If you have a small business, your goal is to grow and make more money. What do 12 small brands that made it big all have in common? They were able to take advantage of their time in the spotlight. The 12 businesses profiled here did not let their moment slip away from them – they took the opportunity to generate more revenue for their company while they could!
Tom Montgomery started a company called Chubbies. He wanted to create a clothing line that was both stylish and comfortable. Tom also knew he had his work cut out for him because there were so many other companies who produced similar products already on the market. So, Tom did what any good business owner does – watch trends carefully and act quickly to capitalize on them.
The shorts company’s motto is “if you had a really cool pair of shorts, people would talk about it.” Chubbies was able to take advantage of this by turning their attention to social media and creating viral videos that were shared all over the internet.
Cards Against Humanity
Max Temkin is the founder of Cards Against Humanity, a party game for people that was first released in 2011 by the Chicago design group of eight friends known as the “Ad Hoc Playtesters”. The cards are based on four categories—nouns, verbs, phrases and jokes—and people compete by matching these phrases and sentences.
Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich
When an already-popular fast food chain offers a new sandwich, it’s bound to go viral. In the case of Popeyes in 2019, that was so true! Popeyes unveiled their new chicken sandwich online and on TV commercials earlier this year – but they weren’t expecting what happened next. The company tried to keep up with demand and ran out of chicken, and the new sandwich became a full-blown pop culture phenomenon.
The first thing Popeyes did after they had calmed down? They created an even bigger and better version of their original chicken sandwich – this time with bacon! The company’s success didn’t end there either: it also expanded its menu to include boneless chicken, bottled lemonade and more.
Niantic Inc. (Pokemon Go)
Niantic Inc. was as surprised as you likely were when Pokemon Go was released. They had no idea that the app would take off like it did and they were not prepared for it at all! In the weeks before release, Niantic worked to port their game engine from a PC-based architecture to mobile devices. To say this was an easy feat is an understatement – but somehow they pulled it off just in time.
Niantic was in the right place at the right time when they launched this app and made a lot of money from it. They have since turned their focus to other projects, but Pokemon Go will always be part of their history – for better or worse!
Invisible Children (Kony 2012)
Invisible Children is a nonprofit organization that addresses issues of child advocacy and the use of armed conflict. After they posted their video KONY 2012 on YouTube, it went viral reaching over 100 million views in March 2012. The campaign was even covered by mainstream media like the Today Show, ABC News and Huffington Post. This campaign helped the organization generate more revenue for their company by utilizing their time in the spotlight when they could.
ALSA (The Ice Bucket Challenge)
When the ALS Association launched their viral campaign in 2014, it was one of the most successful campaigns ever. They challenged celebrities like Bieber and Winfrey to dump ice cold buckets over their heads for a good cause: raising money and promoting awareness about Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In just two weeks after launching this challenge video on social media sites such as Facebook or Tumblr, they were able to raise $220 million dollars from countries all around world! The videos went everywhere- even ending up being some of the fifth most searched queries by people online that year!
Dominique Ansel Bakery (The Cronut)
French-born pastry chef Dominique Ansel has created a new kind of doughnut called the Cronut. The French native was living in New York when he noticed that his bakery didn’t have any donuts on its menu, so he decided to invent something similar but more like those from home–croissants.
Ansel’s new dessert really gained steam after a popular food blogger from Grub Street tried one and documented the experience. Thousands of people flooded to his bakery website, which increased by more than 300%, just because he wrote about it on social media sites! Hundreds would line up every day in hope they could get their hands on this trendy pastry that was taking over New York City.
The Blendtec CEO, Tom Dickson, saw the potential for YouTube as a marketing tool in early days. He quickly created “Will It Blender?” to show off his product’s versatility and prominence on social media with just minimal funding from advertising dollars. With funny videos of people blending everything under sun (including an entire chicken), it is clear that this was one way he managed to grow his company over time into what it has become today: a household name synonymous with blenders everywhere!
Roman Originals (The Dress)
What happens when your company isn’t even the one behind a viral sensation? It started with a wedding photo posted online. A young woman was pictured standing next to a bride, and no one could agree on what color her dress was- #DressGate had begun. This debate eventually led up to Roman Originals being bombarded by questions about their white/gold garment in particular; this wasn’t good for business!
Christodoulou had a difficult time explaining the success of his company and said that they were hoping for 200 per week, but instead 3,000 dresses flew off racks in just 10 days. This is when celebrities like Victoria Beckham tweeted about it with their followers climbing to over 100 million people following suit (10k tweets per minute). When all was said and done “The Dress” sparked an unprecedented reaction on social media – as we now know how quickly something can go viral!
Metro Trains Melbourne (Dumb Ways to Die)
Melbourne’s Metro System didn’t have a safety campaign in market before DWTD. They had information at stations, but nothing that was really influencing safe behavior or showing the company cared so they brought agency McCann Melbourne on to help.
-Metro Train Chloe Alsop explained “We kept coming back to one thing: it’s hard enough for someone not paying attention and getting hit by a train.” With no serious tone and without tugging at heartstrings an impactful, memorable & shareable campaign is built.
The Railway Safety Dance campaign was an innovative social media initiative that gained over 77 million views on YouTube and led to the game becoming No. 1 in 101 countries, garnering $60 million in earned media income within six weeks of its launch date. The most important stat coming out of this campaign is a 21% reduction in railway accidents following it’s release—a number which proves how effective DWTD’s efforts were at promoting safety before we even get into their ability to reach people through various platforms by using something as simple as dance moves!
By April 2014, the Railway Safety Dance (DWTD) Campaign had been viewed more than 76+million times on YouTube – what has become one of their main forms for reaching audiences with information about rail safety.
Netflix’s Bird Box
How many times have you been sitting on the sofa, scrolling through your favorite streaming service for a good movie to watch when suddenly — out of nowhere and with no warning whatsoever — Sandra Bullock herself appears in front of your eyes, waving at you from across an ocean.
The recent Netflix film “Bird Box” has been an overwhelming success. Within the first week of release, it had garnered 45 million views and people couldn’t stop talking about it on social media with memes galore spurring from this movie’s fame. One question that many are asking is if these two factors for its popularity could be related or just a coincidence?
The new Netflix original movie “Bird Box” was released to millions within one week after garnering over 45 million viewers in only seven days due mostly to word-of-mouth as well as some meddling by fans on social media which were seen through various meme usage during the time since its release date. The big question now: should we attribute such widespread attention mainly because of these.
Sphero (Makers of BB-8)
Sphero was in a meeting with Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, when he happened to scroll through offerings for Force Friday-a September 2015 toy and merchandising event. He asked them if they could make the rolling droid BB8 (which had not been introduced yet), as it would be released that day. 10 months later on Force Friday, Sphero launched their own version of this Star Wars character.
They sold more than a million robots in 2015 alone, and it seems like they’re not stopping anytime soon.