alone. So that’s the thing I’m passionate about is like, with festival promotions company, I saw the fact that everything there was top down, large conglomerates putting on large shows sponsored by Pepsi Cola, and kids lined up, put in the line. And in a sense it was the alternative, a spoon fed them by people who are far from alternative.

Phil:

With the clothing and skateboards, I saw that again, right around that time, I mean, there were some definitely new independent brands coming up. But for the most part, it was dominated by brands from the ’70s that had at one point been alternative but had basically become the thing, right, as opposed to the alternative to the thing. So every time we saw that, there was an opportunity for a pivot, that would really resonate with consumers, you didn’t have to put in front of and say, let me explain that to you, so you can understand it. You put in front of them, and they would say, I totally get this, right. So that’s kind of I think the thing that I’m really excited about is getting that right.

Bill:

Yeah, totally. And it seems like you’ve been to your point very much on the leading end of finding commercial applications for that which we might consider to be cultural movements, be it DJ or electronic music and turn that into a business or whether it’s sort of the skate kind of punk, fashion and lifestyle trend, but delivering more of an authentic solution, than the house stars of the world ever could, then being early with streaming, et cetera. You’ve done that all along the way. And so TheraBreath now, what is the cultural movement or moment that sort of underlies this oral care delivery mechanism that you’ve built?

Phil:

Another great question, I can actually break it down very, very simply. Here’s the cultural movement. About six, seven years ago, when really focusing on developing this as a brand as an idea. The conversation that I had with consumers was simple. I said, “Hey, you’re concerned about what goes basically into your family’s mouth, into their systems?” Ask moms, dads, they said, “Absolutely.” I asked them, “Do you know what’s in your yogurt? Do you look at the label on your bread? Do you make sure there’s not extra silicone dioxide in your seasonings they give you?” “Yes, absolutely, I look at all the stuff.”

Phil:

Well, my question then is, “When is the last time you looked at the label on your toothpaste or mouthwash?” The reason I ask is, if you’re using it twice a day, the way that it’s directed, you are imbibing those products more frequently over the course of your lifetime, than anything else other than water, right? Think about that for a second. You are ingesting some-toothpaste twice a day, every day, as long as you live, you don’t have junk food that often, there’s really no other product that you will be kind of that beholden to. So it’s really important that you understand what goes in it. That conversation, I think it turned a lot of light bulbs off. Because it all of a sudden people thought it’s true, I am ingesting all sorts of things all over the place. It’s not always a sandwich. It’s not always something out of my refrigerator. And that conversation, I think really got people focused on looking at ingredient labels and understanding the thing in what they were adjusting, across a broader range of inputs.

Bill:

Right, no, it makes sense. And you’re right, the label reading movement had begun for produce and other kind of consumer products but hadn’t really gotten to personal care yet. And yet, TheraBreath has obviously a lot to say and share about that. So take us the review in mind, what’s the size and scale of the business there I mean, broad distribution, really deep product assortment across oral care. Could you give us a sense of what TheraBreath is today, and maybe how you see the next chapter in the growth of the company?

Phil:

Sure. Today, in North America, TheraBreath is available at close to 100,000 doors. We sell mouthwash I think, we sell more than a bottle, wait I think we said this. Right now we’re up like 1.4 bottles of mouthwash sold per second. We are at this point bigger than Scope, in terms of sales, dollar sales are bigger than Act, we’re bigger than Biotene, we’re bigger than some names that a lot of people know very well. We’re the third largest manufacturer of mouthwash products in North America. We tend to be the number one selling mouthwash brand online globally at any given time.

Phil:

So really massive scale, right? Millions upon millions of users, the best reviewed, basically mouthwash products online at scale, in terms of our studies and what we’re seeing in terms of reporting. And also the thing that we’re most excited about, the highest level of post trail satisfaction in the industry, the highest intention to try among people who haven’t tried it. And by far the fastest growing and most productive mouthwash brand on a per store basis in the US. We’re also huge in a bunch of other countries, we’re growing incredibly rapidly in China, our South Korea presence is massive, where we are meeting Johnson and Johnson head on in terms of places where we are distributed. So yeah, that’s kind of the sense of scale, which is mind boggling, given the fact that 12 years ago, we were a minor startup.

Bill:

Yeah, amazing. So to what do you primarily attribute this growth path? I mean, is it a consumer need that was unmet? Is it the strength of the company from a marketing and sales perspective, it’s probably a little bit of a bunch of things. But when you look back, if you were going to write that sort of first chapter on what’s happened and how it’s been built, what would be those core themes?

Phil:

Another good question. I mean, honestly, internally I say, we don’t owe 100% of our success to any one thing, we owe 5% of our success to 20. I think part of it has to do with trust, right, and this is even something that’s come out in conversations with some of our major competitors, is this notion that a lot of them, because they’ve been manufacturing particular things for so long, that they’re seen as extremely commoditized. While we are increasingly seen as an ethical formulator, that is basically a partner in self care with people, right, we don’t make widgets, we partner with them in making and evolving and improving products and providing them kind of a path through their lifetime. As they go from being kids to senior citizens.

Phil:

We have applications throughout, they’re always formulated using the same kind of formulation basis, using the same ethos, using the same focus on fewer ingredients and justification for inclusion and natural and so I think that’s partially what it is, right? We’re seeing this kind of as a partner that they see in the oral care department as opposed to a vendor. I believe that to be true. I hope that is true, our samplings suggest that is true. And that is what we’re trying to do I guess, with our customers, is meet them in a responsible way. And assure them that we will provide them products that are not just the most efficacious on the shelf, but also that are formulated with this ethical rigor.

Bill:

Excellent. On the brand side, which I’m sure it’s part of it. Talk about if you wouldn’t mind this sort of balance between authentic consumer connections that really connect at a point of sale or through an advertising program. And the overarching sort of clinical endorsement that is important to the brand as well. Often when you go into a drugstore, whenever you see brands that really feel clinical, and then you see those that really feel sort of emotional or connected. Do you think in those terms as it relates to TheraBreath? And how do you sort of balance all that you want to tell people about how cool this product line is?

Phil:

We do think in those terms. Our founder, Dr. Katz is a dentist and was a practicing dentist. And one of the things that I find most fascinating about him is this guy’s got one of the greatest bedside manners I’ve ever seen in the medical profession, right. He’s able to provide sound clinical advice, but do it with a wink and a smile, so that you retain it, you don’t find it to be intimidating. And you can relate to him as a person, not just as a talking head dispensing wrong words. So that’s been, I think, a big part of how we branded. Our brand does come off, very, we say it came off as apothecary, but it comes off kind of clinical. And it’s designed to not only be clinical, but when I started at the company, one of the first things they did was they radically redesigned our packaging and our overall brand preposition. And a lot of people looked at and said, ooh, but this is kind of loud. This is a little clashy. This is a little, I don’t know.

Phil:

My point was, just trust me, just go with it. Give it a chance, right. I remember even our Canadian distributors were like, this is terrible. This is going to fail. It is just so, I don’t know, right, like clashy and contrasting, and didn’t look like anything else in the shell for everything was blue. We don’t die or formulas, right it looked like the list of bottle we were green or whatever, everything is clear because we require justification for the addition of an ingredient it has to be functional and so on.

Phil:

So we did this thing where, we gave them serious, but we also gave them somewhat of obnoxious and loud, with attention because we needed people to pay attention, right? We’re up against P&G, and J&J and GSK, were up against the biggest big in the industry. And they’re not really huge fans of digitally native, disruptive brands showing up and taking a chunk of the pie. So we really needed to stand out. And so, yeah, you’re right, there has to be this balancing act between, we’re going to tell you something serious, you guys need to understand that ingredients are important, you got to make sure that you know what’s going in your body. And also, by the way, you don’t have to take this whole thing too seriously. Because also, your breath could be better or the sore gums are easy to fix. They really are right, like gingivitis is something that we work with. It’s the most prevalent disease state in America, over 50% of adults have it, over 75% of people over 50 have it, gum disease. But it’s fairly straightforward to treat with certain ingredients, right? And we put those ingredients in a mouthwash that’s ultimately doesn’t have a bunch of other stuff that’s in there, that’s bad for you use it for a while go see your dentist, your dentist will say, well, what have you been doing that’s different, right?

Phil:

So there is exactly that kind of mix, where we say, look, there’s a disease state is prevalent, it’s no good, it can lead to tooth loss, it can lead to high blood pressure, it can lead to heart attack, and all sorts of other stuff. We’ve seen the studies on gum disease. But at the same time, we don’t want you to worry, right? We will give you a straightforward path through it, we’re not going to tell you something that’s not true. We’re not going to tell you we have a snake oil or a pill and it’ll be fine. But if you use these stuff consistently as recommended, goes to your dentist, they’ll tell you, you doing great. And so that’s kind of I guess our value proposition is that bedside manner that I think Dr. Katz kind of pioneered, that started the brand.

Bill:

Right, cool. Another question sort of about how you balance certain things. You mentioned early on that one of, I guess sort of foundational insights here was that people didn’t really focus in the oral care category about, God, the stuff they’re putting in their bodies, right through their mouths, everybody knows that sort of oral health has a real strong connection to what lies beneath. So that is certainly seems a point of emphasis within the business. But so does the notion of breath and breath is yes, it’s reflective of health, but it also has almost an interpersonal or sort of emotional feel, it can be humiliating to have bad breath, it can be off putting not just as a sign of bad oral health, but just as a sign of bad sort of social hygiene. Could speak about the balance between sort of that label reading diligent ingredient, health and safety, with what might be the more social benefit of fresher breath and a more attractive mouth.

Phil:

Oh, man, I got a lot that we can say here. The best part is right now coming out of COVID mask restrictions, I think a lot of us have become a lot more aware of exactly what could be going on with their own breath, right. So that’s great. That was a great checkup, in a sense. I mean, obviously, pandemic terrible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not what I’m saying. But seriously, like no, joking aside, obviously, but it’s great for people to… was we used to say, knowing people check their breath, they blow into their hands, they smell their hand, you’re not smelling your breath, you smell in your hand. So the masks kind of, it did definitely encourage people to kind of check in and understand what was going on. But the fact of the matter is, everyone gets bad breath. Everyone gets bad breath.

Phil:

There are more bacteria in your mouth right now than people who are live on the planet, right? And every time you eat, they eat, just like you they produce waste. Only fun fact, they produce their waste right in your mouth, right? Ouch. So that’s really where a lot of that comes from. And it happens to everybody. And people have all sorts of physiological issues like long papillae fibers on their tongue, which tends to trap more anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobes are the things that cause odor and they hate oxygen, so they have to live deep inside various crevices. So you’re right. There’s a huge social stigma attached to bad breath, and there’s a lot of embarrassment.

Phil:

There was a Harlequin Romance study done a number of years ago where they talked about people and dating and they asked people what was the number one turnoff in a potential mate, ahead of anything else you can think of right? Like any kind of other aesthetics that people are concerned about whether you’re tall or your short or your heavy or your thin, bad breath was considered the number one deal breaker. So totally get it, right. It’s a bit just like I was talking about gingivitis. It’s an embarrassing thing that can be avoided using mouthwash. But when I started working in mouthwash, we would get letters from people that said, “You have changed my life. I used to be a shutter.” Or like one of the ones I remember that totally made a bunch of people tear up, which was, “I’m a grandpa, I couldn’t get close to my grandkids without them complaining and now I can.” And you’re sitting here going, oh, my gosh, this really is profound for some people.

Phil:

I mean, we’re proud of the fact that we’ve helped some of these people. We understand we’re not saving lives, we’re not brain surgeons, but at the same time, there’s a quality of life issue here, that’s absolutely tangible. So, yeah, I agree with that. And we definitely speak to that seriously. The part that we don’t speak seriously is say, you don’t have to take the embarrassment of it so seriously, because we can help you make that go away. It’s just don’t worry, just do the best practices and you’ll be fine. Just give it a few days, give it a few weeks for oral microflora to rebalance and you’ll be fine. But you’re right, for some, it’s a very, very serious issue.

Bill:

Right, and you’ll be fine in a way that is healthy or not unhealthy to ingest. I mean, it’s like I love to kill insects in my home, but I don’t always want to spray this toxic stuff. And if I could kill insects in a way that didn’t put my pets and kids at risk, I mean, that would be all the better. So anyway, it’s a cool balance to be able to tell the marketplace those types of things.

Phil:

You like indoor bugs, I’ll present them.

Bill:

Yeah, I haven’t really found a great way to do this. Thankfully, our pest control folks are helpful. But I mean, if you ever really want to spend any time reading reviews, or whatever, or gotten those labels of some of these indoor, but I don’t want to just live with bugs, that’s not a good solution either. So you talked about channel and a digitally native company as an upstart, et cetera. But now at this point all the doors that their bet is in, could you speak about channel and how sort of the sequencing of channels that you opened and maybe what it takes to be effective as an omni channel brand at this point, I mean, it’s a challenge. E-comm in a personal care category, when you deal with shipping, I would imagine is always an issue. This is more of an impulse buy, perhaps at retail, and you had to recondition folks to think about it as a standalone e-commerce purchase. Now you’re all across retail, I’m blathering, but talk about the channel strategy and sort of how it’s evolved.

Phil:

Sure, well, the thing is, first trial, maybe an impulse purchase, impulse be usually driven by a coupon or an offer, because we tend to get more premium product, right? We’re the kind of the Starbucks kind of mouthwash if you’re looking at coffee pricing. But I would say, really, what we’ve seen is our product, it tends to develop a subscriber relationship, right? So people will buy they will see the difference, they will see the impact of their lives, they’ll know understanding the improvement in terms of what they’re ingesting. And they will then come on to rebuy. They will tend to rebuy out of convenience. You asked a great question in terms of channel rollout strategy. It’s a complex business maneuver, right? It’s kind of like engineering an allied landing sort of thing. Because a bunch of stuff has to happen at the same time. Because if any one particular channel takes the lead, it has the opportunity to do all sorts of things in terms of pricing and distribution that you may not be able to readily fix.

Phil:

Price balancing across channels, continues to be a challenge, right? Especially given the fact that they can now in real time, make all sorts of crazy adjustments. And those adjustments will proliferate through a bunch of retailer platforms, while you’re asleep. You wake up in the morning, you’re like, oh my gosh, what has happened here. But at the same time, I will tell you this, that while retailers are fearful of having pricing that isn’t exactly on, doesn’t have exact price parity with their competitors. Oftentimes consumers are not that focused on it. There’s a traditional truism that says, if you’re buying a suit for $1,000 and somebody says if you go across the street, you can save two bucks. You’ll be like I’m fine. If you’re buying a soft drink for $3 and somebody says you can go across the street and save two bucks, you will go, even though it’s the same two bucks.

Phil:

So I think with us, consumers see that there’s a greater overall value, with that of having to hunt for that 50 cents off isn’t necessarily the thing that’s going to drive the vast amount of purchase, it’s product availability. If you get consumers like passionate enough, and involved enough with your brand, having said that, our challenge was, we went really big and big box stores, and large mass merchants very quickly, because they saw the opportunity, while drug and grocery took a little while to get there. So because of that some pricing was really established and drug and grocery means more margin on personal care. So that was a little bit of a challenge and how to make that work.

Phil:

But I will tell other brand stewards or other people guiding brands out there, that even if retailers tell you look, I have to have to the penny price parity with the biggest discounter in the room, there are other retailers that will make to go that regardless of the price. Excellent example is CVS, sometimes when we see our shelf pricing at CVS, it’s can be substantially higher than average market price. And yet CVS has been growing our brand and has been so incredibly successful with our products. Because their consumers love the convenience of CVS, they love shopping at CVS, they like that relationship. So even though price parity may be the thing that a lot of buyers, that’s the drum they will beat, it’s not necessarily always a must in order for you to be successful, whatever you retail. I don’t know if I covered your question fully-

Bill:

You definitely covered some of it. Talk about the role of… is e-commerce at this point, a replenishment channel, you think in the eyes of most of your customers where they buy it at retail once and then they, to your point, they have a subscriber relationship that enables them to easily get it on their own schedule, you have a sense of how these channels sort of fit together in the lives of one of your kind of target customers. I know there’s a bunch of flavors of those too. But the role of e-comm as opposed to all this retail distribution that you’ve earned.

Phil:

So for the longest time, I think the perception has been that e-comm is there to feed off of brick and mortar retailers by providing cheaper pricing. In practice, I don’t think that that’s what we’re seeing. I think that we see e-comm customers who like to buy an e-comm, they love the convenience. They love to follow the reviews. And we think the brick and mortar customers shop brick and mortar, they don’t necessarily buy it once in brick and mortar and then go to like an Amazon or something like that for ongoing replenishment, there’s not that much bleed. We see the rate of growth of e-comm and brick and mortar to be comparable. Oftentimes, brick and mortar will grow faster. Because there we can do things like, we can do phase outs, secondary placements and store activations displays, IRCs. With Amazon, for example, as the major income player, with Amazon has a markdown they’re following another retailer. But it’s not like there’s a big tag on the shelf, the price just all sudden dips.

Phil:

The consumer doesn’t even necessarily see what the actual does. I mean, they do, they see it off of MSRP. But everyone starts to ignore that after a while is irrelevant. Since Amazon’s not necessarily publishing competitor pricing, and also keep in mind, Amazon’s always going to price parity, they can never really dip below, the elite tried to price match against kind of weird outlier retailers sometimes but fundamentally, they don’t lead price. It’s again the big box stores that do it. So I would say there’s an absolute opportunity for e-comm and traditional brick and mortar distribution to exist hand in hand.

Phil:

As a matter of fact, the first five years when I was at this, when you spoke about Amazon and success there. Most retailers felt that was a turnoff. They’re like well, if you guys are doing well there, that’s going to be part of my volume, that stinks for me. Now, I think they look at and say okay, so if you guys are review leader, and you subscribe and save rates are astronomically high and the attempt to try is so hard, that gives us an indication of the fact that our shoppers will respond in a similar way. And that’s more accurate.

Bill:

Yeah. Makes sense. I think channel conflict to your point used to be huge. And everybody shops everywhere now. It’s amazing how quickly it’s changed.

Phil:

I think some of the retailers met Amazon where they are, right. So will be there looking at walmart.com efforts, especially with their ability to distribute grocery very, very effectively. Look at target.com’s efforts and how they basically integrated to this 360 approach that involves their in store shopping discount, right? Like they’re bringing people with phones into the aisles rather than suggesting, don’t try shop while you’re there, they’re saying go ahead and do it right, we’re going to give you additional content and offers and sorts of other stuff. And those businesses are growing by leaps and bounds. Amazon, we see 40 to 80% growth a year. But I mean, enrollment.com, obviously, is starting from a smaller basis, but I think we’re seeing like 350, 400% growth there right now, crazy rates.

Bill:

Now, super cool. Product innovation, obviously, there’s a ton in the line now, including newer immunity support, CBD, new flavors, et cetera. Could you speak a little bit about how the brand sees innovation? You obviously don’t disclose anything that’s proprietary, but how important to the growth of TheraBreath will be continued innovation, do you believe?

Phil:

I think it’s going to be key. One of the efforts I’m most proud of it there with the last few years has been the formulation guidelines, which give us a very specific blueprint and path for not just what we make, but how we make it, how we go about developing it, right. So just, it lets us grow those various teams and bring new thinkers and your thinking in without necessarily giving up again, our core ethos. But basically, our approach to everything is we don’t need to be me-too on anything, if we’re going to make something it’s got to be better. Great example right now. Well, you mentioned immunity support and so during pandemic, a lot of people looked to mouthwash as a potential opportunity to fight off germs in the mouth and throat where people were breathing in stuff. And so mouthwash sales went up. And our position was, look until we have some very specific FDA kind of information about… Apologies.

Bill:

No worries.

Phil:

My wife started talking. She must be listening to about, while I was not talking.

Bill:

She’s telling them about. We discussed.

Phil:

Yeah. So basically, for example, with immunity sport spray, we looked at how do we actually provide people some mode of protection from illness and so we looked at zinc and other stuff, and realized that the way to approach that is to spray vitamins into the mouth as opposed to simply taking a pill and swallowing it, because you have kind of, you’re covering proximal surfaces that may be exposed to germs. So that was kind of a different take on providing a vitamin supplementation, in a spray. It’s been so incredibly successful, particularly with kids. Kids don’t want to swallow pills, but they don’t mind taking a blast of a Jolly Rancher type flavored spray in the mouth.

Phil:

And right now we’re working on a new whitening stain fighting, a mouthwash. Here’s another great example. It’s going to launch in January, it’s going to go very broad. Whitening and stain fighting have been mainstays in oral care for a long time, there were huge amounts of whitening products, a glut of them, a lot of them have fallen by the wayside. Sensodyne have built a business around whitening, because whitening created so much sensitivity that people needed and use of sensitivity toothpaste. So we looked at whitening and stain fighting, but we needed to come into it with a kind of a brand new path, a new viewpoint.

Phil:

So there we looked at the three traditional ways of removing stains, right, you can solubilize but you can use enzymes to remove all sorts biological stuff. And you can use oxidizers, which is what’s traditionally, a traditional whitening have used. But oxidizers also tend to create sensitivity. So we built this thing from the ground up. First of all, it’s got all three, it’s got enzymes to fight organic stains, very new in mouthwash. It has a solubilizes, and it has oxidizers but also, we don’t put a peroxide or something that can create sensitivity in the mouthwash. We’re using a novel ingredient that when it reacts to your saliva, starts to oxidize, reduces sensitivity.

Phil:

So here we have a traditional thing, a whitening stain fighting formula, but we’ve completely kind of tore it down and rebuilt it from scratch in a new and novel way. Using ethical, good for you, less sensitivity causing ingredients. And right now our first batch of tests have come back and shown that it is a far superior formula removing a lot of common stains, things like red wine and coffee. It just does a better job. So that’s how we innovate. And there’s an example of how we innovate in a space that’s kind of crowded, this had tons of eyes on it, tons of feet walking through it. But nobody’s really done that before.

Bill:

Yeah, super cool. Can’t wait for January.

Phil:

Yeah, me too.

Bill:

Last thing, because I’ve kept you about as long as we promised, and they’re going to kick me off the free version of our software anyway, in a couple minutes. But all the things, Phil, that you’ve accomplished in the places you’ve gone, and the sort of movements and cultural elements that have really sort of fired you up. I think a segment of our audience are sort of folks in the early side of their career. Are there any, I don’t know words of wisdom or sort of reflections on the journey that you’ve taken that you would want to share with somebody who’s kind of getting ready to go out into the business world, and isn’t quite sure where they want to end up but wants to take a journey, they’ve been inspired by yours.

Phil:

Thanks for this question. Yeah, I do, I think that the thing that you’ve got to have, is you’ve got to have passion, right, you’ve got to believe not just think about it, you have to genuinely believe in what you’re doing. Because that is the difference between good and great. And that is the thing that spreads and infects and brings the rest of your crew and your team together around a central purpose. And it gets you it fired up enough. Or you could spread that to consumers, to your audience, to the people that will potentially either make you successful, or choose to ignore you.

Phil:

Because if you’re doing something that’s kind of similar to what we come before, if you’re faking the enthusiasm, you got to come correct, you got to be real, right? Whether it’s skateboarding, or festivals, or mouthwash, or streaming or anything, you’ve got to kind of get your hooks in it and say, this is going not just to be good or not okay, or to make me successful. But this is going to be amazing. And it’s going to be amazing, because we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this. And when you come at it from that point of view, and you’re authentic and real about it, then people will believe, they will believe that is going to be amazing. And they will strive to make it amazing, not just okay, right. They will understand that the level that you’re all trying to go for. And that’s where you can really do something important or novel or meaningful. It may not necessarily make you rich, but it’ll be meaningful, and the rich will come from that. And I think that’s incredibly important.

Bill:

No doubt. Pardon me, it certainly makes it easier to get up in the morning, when you have that level of passion for what you’re doing. And the things that you’re changing and making better. Phil Rubin, President of TheraBreath, who’s had an amazing career, punctuated by this incredible brand that you’re building with your colleagues, so grateful for your time, and it was a really pleasure for us to hear this story.

Phil:

Thank you so much, Bill. It’s been great to meet you. And thank you for having me on.

Bill:

Great, thank you.

Bill:

Many thanks to Phil, for his time, insight, energy, everything that he brought to this and brings every day to TheraBreath, which is certainly a brand and a business to watch. Speaking of which, a lot of ways to support us here at Real-World Branding. I know we’ve been on and off in the early summer here as befitting the schedule of our day jobs, but also I think everybody needs a break after the year and a half we’ve all had. But a couple of ways to support us and make sure you’re connected with us as we bring new content into the world. The first is to follow us on Twitter @BillGullan and @FinchBrands and not just follow, but participate. Let us know what you think, give us ideas for future guests or feedback on shows that we’ve done. We always appreciate that dialogue.

Bill:

The second way is to click subscribe within the podcast app or source of your choice that will make sure that whenever an episode comes available, and our hope is to get back on track here, in the next month or so. Whenever it comes available, it’ll float down magically into your phone or however you listen to podcasts. And you’ll be able to hear it. So click and subscribe will ensure that.

Bill:

And then the third way is go to the store of your choice and rate and review what we’re doing. Obviously, we appreciate five stars if we’ve earned it, but ensuring that we have ratings and reviews, we understand helps us get found by others who would appreciate the work that we do in interviewing business builders, brand builders et cetera. We always try to bring something of value and hopefully if we’ve done it, that you will support us, in any one of those three ways. Hope everyone’s doing great and we’ll sign off from the cradle of liberty.

Access Our M&A Branding Playbook

Click here for a step-by-step review of M&A branding best practices.

Download

Explore Our Blog & Podcast

Gain perspective on key topics shaping brands and businesses.

Sign Up For The Finch 5 Newsletter

Five thoughts, topics, and tips to inspire you.