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April 24, 2024
Andy Maher & Tim Xumsai

Crocs to Sippy Cups 


A little while back we wrote about how Crocs repositioned from derision to Gen Z phenomenon. Our snapshot analysis was quite straightforward – Crocs had used authenticity, a new audience, and the warm embrace of social media to become one of Gen Zs most loved brands.  

We put away our keyboard and called it a day! Looking back, there’s a major factor we overlooked, the CMO Terrance Riley. Because since leaving Crocs, he’s done it again – this time for the Vacuum Bottle manufacturer, Stanley. 

Once seen as a brand for tradies and outdoorsmen, the classic Hammertone Green Stanley Vacuum Bottle has been transformed into a celebrity fashion item and Instagram darling under Riley’s leadership. 

The rise has been phenomenal. Since taking over, Riley has helped the Quencher range go from selling 500, to 5,000, to five million units. Stanley has grown from a 107-year-old staid and heritage brand into a soccer-mum essential.  

Here’s Riley’s playbook: 

  1. Find a brand with potential 
    Riley could have leveraged his Crocs performance to land a ‘big job’. Instead, he took on a more interesting challenge with Stanley.  
  1. Lean into the people already there 
    An intern alerted Riley to Post Malone’s love of Crocs. And a ‘Stop, start and continue’ meeting led a sales associate informing him of the popularity of the Quencher in Utah. Meetings and conversations like these happen all the time, Riley’s trick is to find the gold nuggets in them. 
  1. Market orientation informs your audience and strategy 
    Die-hard supporters of your brand are there to be celebrated. Riley believes in elevating them and then trusting that if they love something, people who are like them will love it too. 
  1. Digital and traditional media all matter 
    Riley leans heavily into pop culture to stay top of mind. He not only invests heavily in social channels, like TikTok and Instagram but looks out for media partnerships and in-person experiences. And remember, while viral social media moments are nice, there’s nothing better than product on shelf. 
  1. Have an “unmistakable sense of what’s possible” 

Riley is a visionary marketer and believes in keeping a true north star to lead his team towards his vision.  

There’s something wonderfully old school about Riley’s ability to see the twinkle of potential that lies at the heart of a brand and turn it into a shining beacon. If you look at the old agency model, the one that took unknown businesses and turned them into global behemoths like W+K did with Nike – that’s the magic. It’s the thing that we wish there was more of, and something we strive to achieve every day. 

So, hats off Terrance Riley. It’s great to see the power of true transformative marketing.


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