On the season finale of Shark Tank this past February, a young, energetic entrepreneur named Uki Deane pitched his funky fresh bathing suit company Bermies to the Sharks. He was looking for a $200,000 investment for a 20% stake in his company, which he started back in 2016. Unfortunately, none of the Sharks took the bait. In fact, they kind of ripped him apart for being careless with his marketing dollars. What is he doing wrong?
As a Philadelphian, still basking in the glow of the 2018 Eagles Super Bowl victory, I love rooting for the underdog and I think Bermies has a real shot at making it big. Below, I explore what Bermies has going for them, where they’re missing the boat (hellooo nautical idioms!), what they need to do to elevate the brand to greater greatness, and why I’d bet on them.
What Bermies is doing really well
A solid, sticky product
The Bermies product is simple (everyone knows what a bathing suit is and why you need one); the suits are well-made and reasonably priced. Every suit costs exactly the same, $49.99, and that consistency makes it a no-brainer for happy customers to keep coming back.
Bermies is absolutely crushing it in the branding department. The suits come in bright, eye-catching patterns and colors, and each pair has a name to match – my personal favorite is ‘Elepants’ because puns. Bermies also promotes an active, playful, and carefree lifestyle with international appeal.
A philanthropic mission
According to their website, Bermies donates 10% of their profits to organizations that help keep the oceans clean. This wasn’t mentioned during Uki’s Shark Tank pitch, but Bermies’ commitment to supporting a cause that swimwear-loving consumers likely care about is a slam dunk. In fact, 73% of millennials are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Help save the ocean while stylishly enjoying it? Yaaassss.
Where they could use some help
At one point during Uki’s pitch, he was trying to convince the Sharks to invest in him because he is very fiscally responsible with his marketing dollars. Unfortunately, he crashed and burned when he said he flew to Southeast Asia for photoshoots because ‘it was the cheapest option.’ He then went on to say that photographers can cost $5,000 or more and then you have to hire models. I wanted to reach into my TV, grab Uki and exclaim, “YOU GOTTA GET THAT UGC, BRO!”
Here are four easy ways Uki can take Bermies to the next level without spending a fortune.
1. Tap into the user-generated content celebrating Bermies on Instagram
In just a few clicks, I was able to find hundreds of incredibly awesome photos and videos tagging Bermies on Instagram. There were photos of people surfing, cliff diving, kayaking, scuba diving, and every other outdoor activity imaginable. 90% of them perfectly match Bermies’ brand aesthetic and would serve as highly-effective marketing material on their website, in emails, and on social. The kicker? As long as Bermies gets permission to use it, this content is free! Even better, his fans will be stoked to be featured!
2. Find and connect with micro-influencers to create authentic (but inexpensive) content
Influencer campaigns have endless potential. Enlisting the help of an outdoor enthusiast micro-influencer would create a bank of new content for the brand. Additionally, Bermies could drive brand awareness if the influencer shared that content with their highly-engaged audience on social or on their blog. And these types of campaigns don’t have to cost an arm and a leg: 84% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 per branded Instagram post. It wouldn’t take much time to find great influencers to work with – especially given the number of Instagrammers already celebrating Bermies with @mentions and tags.
3. Make Bermies’ Instagram shoppable
Bermies’ Instagram is already fabulous. It’s just missing one critical piece: it’s not shoppable! The link in their bio takes you to their website, so if a customer was inspired to shop from a photo that Bermies shared on Instagram, that customer would have to search through pages on the website until they found the original pair of shorts that caught their eye. This is not an ideal shopping experience, and the likelihood of a customer getting frustrated and leaving the site without a purchase is high. The alternative? Create a landing page featuring your Instagram content and let your customers shop there directly. (*cough* Like2Buy *cough*).
4. Put user-generated & influencer content on the Bermies website
Now that we’ve covered a few things Bermies could be doing off of their website, let’s talk about on their website. The brand’s colorful aesthetic shines bright on the Bermies website, but if you click on the “Lookbook” tab, it just takes you to their Instagram account. This leads customers away from the place where they can actually shop. So sure, they may be inspired by the ‘Lookbook,’ but they also might get distracted by an Instagram notification that their BFF tagged them in a hilarious dog meme and they’re gone in the blink of an eye. The solution here is to create a home for inspiring user-generated, influencer or brand-owned content to live on-site and make it easy for customers to add products to their cart.
Why I’d bet on Bermies
It’s wonderfully inspiring to watch eager entrepreneurs pitch their ideas on Shark Tank in the pursuit of a lump sum of cash to make their dreams come true, but it’s absolutely a myth that great marketing has to cost millions of dollars. Uki Deane has the energy, drive, and passion to turn Burmies into a booming international brand, he just needs to realize his strengths and do more with what he already has. By focusing on the right marketing channels, spending marketing dollars wisely, and always striving to shorten the path to purchase, the Bermies brand could easily soar (or cliff jump) into swimsuit infamy.
P.S. Curalate helps brands with everything they need to win at social commerce – including everything discussed here. Want to learn more? Click here to request a demo.
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