In April 2012 a new brand called Royal & Awesome (R&A) took its first step into the daunting world of social media by posting 10 funky golf clothing designs on Facebook.
Some users commented that they were funny, others that they would never wear such head-turning apparel – but one thing was for sure: the brand grabbed people’s attention.
Fast forward three years and brand director Graeme Smeaton was recently asked by Facebook to talk at its ‘Boost Your Business’ conference about how R&A has built a worldwide following on the social network boasting more than 170,000 golfers and recorded global success.
The event, held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, was part of an on-going series of half-day events giving local businesses the chance to be inspired by local business owners who are growing with Facebook.
Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, has more than one billion users and is no longer just a realm for users to check in with friends and family; it is an advertising tool, and one which R&A has taken very seriously by making it a core part of their long-term strategy.
R&A brand director Graeme Smeaton said: “The key to using Facebook effectively is to understand the role that it plays in your overall business strategy. For Royal & Awesome, it’s all about reaching new potential customers and continuing to engage with existing ones.
“People often wear Royal & Awesome to add that little extra to their special golf event and, as a result, they love to share photos and stories from these events with us – in turn, we love to share these with our wider audience. Sharing real consumers’ ‘Awesome’ content is essentially word-of-mouth advertising – but Facebook enables us to do it on a larger scale.”
The funky clothing brand is enjoying its third consecutive year of 50 per cent year-on-year growth, which has accelerated to more than 75 per cent in the last six months. Sales to date have already exceeded more than £1.25m and the brand is on track to deliver another year of significant growth in 2016.
R&A is also an approved supplier to TGI Golf. Its spectacular clothing has been sold by more than 250 retailers and in 17 countries worldwide, including the USA – the world’s largest golf market – where its sales are more than doubling year-on-year.
The colourful brand has become synonymous with fun golf occasions – having featured at more than 500 events through partnerships with charities, event organisers, travel providers, trick-shot specialists, celebrities and even guys getting their heads stuck in bins.
It’s hard to imagine that it’s only been three years since the Gullane entrepreneurs came up with the idea to marry the demand for bright colours with the history and heritage of golf, and the ‘Awesome’ innovators are hoping the best has yet to come.
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