Wow…I just realized the title of this article sounds like one of those stupid Buzzfeed articles my high school friends share on theFacebook.com. Sorry about that… Actually, screw Buzzfeed…I’m not gonna change the title of my articles because of them. Besides, they’re the ones who suck.
Branding can be confusing. Hell, startup savant Peter Thiel said branding is essential to build a successful startup but even he doesn’t know what “branding” means.
If you wanna learn about branding, there’s one Silicon Valley startup you must learn from: Chubbies Shorts. Here’s what you should do: go to their site. Click around (my favorite is their customer service page). Then, read this post.
Have you ever heard of Chubbies Shorts?
In a nutshell, they’re a startup in San Francisco that makes $60 short shorts for men. Specifically, for Magnum P.I. aficionados and frat bro’s across the country.
But they’re so, so much more than just a men’s thighentific fashion startup.
The team at Chubbies Shorts are a branding and marketing powerhouse.
In fact, I’d say they’re one of the best in Silicon Valley. They’re more like a Y-gen media company that happens to sell shorts vs. a shorts company with killer content.
Some of their impressive stats:
- 1,000,000+ Facebook Likes
- 119,000 Instagram Followers
- 98,000 Twitter Followers
- Reportedly sold $600,000 worth of American flag shorts in 1 day
At last year’s Hustle Con, Chubbies Shorts co-founders Tom Montgomery and Preston Rutherford gave a behemoth of a talk explaining their content marketing strategy.
In their talk they told dozens of tiny anecdotes that were crazy informative for any content marketer, brand builder, or entrepreneur. I highly recommend watching their talk at the bottom of this page.
Not interested in the video?
Here are the highlights, along with my key takeaways:
1. Before it was a real company, the four Chubbies founders made batches of shorts for themselves.
Friends asked where they bought the shorts, so they made more for friends. People on the street wanted them, so they made more. A few times, folks literally bought the shorts of the founder’s body.
2. They put a massive effort on content, specifically their Facebook posts and email newsletter.
Chubbies thinks of their content like Comedy Central or Jimmy Fallon would think of their content. Each piece of must fit their brand. Each post is an attempt to “make the customer appear as the hero.” Check out their YouTube page… friggin’ hilarious.
3. They don’t have a blog
According to co-founder Preston Rutherford, content doesn’t just have to be through blogging or video.
Instead, their content is Facebook and Instagram posts, product descriptions, packaging, koozies and even customer experiences. Once, they sent out 1,000 packages of Big League Chew on a random Tuesday to past customers. Customers tweeted photos of the gum to Chubbies and their friends. Success.
The engagement on their social media posts is crazy high…higher than most men’s fashion brands and their customers are their biggest advocates.
4. Most of their content is user submitted
Users email photos or tag Chubbies. Once Chubbies sees this, they add a caption or headline and post on their feed. Chubbies also has 150 college campus ambassadors consisting of bad*ss shorts afficionados in a sea of confused cargo and man-capri-wearing jabronies. These two tactics drive copious amounts of word-of-mouth referrals.
They even add user generated content on the checkout page, which has proven to increase conversions.
They don’t do customer service, but instead “support their customer.”
They view their customer service line as yet another form of content. When users call Chubbies customer service line, they can choose what kind of music they want to listen to while on on hold. Here’s the number…try it for yourself: 855-711-7686.
In fact, co-founder Rutherford is often manning the phone lines. His personal cell phone number is even on some of the packaging.
5. Real life experiences can be web content
A customer once filmed himself asking Miss Texas out for a date. The video made it on the news. When Chubbies saw it, they paid for a limo, bouquet of flowers, and gave him a few pairs of shorts. In another instance, a customer emailed them saying his shorts had been stolen from the gym locker. Chubbies replaced the shorts for free and bought him a week’s worth of free karate lessons.
6. They aren’t salesy
Chubbies looks at their brand as a person someone wants to hang out with. And no one likes their friends spamming Facebook in attempt to sell a product. So before posting content, they ask themselves “would we wanna hang out with this person.”
In this guy’s case, the answer is yes. Yes, we’d like to hang out with him.
7. You either get it or you don’t (and our takeaways)
Chubbies has mastered polarizing their audience. After experiencing their brand, you’ll leave either absolutely loving what they do or hating it. And you know what? That’s OK. In fact it’s great.
Emotion is one of the strongest connections in the brain and can make brands, companies, and products stand out. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do everything you can create a meaningful relationship with your customer base. You never want to tell haters “go take a hike” but sometimes it saves time.
By identifying and celebrating their biggest supporters, they’ve developed an extremely loyal customer base that. Unfortunately for cargo shorts, it happens to consist righteous broskis all over the country who like to party.
For those of who don’t understand the trend, that’s OK, we get it. You can still respect the genius behind their branding, social proof, and marketing execution.
Can you think of any other venture-backed companies that can sell this many shorts?
Wanna watch the entire Chubbies presentation? Check out the video below.