Goodr's "irreverently absurd" branding and nutty website content has built a cult following and helped grow sales.

The customer service team at Goodr, a sunglasses brand for runners, follows a very strict return policy: Any emails for exchange requests should be accompanied by “a hand-drawn picture of a pirate fighting an octopus.” And returned items must be unused with exceptions for “damage from bear attacks made on a case-by-case basis.”

Carl the Flamingo, the company mascot who mans the help center with his flock of parrots, has a warning for buyers: “Depending on the nature of your request, we may require naming rights of your first born. Spoiler alert: Your first born will be named Carl.”

With FAQ responses like that and eyewear products named “My Cateyes Are Up Here” and “Flamingos on a Booze Cruise,” Goodr doesn’t take itself too seriously. The company, which launched in 2015, oozes personality online with bold brand positioning and outrageous content.

The offbeat flair of Goodr is working for the retailer: The brand has gained a devoted following and is seeing triple-digit year-over-year growth in 2018. And when the company revamped its content model, the influx of traffic crashed the site.

Online oddities

Even the site images are a study in strangeness. A grown man painted fuchsia with a beak and flamingo plumage lounges on the grass, waiting for track and field events to begin. (Shielding his eyes with a pair of Goodrs, of course.)

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Goodr’s goal is to prove that working out and fun aren’t mutually exclusive.

Co-founder and CEO Stephen Lease says Goodr’s unconventional identity has drawn customers in and built loyalty. Just ask the woman who sent the company a “divorce certificate” she created as proof that she’s breaking it off with her long-time sunglasses brand—one of Lease’s competitors—and now proclaiming her allegiance to Goodr.

The goal of creating zany content is to make people laugh by wielding the brand’s “positively fun, irreverently absurd” voice, Lease says. “Our mission statement says it all: ‘We’re recklessly committed to fun…blah, blah, blah, sunglasses.’”

The retailer cuts to the chase with cheeky messaging elsewhere, too. “The Goodr Anthem” homepage video aims to reach the casual runner who wants a more affordable and flattering pair of sunglasses: “Olympian. Champion. Warrior. Winner… Nnnone of those words describe you,” a narrator says. “Frankly, you’re planning on having a beer after this run. Maybe four. So why did you spend $200 on these ridiculous sunglasses?”

The payoff

According to Lease, having a playful vibe breeds customer loyalty, lends itself to social media sharing, drives traffic and even bumps conversion rates. “Our branding translates into loyal fans, great word of mouth, repeat purchases and so much more,” he adds.

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Generating quirky blurbs and photo shoot concepts is an investment, and all creative is done in-house. A dozen people are in the marketing department, but the entire company chips in regularly.

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Product images are unconventional.

“The team is really large for a brand our size, but we believe great content equals great connection,” Lease says. “I actually don’t believe any creative agency could come close to the quality of content we put out. Besides, it’s too fun to outsource.”

The Goodr crew has gotten it down to a science—naming six pair of sunglasses in 30 minutes. The brainstorming sessions have led to some serious chuckle-inducing product names including “Swedish Meatball Hangover,” “You Don’t Look Like Buddy Holly. At All.” and “Whiskey Shots with Satan.”

Marketing anti-tool bag fashion

Lease conceived of Goodr one day while he was on a run and caught a glimpse of himself in a car mirror “looking like the biggest tool bag you can imagine.” He says he started the brand to prove that working out and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive. Goodr aims to inspire “people who want to love life” and offer products that are both utilitarian and fashionable.

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To differentiate between the $25 versus $35 price point, a chart marks the features each line of sunglasses has—like grip coating, bounce control and polarized or gradient lenses. But instead of settling for a plain, old yes or no, the guided-selling tool opts for more colorful descriptors such as  “Awww yeah,” “Fo sho” and “Mos Def.”

Gooder also hosts live events to build a community and further promote is wacky brand. The happenings, which are “promulgated by the Goodr Committee for a More Debaucherous Future,” include a Gluttonous Alcoholic Mile Series of races punctuated by quarter-mile stops for piña coladas, whiskey shots or rosé. Goodr recaps its own events—adding video and photos and recording winners—but also lists the rules for fans who want to host their own races.

The Whiskey Mile requires competitors to wear Western saloon attire with one devil-themed accessory to participate and awards extra points for anyone riding a hobby horse or a devil’s trident for the duration of the race.

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Goodr markets to shoppers who are just as likely to let out an “overzealous celebratory scream-grunt” after crushing a workout or a beer.

Lease says Goodr gets a ton of enthusiastic customer feedback. “We’re hustlers, and we’re the best at what we do,” he adds.

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