Ah, Black Friday.
It’s no shock that the official kick-off day for the vacation purchasing season is liable for an enormous annual surge in shopper spending, reaching $8.9 billion in the USA alone in 2021. However whereas it is a yearly slam-dunk for large field retailers, Black Friday can carry extra challenges than advantages for small companies.
Slashing costs to make gross sales cuts straight into their backside line — and with restricted advertising budgets and assets, competing with massive manufacturers takes braveness, perception, and creativity. That’s why the small companies that stand out through the vacation season are those that join with the distinctive desires and wishes of their clients, get daring with their advertising methods, and create thumb-stopping content material that’s certain to get individuals speaking.
Final 12 months, UK-based sustainable underwear model and Hootsuite buyer Pantee gained Black Friday with a marketing campaign that broke conference and raised consciousness of unsustainable impulse shopping for. We interviewed Pantee’s founders, sisters Amanda and Katie McCourt, to find out how they did it, what the outcomes had been, and what they’ve realized for future campaigns.
Pantee is an underwear model making a distinction: their merchandise are made utilizing “deadstock” materials, or unsold stock that might in any other case find yourself in landfills. Designed by ladies, for girls and the planet, Pantee’s merchandise are created with consolation and magnificence in thoughts, whereas serving to forestall unused clothes from going to waste.
@pantee_uk We launched a enterprise in lockdown! Right here’s how we did it ✨🩲 #smallbusinesslaunch #howtostartabusiness #smallbusinesscheck #whatididduringlockdown ♬ Bubble – Official Sound Studio
For Pantee, sustainability isn’t a buzzword or development to leap on; the model was based with this objective at its core. The concept got here to life in a thrift retailer in 2019, when Amanda was searching second-hand outfitters in London and was blown away by the variety of brand-new t-shirts lining the cabinets, tags nonetheless on them.
“It was loopy to me how many individuals had given away garments earlier than even carrying them as soon as,” says Amanda. “It bought me considering: If that is what number of discarded garments we are able to see, how a lot is there that we are able to’t see? As soon as I began researching, I knew that we might make a distinction. It’s very tough to get shopping for proper within the style business with tendencies and purchasing cycles altering so regularly, and because of this, many firms overproduce. I turned fixated on the thought of what we might do with deadstock clothes.”
The brief reply to Amanda’s query on how a lot waste we are able to’t see: a lot. The style business produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste every year, and roughly 30% of garments made are by no means even offered.
With a daring ardour to make a distinction for our planet—and after realizing that the smooth cotton t-shirt material everybody loves would lend itself effectively to underwear and wi-fi bras—Amanda and Katie named the enterprise Pantee (an abridged model of “pants constituted of deadstock tees”) and started working bringing the idea to life.
@pantee_uk Upcycling by no means felt so good ♻️ hyperlink in bio to study extra about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #consolation #recycledfashion ♬ luxurious – milo
Since initially launching their Kickstarter in November 2020 (the place they raised £11,000) and Shopify web site in February 2021, Pantee has grown right into a profitable sustainable startup—upcycling greater than 1,500 kgs of deadstock material in its first 1.5 years alone. Pantee additionally crops one tree for each order positioned (leading to over 1,500 timber planted!) and is a proud member of 1% For the Planet.
Flipping the script with a ‘Blackout Friday’ marketing campaign
Main as much as the Black Friday pandemonium in 2021, Amanda and Katie had one factor on their minds: overconsumption. Already a problem within the style business through the common season, Black Friday was certain to encourage customers to make pointless purchases—lots of which might go unused and find yourself again on cabinets or, worse, in landfills.
So, whereas many small companies grappled with whether or not or to not run gross sales and promotions, Pantee requested a special query: how might they create a profitable marketing campaign whereas staying true to their mission?
- The answer: Reclaim Black Friday by rebranding it “Blackout Friday,” an initiative encouraging customers to rethink their purchases and keep away from impulse shopping for.
- The message: Cease and suppose before you purchase. Is it one thing you like? Is it one thing you want? In that case, go forward— purchase and luxuriate in your new buy. However in case you weren’t already going to make that buy, contemplate going with out.
“Black Friday is the largest impulse shopping for day of the 12 months, and other people get simply sucked into gross sales,” says Katie. “However the mentality needs to be: Is it actually a cut price in case you weren’t going to spend the cash initially? Our marketing campaign stance was to not encourage impulse shopping for, and we noticed plenty of engagement due to the shared values and customary floor it established with our viewers.”
“There may be a lot overconsumption on Black Friday,” provides Amanda. “Our stance wasn’t essentially don’t make a purchase order, however in case you’re going to, purchase one thing you’ve needed for a very very long time.”
Pantee didn’t cease there. To carry the marketing campaign to life and put their phrases into motion, the retailer turned off their web site to all however their engaged clients, who had been solely capable of entry the web site by a code they despatched to their present mailing record.
The marketing campaign was an awesome success, resulting in a major improve in gross sales, social engagement and attain, model consciousness and new buyer acquisition.
- Engagement on social media doubled all through the marketing campaign (from 4 to eight%), and natural social impressions reached over 4x the entire followers on the time.
- The marketing campaign organically elevated internet visitors by 122% month-over-month in November 2021 with none supported paid spend.
- Pantee’s mailing record grew by 33% within the week main as much as Black Friday.
- The success of the social marketing campaign prolonged far past Pantee’s Instagram, with the initiative featured in top-tier press together with The Observer, Drapers, Reuters, The Day by day Mail, and extra.
“Whereas we didn’t run a sale or any promotions final 12 months, Black Friday was the largest gross sales day of the 12 months,” says Katie. “By merely taking a stand and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s value of internet visitors in a matter of hours and had a great deal of individuals signing up for our electronic mail record. We noticed a ton of latest, first-time clients simply because they valued what we had been doing.”
“Manufacturers typically suppose that you would be able to have values, however they gained’t convert to gross sales,” provides Amanda. “However we expect that’s altering—and this marketing campaign is a good instance of that.”
Pantee is now launching the marketing campaign for the second 12 months and searching ahead to much more spectacular outcomes.
4 classes realized from one unconventional marketing campaign
Whether or not you’re brainstorming future artistic campaigns, constructing out subsequent quarter’s social advertising technique or already getting began on planning for subsequent 12 months’s vacation season, Pantee’s Blackout Friday marketing campaign holds nice classes that each marketer ought to preserve prime of thoughts. We requested Amanda and Katie for his or her prime 4 suggestions—right here’s what they mentioned.
1. Hone in in your objective
“We speak so much about our values as a model,” says Katie. “And time and time once more, we’ve seen that if we speak about a problem, our values, or one thing with substance behind it, our engagement is a lot larger. That’s what individuals need to see: one thing that will get them considering.”
Amanda provides: “I believe at one level, we misplaced our method a bit and have become extra product and gross sales heavy on our social channels, and we seen that we weren’t getting the identical attain. Pushing product works by electronic mail advertising and different areas of the enterprise, however with social, we’ve seen an even bigger alternative to teach our viewers and share helpful data that they’ll stroll away with.”
2. An engaged neighborhood is all the pieces
“There’s an enormous distinction between rising a following and rising a following that additionally has engagement,” explains Katie.” On the subject of social, what we’ve discovered is that individuals who engaged with us early on have turn into advocates for our model. We see a lot worth in neighborhood and fascinating with our clients past getting the sale. Many manufacturers see social as a platform to get their message out, however for us, it’s a two-way avenue.”
3. Don’t be afraid to be daring
“We realized fairly early on with our social that the very best peaks of engagement occurred once we took a stand for one thing,” says Katie. “We’ve at all times been fairly mission pushed, however we prefer to have enjoyable with it and never be too preachy. After we’ve launched campaigns with our sustainability mission on the forefront, the engagement has been by the roof.”
4. Do not forget that there’s extra to social than what you’re posting
“Social media isn’t nearly what you put up, it’s about the way you interact with different accounts and make individuals really feel,” explains Amanda. “Spending time in your social platforms connecting with others, constructing relationships and establishing an engaged neighborhood is invaluable. We use our social channels for two-way conversations with each clients and our neighborhood – there may be a lot you may study while you speak with them as a substitute of at them.”
If there’s one takeaway that rises above all of the others, it’s that social is among the strongest instruments that manufacturers can use to ignite their enterprise, turning bystanders into loyal model advocates, consciousness into gross sales, and your mission into constructive, tangible change. Simply ask Pantee.
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