Disrupting the Norm

The Revolutionary Idea

The concept of buying prescription eye glasses without actually trying them on in the store seemed like a crazy idea, but not to Neil Blumenthal and his co-founders who created Warby Parker. The “Home Try-On” service allows customers to order and ship five pairs of glasses to try on at no charge. Customers are then able to pick which pair they like best, and return at no charge.

Warby Parker hit its annual sales goal within three weeks of launching its website. What were some of Neil and his co-founders winning strategies?

  • Using social media to promote transactional communication with customers
  • Using user-generated content
  • Using a socially conscious business strategy narrative

Social Media

Move over traditional mass media, social marketing is the quickest way to influence consumer behavior by selling an idea and lifestyle, rather than a product. According to the book Strategic Social Media From Marketing to Social Change, social media allows marketers to engage directly with audiences through an open transactional process.

Warby Parker encourages transactional communication by communicating with, and responding to, customer comments on their social media platforms. Browse their Instagram page and you’ll see that Warby Parker responds to all customer comments. This personal interaction between the customer and the brand fosters trust and brand loyalty.

A staggering 81% of consumers think social media increases brand accountability. Consumer complaints are available for all to see, making it even more important for brands to quickly respond in a professional and unrobot-like manner.

User-Generated Content

Want a better way to engage your community? Look no further! User-generated content not only spices up your content from your social media team, but it encourages new target audiences to join in on the fun and loyal customers to stay engaged. Research shows that 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads.

Warby Parker utilizes user-generated content to allow new customers to hear about the product through an already trusted source, rather than through a businesses’ self-promotion.

A Socially Conscious Narrative

Using social media to market for social good is mutually beneficial for businesses and audiences. Warby Parker partners with VisionSpring, a company that provides a pair of eyeglasses to a person in need for every pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased. One goal of associating a brand with a cause is building trust and awareness.

Roughly 70% of Millennials pay more for a brand that makes an impact on issues they care about. TOMS shoes is an example of a brand that is now linked to social good because of their social impact, and narrative they implemented in their brand story.

Implement social marketing in your brand strategy today to gain a better understanding of who your customers are, and what content they find engaging. Don’t just sell your product, sell the lifestyle and social benefit your target audience will receive when purchasing your products.

Spice up your content with user-generated pictures. Consumers trust their social network, and this is one simple way to start building the foundation of trust between you and your next customer.

Published by Courtney Pierce

I'm Courtney Pierce. A mom, wife, teacher and grad student! I teach high school business and marketing and am the DECA advisor. I am also almost done with my Masters in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University.

One thought on “Disrupting the Norm

  1. Warby Parker’s success, especially with their social media platforms, is remarkable and the way they have conducted their business has really “disrupted the norm” as your title suggests. Gone are the days of waiting for an eye appointment, but its Home Try On campaign is something that is generated so much success in giving a consumer the free option of receiving 5 different pairs of glasses to try on and see what they like. What is sometimes overlooked is that people may not feel comfortable going to a brick-and-mortar and trying glasses on. Trying on glasses in the comfort of their own home can be reassuring, and they are able to try the glasses on with different outfits as well!

    “Roughly 70% of Millennials pay more for a brand that makes an impact on issues they care about”. This quote in your article actually stood out to me and it is something I have sometimes overlooked with my generation. I actually bought 2 pairs of sneakers earlier this week, and I didn’t realize when I bought them, but parts of the sneakers were made from repurposed water bottles. I am not some huge environmental advocate, but I do believe recycling is important and my purchase made me feel better knowing they were made from that. Same can probably be said from anyone who has purchased Warby Parker glasses knowing glasses will be donated after their purchase, it makes them feel extra better about buying the product.

    Thanks for sharing and great blog thusfar!


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