The Frye Life: How The Heritage Brand Ran a Representative Influencer Campaign at SXSW

The famous and nostalgic Americana label Frye is going after a whole new generation of customers by tapping power style bloggers to wear their updated gear.

This type of effort to gain brand equity is a relatively new way to do things for most companies, and Frye cleverly stayed true to their roots by having their recent activation revolve around the famous SXSW festival, which is basically a playground where cowboys mingle with geeks and hipsters.

Let's take a look at how their representative campaign fared in the Lone Star state.


Frye's come a long way from cowboy boots.Frye's come a long way from cowboy boots.

Festival season is about to come at us like a hurricane, and as per usual, it's being kicked off with SXSW, one of the most well-known and respected events of the round. 'Tis the time of year when people flock to Austin in droves, ready to interact with their peers who come from all sorts of different creative industries. Fashion, food, or likelier tech and music, where things notably congregate over the duration of the festival.

It has gained so much momentum in the past few years as the tech bubble has gotten bigger and even more bubbly - the geek squads of yore are now the rock stars of one of the country's favorite cool kid scenes. Chew on that.

SXSW's hype has been built up thanks to high-profile launches that took place there, such as Foursquare, Meerkat and everyone's favorite love/hate relationship partner, Twitter.

And where there's a trend, there's a influx of publicity, and most modern companies across all kinds of trades now make sure to have some form of representation on the ground to keep their ears and eyes opened to the next big thing by hobnobbing with those who are making it happen. No pressure.

Indeed, most brands look to establish some semblance of presence at these kinds of happenings for a few reasons. It brings them tons of visibility, it keeps them in people's minds through exposure and it allows them to stay abreast of what their consumers like, among other things.

A little old school, a little modern, a lot rock 'n roll.A little old school, a little modern, a lot rock 'n roll.

Take for example The Frye Company. They've been around for over a hundred and fifty years and the big challenge for these heritage brands is to be able to keep up with the times and reinvent themselves, all while staying true to their core essence, which generally involves nostalgia.

With tons of fashion brands now partaking in a big way in SXSW - cause festival season, duh - it's become kind of crucial for labels to establish a presence at these popular cultural gatherings. But when you have an event that happens to be the peanut butter to your brand's jelly, it makes for a match made in Instagram heaven.

And for this year's edition of South By (as the cool kids refer to it), there couldn't be a more fitting entity to take the festival by storm: the all-American Frye Company known for it's durable, western-inspired boots (although it must be noted that their products now run the gamut from bags, all the way to high heels).

Frye commissioned three on-brand influencers and authorities in their category to collaborate with throughout the festival. Due to the Southwest nature of both the label and the location, they were very wise to select girls who could wear their shoes in a way that would appear as organic as possible. This is the kind of approach that pays off in the end.

The style stars in question:

Let's observe the tangible ways in which the campaign impacted Frye's Instagram account.

With all three influencers posting a photo featuring @thefryecompany around March 2nd and 3rd, their account had a spike in follower acquisition right around those dates.With all three influencers posting a photo featuring @thefryecompany around March 2nd and 3rd, their account had a spike in follower acquisition right around those dates.


There was also a major follower spike on the second major post date: March 17th.There was also a major follower spike on the second major post date: March 17th.

An interesting correlation to observe is that there was a spike in their own post engagement around the dates where the influencers were mentioning @thefryecompany.An interesting correlation to observe is that there was a spike in their own post engagement around the dates where the influencers were mentioning @thefryecompany.



Frye asked their influencers to use 3 hashtags in their captions, 2 of them unique to this campaign - #theFRYElife and #FRYEAustin - as well as their regular one, #InMyFrye.

Let's see how their punctual pounds fared:

#TheFRYElife reached almost 1 million users around the time of the second post date.#TheFRYElife reached almost 1 million users around the time of the second post date.


#FRYEAustin had a similar reach over the same period.#FRYEAustin had a similar reach over the same period.



Now let's take a gander at some of the posts.

@thedarlingdetail's first post for Frye crushed her regular engagement rate of 1.20% by coming in at 2.17%.
@thedarlingdetail's first post for Frye crushed her regular engagement rate of 1.20% by coming in at 2.17%.

Tania's post reached almost 100K users organically and had engagement rate of 3.58%.The best performing post of the entire campaign came from @tania_sarin: this post of hers reached almost 100K users organically and had an engagement rate of 3.58%.



This post from @seaofshoes performed under average on her own account, but @thefryecompany repurposed the on-brand photo and it was one of their most successful images of the week.This post from @seaofshoes performed under average on her own account, but @thefryecompany repurposed the on-brand photo and it was one of their most successful images of the week.



As a brand, it's important to remember that while data like this is crucial to acquiring concrete results, these numbers do not account for all of the brand equity Frye gained from the activation, which is priceless and immeasurable.

We can't wait to see how brands establish their presence on Instagram as the rest of festival season rolls out... stay tuned!


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