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When Specialty Products Find New Specialties.

How Plasti Dip navigated from a specialty hardware product to auto aftermarket to the Pinterest set.

Shannon Burgess, Account Manager

Shannon Stark, Account Manager

Your brand and products won’t appeal to every consumer in every market. No news flash here. But in some cases, your brand will appeal to multiple markets with vastly different interests and demographics. Which is something that may not happen all at once, but over time and over the life cycle of the brand. As a result, your products could be gaining traction with audiences you’ve never targeted in the past.


So what do you do next? Do you care? Well, fun facts: before bubble wrap was used to wrap fragile items, it was marketed as wallpaper. The original Frisbee was used as a pie tin. Neither of which would still be around if they were limited to their intended uses.


Don’t be afraid of new markets

Take our client Plasti Dip. Plasti Dip is a peelable rubber coating that comes in gallons or aerosol cans in an assortment of colors. It’s a product and brand that started out very differently from where it is today.

Originally conceived as a household handy product for adding extra grip to tool handles, Plasti Dip eventually expanded to–and exploded in–the automotive aftermarket, when consumers began using the aerosol cans for spraying vehicles and car accessories, which could then be peeled off and re-“dipped” again and again. We deemed this following our loyal “Dipheads” and the product continued to gain traction, from “dipping” car emblems, rims, grills, to full car paint jobs. It was dippin’ awesome.

Then something funny happened. Consumers continued to find new ways to use it –all the rules went out the window (although Plasti Dip would appreciate that I point out to use your discretion and please see the Plasti Dip label for proper use). Beyond car applications, Dipheads, DIYers, and crafters started to use Plasti Dip for tons of projects: paintings, vases, jewelry, costumes, theater set design, grips for socks and slippers, protective covering for electronics, shoe repair, and most recently, Cosplay armor…just to name a few.

Follow your customers

Companies don’t always make the time to listen to their consumers, especially if they aren’t using their product the way it was intended. But this felt like something big, and Plasti Dip saw the potential to tap into a new market and segment: the Pinterest and Etsy set.

Their target audience since inception had been primarily male, with an interest in home improvement and car modification projects. Plasti Dip had to figure out how to talk to an entirely new audience emerging within the craft market.

According to a Venveo consumer market report, the DIY consumer market is nearly 50% women, where previously it was a male dominated market. How would they establish a tone that reaches more women than before, without abandoning their current audiences and automotive markets? The key is learning about the consistencies between this audience and the loyal Dipheads. What does this new audience like, what they don’t like, what drives them and their use of the product? Is it a fad or have they found a use for the product that will stand the test of time? Then create a communication plan that meets both audiences needs.

The next burning question: is an investment in this new craft audience worth it? The crafters and DIY market is a 29 billion dollar market that continues to grow among age groups. Plasti Dip used this to their advantage and decided to move forward with new product development, specific to the craft audience, launching Plasti Dip Craft.

With new product labels, colors, and a reformed tone, Plasti Dip Craft was carefully designed from the get-go to target the new craft audience. Not so much so that they’d steer away from existing Plasti Dip users and Dipheads, but enough to make a splash in a market that is saturated with DIY products.

The goal of Plasti Dip Craft is similar to that of the original Plasti Dip – get creative with a variety of colors, spray customize whatever your heart desires, and when you’re bored with your project, peel it off and try something new. And as Plasti Dip learns the best ways to engage and interact with this audience in conjunction with Dipheads, they continue to diversify the brand and as a result, increase revenue potential. Cha-ching!


Is your brand ready to evolve?

The reason the Plasti Dip Craft product opportunity emerged is because consumers started using Plasti Dip in ways the manufacturer never truly intended. Listening to your consumers, learning from them, and letting them drive how you talk about and execute strategies around your brand can open up new doors you otherwise thought were closed. It’s a reminder not to become complacent within your existing market, and not to ignore potential opportunities that have (or haven’t yet) presented themselves.