February 24, 2024

In spring 2020, Terence Reilly left his role as chief marketing officer at Crocs, becoming president of Stanley, the beverage-container manufacturer. For Stanley, it was an unexpectedly trendy hire for a brand known for selling traditional flasks for over a century. At Crocs, Reilly drastically improved the company’s stock price and reputation. Since taking over as Crocs C.M.O in 2015, Reilly launched collaborations with celebrities like Post Malone and embraced social media notoriety, eventually causing the stock price to soar.

At Stanley, Reilly followed a similar blueprint, successfully elevating the company’s tumblers to a newfound popularity. Collaborations with celebrities and viral online videos have propelled Stanley’s products to sell out minutes after being released. The company’s pink-and-green Watermelon Moonshine Quencher, named after a Lainey Wilson song, became an instant success. Target’s release of Valentine’s Day tumblers caused stampedes down store aisles and sold out quickly.

During his time at Stanley, Reilly has discussed expanding the company into new markets, seeing the potential to establish Stanley as one of the world’s leading lifestyle brands in the future. The strategy has parallels with established companies Rimowa, Blundstone, and Yeti, all of which have utilized rebranding to appeal to a wider audience with great success.

Stanley has straddled a line between banal and influencer-chic, and its burgeoning popularity suggests that bringing a strong core product online might be easier than starting with an optimized online presence and then developing the product. The company’s success in transforming an established brand like Stanley into a digital content machine is a testament to its carefully cultivated strategy and the leveraging of online visibility to gain customer loyalty.

Ultimately, the rise of Stanley suggests there is no guarantee that a spike in visibility will yield lasting dividends, but as of now, the brand’s future looks bright.