Spaceage Branding: WD-40 Still Light-years Ahead

WD-40 was developed in 1953 to remove rust from spaceships. Today, you can still use it to clean your spaceship. It will also remove a python from the undercarriage of a bus.

Since its first days, when it took 40 tries for the inventors to get the formula right, WD-40 is revealed to have at least 2,000 uses. Why is this significant?

The 2,000 uses, which also include getting a naked burglar out of an air-conditioning vent, come entirely from customers. WD-40 went beyond merely soliciting canned testimonials for an obscure section of its web site. This flexible brand actually changed in response to the way customers use it. “2,000 uses” is now an important brand asset.

Today, many brands circle around this kind of strategy without quite getting it. A corporate Facebook page says “talk to us.” Changing your product based on real customer experience says “we’re listening.”


By Eric Hayward

Helping people of substance become marketers of substance.

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