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How One Company Changed the Home-Cleaning Industry for the Better A METHOD TO THE MADNESS
since they were going up against giants like Clorox, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever. Thus, Method wasn’t just about differentiating what was inside the bottle; they were also focused on differentiating the bottle itself. So, they brought in renowned designer Karim Rashid to help. Rashid is a star in the design world; he has art on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and partnerships with Audi, Estee Lauder, and Samsung. Within two years after Method’s founding, they had products on store shelves, namely Target, and instantly, consumers were intrigued. They focused on defining their brand and developing a product that stood out, and it worked. A few years later, Method was a $100-million company. In 2012, a Belgian company, Ecover, bought Method. Ecover was founded in 1980 with goals that aligned with Method. They, too, set out to create environmentally friendly cleaning products. Ecover wanted to expand into the North American market and saw Method as the way to do just that. The partnership was a success, and Method went from racking in $100 million a year to $200 million a year. Then, in 2017, S.C. Johnson & Son bought Ecover and Method, ultimately making the Method brand even bigger. Today, they have over 150 products on store shelves that match their original idea. And to the environment’s benefit, many other companies are following suit. If you walk down the cleaning aisle at your average grocery store, you’ll see countless products touting their environmental friendliness — and Method set the stage. When it comes down to it, Method’s success story can be traced to smart branding. They figured out their product, differentiated their brand, and went after their long-established competition. They understood the underlying narrative of environmentalism that grew in the early 21st century. As a result, consumers responded and helped make the brand a resounding success.
nonprofit called B Lab. This organization works with companies around the world to meet certain standards, including standards of sustainability, accountability, and transparency. In order to become certified as a B Corp, companies are assessed by B Lab for social and environmental performance. Each company must meet certain scoring thresholds in order to get certified and maintain that certification. Method has baked these criteria right into their business model. Everything they make and do revolves around environmental performance. But how did such an innovative and progressive company start? Way back in 2000, Method was founded by friends Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan. They started with an idea to “disrupt” the cleaning industry. These days, when you hear the word disrupt, the response is usually an eye-roll. But Lowry, a chemical engineer, and Ryan, a marketer, had a plan. First, it was rethinking what cleaning products had to be. For a long time, there was a stigma that environmentally friendly cleaning products couldn’t match the cleaning power of traditional soaps and solvents. And, at one point in time, that was true. Traditional products, the ones we still see on store shelves today, are effective, but they’re also made with harsh chemicals that have to be handled with care. They work, but using them comes at a destructive cost. To address this problem, Lowry and Ryan experimented with ingredients that instead were friendly to the environment, both in everyday use and in the way those ingredients were sourced and manufactured. Method became a showcase for global environmental awareness by looking at how their ingredients and manufacturing process affected individuals and communities.
It’s good to be clean. Today, Method’s products are a ubiquitous presence in the cleaning and hygiene aisles. You may have seen their products, if you don’t already have a few in your home. From dryer sheets to body wash, Method makes just about every type of home-cleaning product you can think of. But it’s not just cleanliness that they have down to a science; Method has redefined what it means for a company to be environmentally conscious. Every single one of their soaps and cleaners is biodegradable and won’t harm plant or animal life. On top of that, they source all of their materials in the most environmentally friendly way they can, and they make improvements each year. It’s all part of a plan built into the way Method does business. Visit Method’s website (methodhome.com/benefit-blueprint) and you’ll find their “Benefit Blueprint.” This blueprint essentially breaks down their philosophy of environmental awareness and showcases what they are doing to achieve their goal to be a healthier business. As part of their mission, they are a certified Benefit Corporation, aka B Corp. B Corp is a private certification that was established by a
As they developed their products, they knew they also needed to develop their brand. This was key,
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