Case Study: How Parade Underwear Celebrates Social Causes with Nano-Influencers

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Gen Z-created underwear brand Parade is rooted in a purpose and a promise to impact the world with its cause-focused initiatives.

Less than two years old, the retail company has received over $8 million in funding and has claimed partnerships with a myriad of nonprofits centered around LBGTQ+, body positivity, racial injustice, and more.

Parade’s charitable marketing and Gen Z identity is quickly gaining recognition. See how Parade leverage specific influencer marketing tactics and strategies to disrupt a seemingly crowded space.

Parade Undertakes Sex Education, LGBTQ+ Rights, Body Positivity & More With Nano Influencers

Many brands have shared success in influencer marketing with nano-influencers, Dunkin’, Fabletics, and Playstation — to name a few. Brands hope to achieve credibility with this strategy by tapping into niche communities for a more ‘word-of-mouth’ effect than traditional influencer marketing.

In this case study we examine the results of Parade’s recent Cyber Monday campaign featuring 50+ nano-influencers, including “influencers” with under 1,000 followers (the smallest tier of influencers).

How Parade Leveraged Influencer Marketing For Its Biggest Sale of The Year

Goals

  • Awareness: Build and raise awareness of Parade’s promises to support sustainability, sex education, LGBTQ+ rights, body positivity, and more.
  • Engagement: Ignite social issue conversations within tight-knit Instagram communities while advertising the brand’s Cyber Monday sale.

Approach:

  • Channel: Instagram
  • Influencer Strategy: In most cases, the users promoting the brand were invited by email or reached out to via DM. The campaign was essentially run by gifting free products in exchange for an Instagram post. While Parade does offer a unique sharable discount code once a purchase is made, they currently do not have an affiliate program where users earn commission on sales.
  • Creative/Branding: We analyzed a sample of 50 influencers who recently promoted Parade’s Cyber Monday campaign. Each influencer appeared to be artistic, expressive, and belonging to the Gen Z – Millennial age range — three attributes notably upheld and reflected by the Parade brand.
  • Influencer Tier(s): Of the sample of 50 influencers, followings ranged from to 300 to 7K with the average following of 1,700 followers. 28% had followings over 2K, 20% had followings below 1K and the majority (52%) of influencers were in the 1K – 2K follower range.
  • ‘Influencers’ with less than 1,000 followers: this campaign is especially unique because of the substantial participation of users whose follower counts do not meet the criteria of the lowest-tier influencer (nano-influencers have upwards of 1,000 followers). While some users with below 1K followers appear to be building their “nano-influencer credibility”, many appear to be posting simply to support Parade — and to get free merchandise in return.
  • Sponsored Content: Each influencer referenced Parade’s Cyber Monday sale and tagged the brand’s Instagram account in the post. Many users mentioned product and company values in their caption, highlighting sustainability and philanthropy.

Parade’s Cyber Monday Sale Results, Content & Takeaways

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Of the 50 sample posts collected, only 20% designated the product as ‘gifted’ by either thanking the brand in the post’s caption or using the hashtag #gifted. FTC guidelines suggest properly disclosing anytime a product was gifted in exchange for a post or endorsement.

Results
Combined Social Reach:

  • Instagram followers targeted: 87,000 collectively

Engagement:

  • Combined Likes: 7,193
  • Combined Comments: 772
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 10.4%

Takeaways

  • Advantages: By gifting merchandise to smaller influencers, Parade can keep influencer marketing costs relatively low. We estimate it cost them $12-$50 in product to send merchandise to 50 nano-influencers (resulting in the combined reach of a mid-tier influencer). This strategy allows for the brand to achieve the desired campaign metrics without having to pay additional influencer fees besides free product.
  • Disadvantages: Partnering with nano-influencers and loyal customers to amplify brand messaging has a lower reach and less control than partnering with traditional influencers.
  • By transforming “normal” satisfied customers into ‘influencers’ Parade achieves a more word-of-mouth form of advertising while concurrently reaping some benefits of influencer marketing.
  • When a brand’s values align seamlessly with an influencer’s personal values, it lessens the chance of brand messaging appearing irrelevant and results in positive sentiment from an influencer’s like-minded audience.
  • Brands and social media influencers can collaborate on campaigns that raise awareness and promote social good to achieve impactful results.