Social media fails are often pointed out as salutary lessons; the problem generally lies in working out what the take-out for any brand is, apart from the injunction: Don’t fail! It is easy to indulge in schadenfreude – that is, delighting in the misfortune of others. It is far more useful, and enlightening, to examine the processes involved.
So let’s look at Black Milk, the Australian online clothing phenomenon you have never heard of unless you are on PayPal or a geek girl who simply cannot have too many pairs of Star War tights. They’re a classic example of a niche brand that operates in a highly distributed market world-wide. Though they claim “zero advertising budget”, they staff a round-the-clock Facebook presence. Serendipitously, they stumbled into creating products for digitally savvy, well-heeled women who effectively organised themselves around the brand and created over 80 private Facebook sites to support it.