Bellroy have evolved their social strategy over the last 4 years so we took a deeper dive to see what’s changed.
Back in 2014 I fell in love with Bellroy.
They came out with a super slim wallet design and as a digital marketer I admired their strategy and penned this original blog post in 2015.
With our recent re-brand – I wanted to keep only a select number of articles and this was one of them – but it needed an update.
What better way than to review where Bellroy was in 2015 compared to where they are now in 2019 and see what’s changed with their social strategy over the last 4 years.
Have you ever waited a decade for a product before?
What about two decades?
I have. in 2014 I found the product I’ve been dying to get my hands on. So much so, when I discovered it online, I immediately went out to the store that sold it and bought it (Actually, I bought three – but don’t tell my wife).
From a business product development standpoint, that’s called ‘feeding a starving crowd’. Find the problem and create a great solution.
That’s why I fell in love with Bellroy.
So what the heck is Bellroy anyway?
Bellroy is the brand that re-created the wallet in a slimmer, clever design that removed the bulk from even the fattest of wallets.
As a bloke, I would normally keep my wallet in the back pocket of my pants or jeans. If you do this you know that whenever you sit down, you’re sitting on your lumpy wallet. You can’t help be aware of it. It’s there, it’s lumpy and it is very annoying.
Advertising that works
It has been two decades of annoying for me, so one night when I was surfing the net I came across a banner ad.
Now, banner ads are normally maligned with poor press. The primary sentiment is that most internet users suffer from ‘banner blindness,’ meaning we just don’t pay attention to them any more. Banner blindness was a result of website administrators that would cram their pages with annoying ads. We’re now trained to ignore them, so much so that the impact of banner advertising diminished significantly.
More recent changes to Google’s algorithm have somewhat stopped the ad stuffing (otherwise web-masters suffer a rapid decline in visitors sent by Google). This has changed the landscape again to an acceptable level of banner ads – which when done correctly can deliver.
Bellroy delivers exactly that in spades.
This simple banner, shown to the right, captured my attention one dark and gloomy night (like the dramatic effect?)
It’s not flashing, it doesn’t use neon colours or have any blinking effects.
Instead, it shows a really simple comparison between a fat, swollen wallet and a beautifully thin one.
The tag line is simple and genius – “Slim your wallet”
To a 40 something that has endured sitting on a fat wallet for more than half his life, I had to check this out.
I clicked the banner and that took me to the Bellroy website that immediately reinforced the slim message with a video (They have since changed their website but it is similar).
This was the video I saw;
The transition from Ad to Landing Page was seamless. In the first instance was a static advertisement, the next experience was on the Bellroy site watching a video comparison between the two products.
I was ready buy immediately, but at the time Bellroy didn’t have an online store. Instead I found a retailer in my city that sold the wallets and grabbed my keys, drove for 20 minutes and bought three different sizes. One for everyday, one for my son and one for when I travel.
I say all of this because it’s a great example of what digital advertising can do for a business, when done properly.
As you might expect, Bellroy is on all the major social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, YouTube and Medium. They also use Vimeo for their hosted videos and based on the number of watches it looks like Vimeo is the primary choice for embedded videos on the Bellroy website.
Lets break down each social channel and take a closer look at how Bellroy is reaching a global audience.
- Fans – 2015: 101,000 to 2019: 153,000
- Posting Strategy – 2015: Once Daily to 2019: From 3-10 times a month
- Content – Primarily Bellroy products but also includes beautiful lifestyle photos, men’s interests and social interests.
- Media Mix – 70% Photos, 20% Video, 10% External links to articles
- References – Bellroy also shares articles that have been written about them by a 3rd party. A great way to build social proof.
- Followers – 2015: 7,547 to 2019: 12,500
- Posting Strategy – 2015: Once Daily to 2019: A few tweets a month
- Content – Similar to Facebook.
- Media Mix – 90% Includes Photos keeping Bellroy a visual brand, 10% Re-tweets
- Hashtags – 2015: Using hashtags to 2019: More links promoting their online store
- Followers – 2015: 25,100 to 2019: 150,000
- Posting Strategy – 2015: Once Daily to 2019: Every second day
- Content – Lifestyle product shots + demonstration videos
- Media Mix – Stunning visual images
- Interaction – Quick responses to follower comments/questions. Happily plugs other products included in photos.
Pinterest looks like the newest of the social networks for Bellroy. For retailers like Bellroy, Pinterest can be a goldmine. It will be interesting to see where they are on Pinterest in 12 months.
- Followers – 2015: 1,833 to 2019: 4,000
- Posting Strategy – Great visuals. 50% Bellroy, 50% others.
- Content – In keeping with Bellroy, products + lifestyle shots.
- Subscribers – 2015: 908 & 169,938 views to 2019: 4,500 with 1,155,734 views
- Posting Strategy – When new product demonstrations are published.
- Content – Product demonstrations all generally less than 60 seconds in duration.
- Followers – 2015: 1,100 to 2019: 2,200 (Note: No longer posts to Medium)
- Posting Strategy – Unsure
- Content – Stories of interest including in-depth Bio’s of staff and creative processes.
If other social channels are promotional tools, Medium feels more like the voice behind the business philosophy.
There’s a lot to be learned from Bellroy. From the simplistic philosophy behind the clever designs to the strong visuals that connect a physical product to our lifestyle. The brand identity has been well crafted and tells a story in and of itself.
The digital marketing strategy has always been to showcase the design solution to a slim wallet. Functional, simple, not bulky.
Here are a few lessons we can all learn from Bellroy.
- Create a great product that solves a specific problem.
- Convey your message as simply as you can.
- Visual demonstrations are a great proof element.
- Keep videos short when possible.
- People love and share great original images.
- Be true to your vision with future products.
- Use multiple social media platforms if they fit your target market.
- Share third party reviews/photos that reinforce your brand.
- Engage in the conversation with your audience quickly.
- Don’t be afraid to tell the story behind the product/brand.
Bellroy uses social media to enhance their brand and advertise their product line. A simple, essentialist approach makes them stand out in a crowded market.
Over time we can see channels have evolved significantly. There seems to be far more growth on Instagram which is logical given the visual nature of the platform and how well Instagram performs for fashion.