Well Played: Lilly Pulitzer’s Facebook Fan Stampede

Popular amongst women of all ages, Lilly Pulitzer has been a long-standing symbol of fun, feminine fashion including their hallmark product- the brightly colored shift. One particular consumer segment received a big gift from the Lilly Pulitzer brand when the company developed a line of bags and accessories in custom-designed sorority prints. Originally the prints were for four national sororities- Delta Zeta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Delta Delta Delta.

There are significantly more sororities than just those four. The  National Panhellenic Conference recognizes 26 international sororities, not to mention the historically African-American, Latina, special interest and local sororities found on college campuses nationwide.

About a month ago, the designers at Lilly Pulitzer made an announcement on their Facebook page that they wanted to add groups to their sorority prints, but to decide which groups to represent, they were going to put it to a vote on their Facebook page.

Lilly’s page, which had about 140,000 fans already (being a national brand does have its perks), gained 50,000 followers within a week of the anouncement as girls got their groups together to “Like” the Facebook page and vote for their group. After a week, the groups got narrowed down to nine sororities for the last round of voting.

1,023 likes and 713 comments, all from die-hard brand supporters. Look at that level of engagement. Then check out when they announced the winners:

ALMOST FIVE THOUSAND LIKES. The Lilly Pulitzer Facebook Page now has close to 260,000 facebook fans- almost double what they started out with. And the next time they want to add more

The best part of what Lilly Pulitzer did with this online contest is the human aspect of it- the design team at Lilly would do  off the cuff video responses to their fans as the voted rolled in and they reached different stages of the contest.
This accomplished a few things simultaneously:

  • It humanized their brand and let people see what goes on behind the scenes at a company they love
  • It encouraged more participation among their users
  • It crowdsourced opinions on a product they knew they were going to make anyway, quickly identifying needs and and getting a consensus without having to spend time debating amongst themselves- a process which would probably lead to a similar outcome without getting them any new Facebook fans in the process.

By holding this contest on their facebook page, they saved time and money on promotions and  R&D while building loyalty within their consumer base.

Well played, Lilly Pulitzer. Well played.