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Published October 12th 2022

5 Brands That Became Bigger Than Their Products (And How You Can Too)

Here's how to make your brand stand out from the competition.

These brands couldn’t be more different. Yet, they’ve all had an undeniable impact on society and culture, far beyond the products they sell. Here’s how you can too.

For a brand to succeed, it needs to create a community of loyal customers who buzz about its products. We’ve gathered a list of brands that do just that, so you too can follow in their footsteps.

Here are some brands which became bigger than their product and how you can too.

Nintendo

With an average of 350,000 online mentions every week this year, Nintendo’s online presence is one to admire. From brand new game releases to the resurgence of long-loved favorites, Nintendo has a loyal fan base – singing its praises on social media and beyond. And the conversation doesn’t stop at their games.

On top of legendary video games like Super Mario and Pokémon, fans are also vocal about Nintendo’s soundtracks. Whether it’s the Wii Theme Music, which has gathered over 22 million plays on YouTube, or a fan-made remix of Super Mario World, fans are keen to experience Nintendo’s soundtracks outside of gaming.

So, why are Nintendo’s soundtracks so well-received? As Nintendo’s soundtracks act as background music for gameplay, many fans find comfort in listening to these catchy tunes to study or listen to in their free time. This has led to millions of views of Nintendo’s soundtracks on social media, with thousands of fans complementing the catchy tunes.

Nintendo is equally renowned for its Pokémon game series. Introduced in 1998, Pokémon has grown from a simple Game Boy console game to a much-loved franchise. In fact, the phrase Pokémon has received 31 million mentions this year so far, 1.5x more mentions than the term Nintendo. From the popular app, Pokémon Go to the renowned Pokémon trading card game, this nostalgic video game has only grown since its conception.

When diving into the data, we can see that – unsurprisingly – the largest emotion prevalent in the Pokémon conversation was joy, at 45%. Fans are excited about new games, nostalgic about previous memories with the franchise, and keen to share their experiences online with like-minded communities. Joy took the largest percentage of emotion-categorized mentions among the Pokémon conversation, with sadness coming in at second with 20% of emotion-categorized mentions. These sad mentions are still mainly positive, for example users are upset they can’t play the game due to other commitments.

By building well-loved franchises, which often develop into more than just a game, Nintendo is building a brand that is more than just the products they sell. They are offering community and common-ground, which is enjoyed by fans across the globe.

Nike

Known for its footwear, Nike has amassed a loyal following for its trendy shoes, apparel, and recreational products. With almost 8 million mentions about the brand online since the start of the year, Nike’s reputation is impressive.

Some of Nike’s most popular footwear products include the Air Force and Air Max varieties. Both products have received over 500k online mentions each since January 2022, as fans discuss the loved shoes online.

However, in the Nike conversation, it’s not all about footwear. Nike’s Run Club app has received over 10 million downloads on the Google Play store alone. The app, offering free guided runs and training plans, has gained a solid reputation for being a reliable, fun app for new and avid runners.

Nike Run Club has become a brand in itself and is often regarded as one of the best running apps on the market. By generating a loyal, active user base, Nike has developed a large pool of consumers who will be open to purchasing footwear and apparel from the brand. Additionally, the app positions Nike as a knowledgeable, trustworthy brand – so users of Nike Run Club are likely to buy Nike’s products again and again.

Gymshark

On the theme of active brands, Gymshark is a market leader. The company, founded in 2012, approached their marketing strategy a little differently. By leveraging influencer marketing, they created an empire of die-hard micro-influencers who promote their activewear daily.

‘Gymshark Athletes’ – the term used for influencers sponsored by Gymshark – collectively have hundreds of millions of followers on social media. By leveraging these influencers who post photos wearing Gymshark products, they’re reaching hundreds of thousands of consumers daily.

Becoming a Gymshark Athlete is more than just a collaboration – it’s a goal for many up-and-coming fitness enthusiasts. Gymshark has become synonymous with fitness, with consumers relying on the brand for their activewear needs.

When looking at sentiment on Brandwatch Consumer Analysis, we can see that an impressive 73% of emotion-categorized online mentions about Gymshark Athletes are positive – proving the power of their influencer strategy.

Gymshark is now worth over $1 billion, according to the Sunday Times, which ranked CEO Ben Francis among the Sunday Times Rich List 2022. Gymshark has set an impressive precedent for future businesses looking to implement a successful influencer marketing strategy.

Lush

Renowned for its sustainability, cosmetic brand Lush has become a company that does more than make bath products. Lush’s ethical practices mean the brand won’t use suppliers who test on animals, they use limited packaging, and their products are 100% vegetarian. Their values are present in everything they do.

Lush’s ethical initiatives are deeply rooted in the brand, which has seeped into its consumer base. For example, in 2006, 80,000 of Lush’s customers joined the company in their fight to tackle a new piece of legislation proposed by the European Union. Lush believed the legislation would increase animal testing, yet by encouraging their consumers to join, thousands of postcards were sent to MEPs to fight for change. Lush’s customers have values matching the company’s, creating a bond between brand and consumer.

Lush’s bath bombs have become a phenomenon, seeing over 15,000 online mentions this year so far. The product’s high-quality standards and fresh aromas have set a standard for bath bombs globally. Looking at the online conversation around Lush’s bath bomb range, we can see hundreds of happy customers sharing their aesthetically pleasing products on social media.

Lush’s visibility as an ethical brand is no doubt a reason for its global success. From fighting for animal welfare to creating environmentally friendly products, the brand has its values at the heart of what they do. By keeping values in mind, other brands can benefit from better customer loyalty.

Patagonia

Operating in over ten countries, Patagonia produces high-quality, fashionable clothing. Yet, the brand is known for its activism, including a number of ethical and political initiatives. Patagonia commits 1% of its total sales to environmental groups, and in 2016 the company pledged to contribute 100% of its Black Friday sales to environmental organizations, which totaled $10 million.

Recently, Patagonia made the news in a major way. Founder Yvon Chouinard announced that he wasn’t selling the company, but donating it to a charitable trust which fights climate change. Thereby, all Patagonia profits will go into saving the planet, or as Yvon put it: “As of now, Earth is our only shareholder.” This blew up on the internet, leading to a spike in positive mentions on social media – with 72% of all emotion-categorized mentions on the day of the announcement being joyful.

Patagonia has become a brand that is more than its clothing. Its activism and ethical initiatives have certainly added to the brand’s visibility in the sustainable clothing space.

Roundup

By growing your brand to more than just its products, you create a community of loyal consumers excited about discussing your brand online. Putting your values at the forefront of your brand is a proven way to encourage like-minded consumers to pay attention to your products. Alternatively, using influencers of all sizes to create a buzz about your brand is bound to generate conversation about your products online.

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