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Spotlight: What Sugarfina Taught Us About Having A Social Media Branding Strategy

Each month we’ll feature a brand that we admire and write about what marketing and branding lessons and techniques we’ve learned from their example.

Making Life Sweeter

Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick were two singles in search of love on the dating website back in 2010. As fate would have it, the pair began dating and quickly became business partners soon after. It was on their third date that they watched “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” when talk of opening a candy store together came up in conversation.

A Sweet Climb To Worldwide Brand Recognition

The duo’s website launched in 2012 and has been offering an artisanal candy experience to consumers ever since. Sugarfina candies continue to be sold online and are now sold across the nation at various brick-and-mortar locations.  The company has grown tremendously over the past five years in terms of brand recognition. The candy company brings a playful approach to all things sweet and social. O’Neill credits “innovation and risk-taking” for the success of Sugarfina’s unique branding style. The luxury candy boutique now has the largest Instagram following of any candy store in the world. Their brand social media strategy allows the company to have an authentic brand voice and seem more personal. ‘Likes’ and ‘follows’ are only as important as the engagement they create. In an interview with the Planoly Blog, O’Neill acknowledges that a large portion of the company’s retail traffic comes from consumers who first found their candy on Instagram.

The Sugarfina Brand

O’Neill and Resnick had spotted a market niche for a luxury candy store that specifically catered to adults. Combining the joy of a traditional candy store with an upscale touch brought immediate success for the company. The market was saturated with candy stores when Sugarfina entered and dominated competitors. The duo perfected the company’s brand strategy by honing in on their buyer persona. From the candy selection to the packaging, Sugarfina is branded towards adult foodies willing to pay extra for elegant sweets. The company’s brand style is a solid mix of fun and sleek. Their trademark swimming pool blue color adds synchronicity to every element of Sugarfina including logo design, package design, store setup, etc.

Find Your Mantra

O’Neill spent 7 years working for Mattel as the Director of Marketing under the Barbie brand. Her boss, Richard Dickson, had a mantra of “details matter.” Not only did these two simple words become instilled in O’Neill, but it is now the mantra for her candy company. Sugarfina proves that small efforts produce big results. The company keeps its consumers coming back for more by showering them with love through small details like personally choosing samples for tasting or hand writing notes to be placed in candy shipments.

Use Collaborations To Leave Your Comfort Zone

In 2016, the Sugarfina team played an April Fool’s joke on consumers by pretending to announce green juice gummy bears as a new product. O’Neill and Resnick realized how much attention the prank received and decided to act on the idea. What started as a spoof became a collaboration with a company called Pressed Juicery. A similar situation occurred a few years prior to that when Sugarfina revealed their collaboration with Whispering Angel. Rosé gummy bears became an instant success upon generating a waiting list of 18,000 persons.

Mix Some Sugar Into Your Brand

Social media tends to play a big role these days in attracting sales. Remind yourself when posting on social platforms that this may be the first point of contact for a consumer being introduced to your business. Take risks with your social media branding strategy and style and continually try new concepts to see how they resonate with your audience. Mimic the success of good ideas in future posts and be sure to not duplicate any failed ideas. Balance is the key to a successful branding strategy. A strong brand strategy will help attract new consumers while working to retain existing ones.

Wrapping Up

The keys to having a successful social media brand as sweet as Sugarfina’s – especially in a saturated market – is to: define your brand and establish your style, discover your mantra, collaborate and experiment, and most importantly understand who your buyer personas are.

You can check out and download our free resource “Create Buyer Personas for your Business” to help you get started today.