He liked it so much, he bought the company.
A Harvard MBA grad and respected entrepreneur, Victor Kiam famously bought Remington Products after his wife purchased a Remington shaver for him as a gift. With no money of his own, he believed in the product so much that he arranged $25 million in financing to purchase the company in a leveraged buyout. Soon after, he overruled his ad agency, inserted himself into Remington commercials and began using the line that would define his career:
“I liked it so much, I bought the company.”
It was an interesting approach and it worked. Kiam tripled the revenue of his company in just 4 years.
In 2010, Euro RSCG’s global study, “Prosumer Pulse”, found that prosumers want three things from brands today: Truth. Honesty. Transparency. Throughout his career, Kiam delivered on all three.
He wasn’t just a spokesperson. He was the owner. He stood behind his products and his claims (“Shaves as close as a blade or your money back”) and people believed him. How couldn’t they?
Sadly, I just don’t see this happening today as much as it should.
Galen Westin performs well for Loblaw but I think he brings a more of a humble personality than credibility. He’s not really known as a foodie and do we really believe that a rich kid handed the leadership of a billion dollar publicly traded company by his father is this down to earth (even though he may very well be)?
With so much skepticism surrounding C-Level executives, I wish there were more CEOs who channeled their inner Victor Kiam. Given the opportunity, would they actually buy what they sell?
As Dave Pearce reminded me, things started to go south for Kiam when his personal credibility, his true strength, took a hit. After buying the New England Patriots, Kiam said something completely inappropriate about a female reporter in support of his players. While the case was settled out of court, he never fully recovered and the losses from the Patriots began to sink him. He died in 2001.
See Victor here:
Words of wisdom from Victor Kiam:
“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
“In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running, if you stand still, they will swallow you.”
“Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.”
“You can hype a questionable product for a little while, but you’ll never build an enduring business.”