The Curious Case of Sunny Co. Clothing

Navigating the world of social media marketing can be a very difficult thing without the proper knowledge and expertise. It may seem simple enough to launch a promotion, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it ineffective. It may also be a bit too effective, which, believe it or not, can be just as bad. Although this may be hard to believe, consider the case of Sunny Co. clothing.

Sunny Co. is a small clothing company ran by two friends who started in college. The brand launched in August 2016, and specialized in swimwear. Although they had strong initial success with their first swimsuit line, Sunny Co. is still small and, like all startups, needed to be careful. There was far less margin for error for them as opposed to larger companies.

As the Story Goes

Unfortunately, back in May 2017, Sunny Co. clothing launched an Instagram promotion in which they promised to send a certain red swimsuit to anyone who shared the image associated. All their customers had to do was pay for the shipping. Now, a giveaway is a great way to promote your business. Although you’re giving away merchandise, your business will gain a lot of positive PR and makes it more likely for those participating to purchase something while they’re there. The mistake that Sunny Co. made, however, was not realizing just how viral their image would get, and preemptively cap the event. By the end of the promotion, the image had been shared 346,000 times. Additionally, customers where complaining about the fact that they were being charged the full price for the swimsuit at checkout.

A Viral Nightmare

It was both a PR and financial nightmare. They had received over 50,000 inquiries about the promotion. Sunny Co. was forced to decide: will they fulfill their promotion promise and spend months losing money, or take a devastating PR hit. In this case, Sunny Co. knew that they had to bite the bullet. Their ultimate solution was an elegant refund function: If you payed full price for the swimsuit, you can submit an inquiry and receive a refund (but no swimsuit.) The rest they promised to send out. This was the correct move. Although they would be forced to honor each share, had they not done this, the amount of buzz that had surrounded their story could have killed their companies’ audience base had they gone negative.

It wasn’t all bad. Before this, Sunny Co. clothing was an unknown brand. Now though, many people begin to associate them with the word “swimsuit.” Ultimately, the virility of their story, when coupled with how they handled the debacle, was likely more or less a boon for them. Still, had they had the foresight to cap their promotion, they could have generated buzz surrounding their brand without the repercussion. Consider the difference between giving out a capped 500 swimsuits, or an uncapped 300,000.

How Did It All Turn Out?

Today, Sunny Co. is alive and well, having gained many followers from the incident. They were lucky though; many startups would not have survived the financial burden of honoring their misinformed marketing promotion.

So how does this story relate to you and your company? Surely this was a unique case, and could never happen to you. Well, it serves as a cautionary tale. Make sure you do your research before launching any promotion. It’s always best to have people working for you that know what they’re doing when it comes to social media. Having a proper social media team working with you will allow you to reach out to the highest amount of potential clients, and craft an ideal image surrounding your brand. You may think that you have it under control, but it only takes one slip up to ruin your brand. Share the wrong piece of content and you risk alienating a chunk of your potential audience. If your ads and promotions are not optimized, you then risk wasting money on unsuccessful marketing ventures.

Lessons to Learn

The way in which social media platforms function is ever changing, with new and evolving tools coming out of the blue every day. When your startup is on the line, a lack of expertise in the nuances of social media marketing can be fatal. If you don’t want your brand to get lost in the white noise that is the congregation of thousands of failing brands, I strongly suggest that you get someone who knows what they’re doing.

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