Ah, Black Friday.
It’s no surprise that the official kick-off day for the holiday shopping season is responsible for a huge annual surge in consumer costs, reaching $8.9 billion in the United States alone in 2021. But while this is a yearly slam-dunk for big box merchants, Black Friday can bring more difficulties than benefits for small companies.
Slashing costs to make sales cuts straight into their bottom line– and with limited marketing budgets and resources, taking on huge brand names takes guts, insight, and imagination. That’s why the small companies that stand apart during the holiday are the ones that connect with the distinct desires and needs of their clients, get strong with their marketing strategies, and create thumb-stopping content that makes sure to get individuals talking.
In 2015, UK-based sustainable underclothing brand and Best SMM Panel client Pantee won Black Friday with a project that broke convention and raised awareness of unsustainable impulse buying. We interviewed Pantee’s founders, sisters Amanda and Katie McCourt, to discover how they did it, what the outcomes were, and what they’ve found out for future campaigns.
What is Pantee?
Pantee is an underwear brand making a difference: their items are made using “deadstock” materials, or unsold stock that would otherwise end up in land fills. Developed by females, for females and the world, Pantee’s items are produced with comfort and design in mind, while assisting prevent unused garments from going to waste.
@pantee_uk We released a business in lockdown! Here’s how we did it #smallbusinesslaunch #howtostartabusiness #smallbusinesscheck #whatididduringlockdown Bubble– Official Noise Studio
For Pantee, sustainability isn’t a buzzword or trend to get on; the brand was founded with this purpose at its core. The concept came to life in a thrift store in 2019, when Amanda was browsing pre-owned clothing stores in London and was blown away by the number of new t-shirts lining the racks, tags still on them.
“It was crazy to me how many people had given away clothes before even using them when,” states Amanda. “It got me thinking: If this is how many disposed of clothes we can see, just how much exists that we can’t see? As soon as I started investigating, I understood that we could make a difference. It’s really hard to get buying best in the fashion business with trends and shopping cycles changing so often, and as an outcome, many companies overproduce. I became fixated on the concept of what we might do with deadstock clothes.”
The short answer to Amanda’s concern on how much waste we can’t see: a lot. The fashion industry produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste each year, and around 30% of clothes made are never even sold.
With a strong enthusiasm to make a difference for our world– and after understanding that the soft cotton tee shirt material everybody enjoys would provide itself well to underwear and cordless bras– Amanda and Katie named business Pantee (an abridged variation of “pants made from deadstock tees”) and got to work bringing the idea to life.
@pantee_uk Upcycling never felt so good link in bio to learn more about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #comfort #recycledfashion elegant– milo
Given that initially introducing their Kickstarter in November 2020 (where they raised ₤ 11,000) and Shopify website in February 2021, Pantee has become an effective sustainable startup– upcycling more than 1,500 kgs of deadstock fabric in its first 1.5 years alone. Pantee also plants one tree for every order positioned (leading to over 1,500 trees planted!) and is a happy member of 1% For the Planet.
Flipping the script with a ‘Blackout Friday’ project
Leading up to the Black Friday pandemonium in 2021, Amanda and Katie had something on their minds: overconsumption. Currently a concern in the fashion industry during the routine season, Black Friday made sure to encourage customers to make unneeded purchases– much of which would go unused and end up back on racks or, even worse, in garbage dumps.
So, while lots of small companies grappled with whether or not to run sales and promotions, Pantee asked a various question: how could they create a successful project while remaining real to their objective?
- The solution: Reclaim Black Friday by rebranding it “Blackout Friday,” an initiative encouraging consumers to reconsider their purchases and avoid impulse buying.
- The message: Stop and believe before you purchase. Is it something you enjoy? Is it something you need? If so, go on– buy and enjoy your new purchase. But if you weren’t currently going to make that purchase, consider going without.
“Black Friday is the greatest impulse buying day of the year, and people get easily sucked into sales,” states Katie. “But the mentality should be: Is it actually a bargain if you weren’t going to invest the money initially? Our project position was not to motivate impulse buying, and we saw a lot of engagement since of the shared worths and common ground it developed with our audience.”
“There is so much overconsumption on Black Friday,” includes Amanda. “Our stance wasn’t necessarily do not buy, however if you’re going to, buy something you’ve desired for a truly long period of time.”
Pantee didn’t stop there. To bring the campaign to life and put their words into action, the retailer shut off their site to all but their engaged clients, who were just able to access the website through a code they sent out to their existing mailing list.
The project was a frustrating success, resulting in a considerable increase in sales, social engagement and reach, brand awareness and brand-new consumer acquisition.
- Engagement on social networks doubled throughout the campaign (from 4 to 8%), and organic social impressions reached over 4x the overall fans at the time.
- The campaign naturally increased web traffic by 122% month-over-month in November 2021 with no supported paid invest.
- Pantee’s newsletter grew by 33% in the week leading up to Black Friday.
- The success of the social project extended far beyond Pantee’s Buy Instagram Verified, with the initiative included in top-tier press including The Observer, Drapers, Reuters, The Daily Mail, and more.
“While we didn’t run a sale or any promos last year, Black Friday was the biggest sales day of the year,” says Katie. “By simply taking a stand and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s worth of web traffic in a matter of hours and had loads of people registering for our email list. We saw a lots of brand-new, first-time consumers just because they valued what we were doing.”
“Brand names frequently think that you can have values, however they will not transform to sales,” adds Amanda. “But we think that’s changing– and this project is a great example of that.”
Pantee is now introducing the project for the second year and eagerly anticipating a lot more impressive outcomes.
4 lessons learned from one non-traditional project
Whether you’re brainstorming future creative projects, developing out next quarter’s social marketing strategy or currently starting on preparing for next year’s holiday season, Pantee’s Blackout Friday campaign holds excellent lessons that every marketer must keep top of mind. We asked Amanda and Katie for their top four suggestions– here’s what they stated.
1. Focus on your purpose
“We talk a lot about our values as a brand,” says Katie. “And time and time again, we’ve seen that if we talk about an issue, our values, or something with substance behind it, our engagement is so much higher. That’s what people want to see: something that gets them believing.”
Amanda adds: “I think at one point, we lost our way a bit and became more item and sales heavy on our social channels, and we saw that we weren’t getting the very same reach. Pushing product works through email marketing and other areas of business, however with social, we have actually seen a larger opportunity to educate our audience and share helpful details that they can win.”
2. An engaged neighborhood is everything
“There’s a huge distinction between growing a following and growing a following that also has engagement,” describes Katie.” When it comes to social, what we’ve found is that people who engaged with us early on have actually ended up being supporters for our brand. We see so much worth in neighborhood and engaging with our clients beyond getting the sale. Lots of brands see social as a platform to get their message out, but for us, it’s a two-way street.”
3. Do not hesitate to be strong
“We found out rather early on with our social that the greatest peaks of engagement took place when we took a stand for something,” says Katie. “We have actually constantly been quite objective driven, but we like to have a good time with it and not be too preachy. When we’ve introduced campaigns with our sustainability mission at the leading edge, the engagement has been through the roofing system.”
4. Remember that there’s more to social than what you’re posting
“Social network isn’t practically what you post, it’s about how you engage with other accounts and make people feel,” explains Amanda. “Hanging out on your social platforms connecting with others, developing relationships and establishing an engaged neighborhood is important. We use our social channels for two-way discussions with both customers and our neighborhood– there is a lot you can discover when you talk with them rather of at them.”
If there’s one takeaway that increases above all the others, it’s that social is one of the most powerful tools that brands can utilize to spark their company, turning spectators into faithful brand supporters, awareness into sales, and your mission into positive, tangible modification. Just ask Pantee.
Learn about the most significant patterns forming social networks so you can remain ahead of the video game– and make certain your next social project is a winner.
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