How Squishable Defines a Social Brand

Squishable is a small business with a huge presence. Their products – giant, fuzzy, often goofy stuffed animals – are as much about cute toys as they are about social branding. And in today’s digital world, being a “social brand” is becoming increasingly important. However, having a strong Facebook and Twitter presence isn’t all it takes to make your brand social. We look at how Squishable engages customers on multiple levels to achieve a huge social media presence that all brands, big and small, can learn from.

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Squishable has a standout product – oversized, super-soft stuffed animals that demand to be cuddled. But like many products, these Squishables would never have amounted to much were it not for repeat customers and positive word of mouth advertising. And so, Squishables embraced social media as its primary marketing platform, and today has over 134,000 Facebook fans behind them, putting them in the social leagues with big brands like FAO Schwarz (9,400 fans) and Crayola (246,000 fans).

But Squishable knows that being a social business is not only about having a few social media accounts; a social business fosters interaction, reaches out to the public, inspires people to have fun, and gives customers a say in the product or service they’ve come to love. This is precisely what Squishable has done, thus creating a brand experience that’s about more than just the product; it’s about the social interaction, as well.

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How Squishable exudes sociability

  1. Product Votes – Squishable lets customers make design choices. Be it a wolf, horse, or puffer-fish, you name it, they use product votes and feedback to let customers choose the next season’s stuffed animals.
  2. Contests – Last summer, Squishable held a video contest where customers could submit videos they made with their stuffed loved one. The winners received a free “Squishy” and a $50 donation to their favourite charity.
  3. The Daily Squish iPhone App – Squishable lovers can get a dose of cuteness on their iPhones through the free Daily Squish app, allowing users to browse pictures of people and Squishies with humorous annotations.
  4. The Fuzzy Five Web Comic – Squishable brings their products to life through a bi-weekly web comic starring the various animals.
  5. Pictures and Videos – Not just for contests, customers can share media of themselves and their fuzzy Squishies any time of year and have them posted on the company website. Every picture submitted receives one dollar donated to Squishable’s charity of the month.
  6. Travels with Squishy Blog – Adding another layer of fun, Horace the Nomadic Monkey Squishy travels around the world and blogs his adventures.
  7. Icons and Avatars – Diehard fans can download icons and avatars of their favourite stuffed Squishable and share them to their heart’s content.

All of these activities are not only social; they are largely what identify Squishable as a brand. It’s not just the product; it is the people involved, the conversations that take place, and the emotions behind it all. It’s all on their website, but how exactly do they bring it all together? A website can only do so much…

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Fusing the pieces with Facebook and Twitter

Squishable has a hefty following for a small business on both Twitter and Facebook with 2,361 followers and 134,511 fans. We used our analytics tools, Skyttle Realtime and Skyttle Friends, to look at their brand. Sentiment is very high across the board with words such as adorable, cute, amazing, and exciting. So the big question is, why such the large following and positive sentiment?

It’s pretty simple: they use Facebook and Twitter as a support for all of their other social activities instead of using them to define their whole social identity.

This social strategy isn’t only for small businesses like Squishable. It can easily be applied to big brands. To characterize yourself as a social brand, it is not enough to just be active on Facebook and Twitter. You need to engage your customers in different ways and spark their interests to get involved. Contests, Apps, Web Comics, Charities…these are all ways to engage. While every brand will be different, the point remains the same. Use social media to support your strategies, not define them.

We would love to know, what makes your brand so social?

5 Responses to How Squishable Defines a Social Brand

  1. This is a great post. One of those case studies you want to put in front of the clients (not mine of course) that still assume Facebook and Twitter are the answer to social media, when in fact they form part of the sum #nicework

  2. I would not mind seeing those sweet faces adorn my screen from time to time…. With the hard edged and scary world we live in, if this was my product I’d make it my mission to fill the world with cuteness, soft hugs and smiles. Seems they are finding many ways to do just that. Sure, it’s about boosting sales too. :)

  3. While I was already committed to buying a Squishable after seeing them year after year at Otakon (an anime convention that draws 20,000 attendees yearly, most of them college age), what really got me was the company’s e-mail address—–not something generic like “customerservice@squishable.com”, or “info@squishable.com”, but the very charming and original “hugme@squishable.com”. Oh, yeah, and the 20% discount they offered on Twitter one fateful evening….

    • Thank you for all the wonderful comments!

      @Will – That is exactly what inspired me to write this post. It is definitely a common problem with businesses to focus only on Facebook and Twitter when it comes to getting social. While both are important, I then see brands like Squishable who clearly go above and beyond and it makes the world of difference!

      @Dottie – Squishable has clearly taken hold of you! That is exactly the point, though. Their strategies work and really do put you in the frame of mind to want a Squishy of your own to hug and smile at.

      @Barby – Great point! Squishable’s email address immediately struck me also and I couldn’t help but get more excited about the product. It really got me thinking about other brands. The plain old contact @ businessname.com is boring, technical, and adds nothing to the product or service you offer. It really brings to light the importance of taking time on the simple things because sometimes they can have a huge effect. Clearly it did for us!

      @Squishable – Thank you for the feedback! You really are a great example that many businesses can learn from. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future!

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