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By now we’ve all heard and seen the national viral takeover of the Stanley Quencher driven by TikTok, moms, Saturday Night Live, and seemingly every teen. We also know the man behind the success is Terence Reilly.

But did you know prior to his success at Stanley, he spent 10 years as CMO at Crocs driving their massive resurgence toward $2 billion+ in annual revenue?

I don’t want to regurgitate the fluff and obvious story points but I’ve read many of the articles covering Stanley’s viral rise including the Wall Street Journal’s podcast episode, and have written seven actionable strategies and tactics you can use to try replicating similar virality for your brand.

Let’s jump right in:

  1. Expand your target market: Stanley grew by developing products aimed at women, a large consumer base they had largely ignored before. Reimagine your brand to appeal to new demographics.
  2. Find your fans: Identify celebrities and influencers who genuinely love your product, like Post Malone with Crocs. Pursue organic partnerships and collaborations with them to drive authentic demand.
  3. Embrace a scarcity model: Release limited-edition products, colors, and collaborations in small bursts to create hype and frenzy. This also helps prevent excess inventory issues.
  4. Use direct-to-consumer data to bolster retail positioning: Take strong DTC sales data to retail partners to prove demand and secure better in-store placement and visibility.
  5. Track brand strength with the “airport test”: Observe how many people are wearing or carrying your product in busy airports. Strong representation here indicates the brand has become an intentional fashion choice.
  6. Be patient with brand transitions: Shifting brand perception and getting internal buy-in takes time. Expect some turnover as you implement changes.
  7. Focus on organic fan content over paid influencers: Prioritize amplifying genuine posts from everyday fans rather than paying for influencer promotions. Authenticity resonates more with consumers.

The key takeaway is to identify under-served markets, cultivate genuine partnerships, and strategically stoke demand through scarcity and organic fan enthusiasm. Leveraging DTC data and real-world brand visibility can further strengthen your position with retail partners.

Sit on these insights and see how you can tie them into your marketing frameworks.

If you want to read further, I recommend these two articles: