How This Underwear Brand Won with an Anti-Black-Friday Social Campaign

Ah, Black Friday.

It’s no shock that the official kick-off day for the vacation buying season is liable for an enormous annual surge in client spending, reaching $8.9 billion in the US alone in 2021. However whereas this can be a yearly slam-dunk for large field retailers, Black Friday can convey 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 in the course of 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 positive to get individuals speaking.

Final yr, UK-based sustainable underwear model and Hootsuite buyer Pantee received 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 have been, and what they’ve realized for future campaigns.

What’s Pantee?

Pantee is an underwear model making a distinction: their merchandise are made utilizing “deadstock” materials, or unsold stock that may in any other case find yourself in landfills. Designed by ladies, for ladies and the planet, Pantee’s merchandise are created with consolation and magnificence in thoughts, whereas serving to stop 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 pattern to leap on; the model was based with this goal at its core. The concept got here to life in a thrift retailer in 2019, when Amanda was looking second-hand clothes shops 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 sporting them as soon as,” says Amanda. “It obtained 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 vogue trade with tendencies and buying cycles altering so ceaselessly, and in consequence, many firms overproduce. I grew to become fixated on the concept 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 trade produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste annually, and roughly 30% of clothes made are never even sold.

With a daring ardour to make a distinction for our planet—and after realizing that the tender cotton t-shirt material everybody loves would lend itself nicely to underwear and wi-fi bras—Amanda and Katie named the enterprise Pantee (an abridged model of “pants constructed from deadstock tees”) and set to work bringing the idea to life.

@pantee_uk Upcycling by no means felt so good ♻️ hyperlink in bio to be taught extra about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #comfort #recycledfashion ♬ luxurious – milo

Since initially launching their Kickstarter in November 2020 (the place they raised £11,000) and Shopify website 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 vegetation 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 an subject within the vogue trade in the course of the common season, Black Friday was positive to encourage shoppers 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 unique 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 shoppers to rethink their purchases and keep away from impulse shopping for.
  • The message: Cease and assume before you purchase. Is it one thing you like? Is it one thing you want? If that’s the case, go forward— purchase and revel in your new buy. However should you weren’t already going to make that buy, think about going with out.

“Black Friday is the largest impulse shopping for day of the yr, and other people get simply sucked into gross sales,” says Katie. “However the mentality ought to be: Is it actually a cut price should you weren’t going to spend the cash initially? Our marketing campaign stance was to not encourage impulse shopping for, and we noticed lots 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 should you’re going to, purchase one thing you’ve wished for a extremely very long time.”

Pantee didn’t cease there. To convey 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 have been solely capable of entry the web site by a code they despatched to their current mailing record.

The outcomes

The marketing campaign was an overwhelming 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 site 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 Every day Mail, and extra.

“Whereas we didn’t run a sale or any promotions final yr, Black Friday was the largest gross sales day of the yr,” says Katie. “By merely taking a stand and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s price of internet site visitors in a matter of hours and had a great deal of individuals signing up for our e-mail record. We noticed a ton of recent, first-time clients simply because they valued what we have been doing.”

“Manufacturers typically assume you could have values, however they received’t convert to gross sales,” provides Amanda. “However we predict that’s altering—and this marketing campaign is a superb instance of that.”

Pantee is now launching the marketing campaign for the second yr and searching ahead to much more spectacular outcomes.

4 classes realized from one unconventional marketing campaign

Whether or not you’re brainstorming future inventive campaigns, constructing out subsequent quarter’s social advertising technique or already getting began on planning for subsequent yr’s vacation season, Pantee’s Blackout Friday marketing campaign holds nice classes that each marketer ought to maintain high of thoughts. We requested Amanda and Katie for his or her high 4 suggestions—right here’s what they mentioned.

1. Hone in in your goal

“We discuss quite a bit about our values as a model,” says Katie. “And time and time once more, we’ve seen that if we discuss an subject, our values, or one thing with substance behind it, our engagement is a lot larger. That’s what individuals wish to see: one thing that will get them considering.”

Amanda provides: “I feel at one level, we misplaced our approach 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 e-mail advertising and different areas of the enterprise, however with social, we’ve seen a much bigger alternative to coach our viewers and share helpful data that they’ll stroll away with.”

2. An engaged neighborhood is every part

“There’s an enormous distinction between rising a following and rising a following that additionally has engagement,” explains Katie.” Relating to social, what we’ve discovered is that individuals who engaged with us early on have grow to be advocates for our model. We see a lot worth in neighborhood and interesting 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 wish 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 submit, 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’s a lot you possibly can be taught once you discuss with them as an alternative 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 optimistic, tangible change. Simply ask Pantee.

Discover out in regards to the greatest tendencies shaping social media so you possibly can keep forward of the sport—and ensure your subsequent social marketing campaign is a winner. 

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