social media

Q&A: How Kendra Scott’s marketing team is seizing on #BamaRush TikTok’s viral momentum

CMO Mindy Perry shared her secrets with Marketing Brew.
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Kendra Scott

· 6 min read

Go to any Southern college campus just before school starts, and you’ll see a parade of young women marching down Srat Row wearing Kendra Scott necklaces, Alex and Ani bracelets, and Lilly Pulitzer dresses. It’s safe to say sorority fashion hasn’t changed much over the past decade.

But this year, there’s a new brand vying for sorority women’s hearts: TikTok.

  • At University of Alabama, incoming freshmen added the app to their list of must-haves for rush: They’ve been documenting the entire recruitment process on TikTok for everyone to see.
  • It’s good news for the above brands, as describing your “outfit of the day”—or #OOTD—quickly became popular on what’s been dubbed #BamaRushTok.
  • Other colleges have started hopping on the trend, too.

Still confused about #RushTok? USA Today put it like this: “Videos showing first-year college students preparing for sorority recruitment events have gone viral, with the hashtag #RushTok taking over TikTok and other platforms. The videos show young women at different schools preparing for Greek life events during the time on campuses widely known as ‘rush.’”

Paying for friends: Kendra Scott’s TikTok account started creating its own #RushTok videos after seeing so much organic engagement from women mentioning the brand’s accessories in their #OOTD videos.

  • The buzz is paying off. Kendra Scott CMO Mindy Perry told Marketing Brew its site saw a 17% increase in new users last week compared to the prior week. In Alabama specifically, new visitors were up 24%. Compared to the same week last year, first-time users were up 11%.
  • Additionally, on Kendra Scott’s brand TikTok account, its three #BamaRush videos have received a combined 2+ million views and more than 200K likes.

Perry shared her secrets with Marketing Brew like only a sorority woman can. Read on to see how Kendra Scott’s marketing team chose to approach the trend, the results it's seen from doing so, and its broader TikTok strategy.

Q&A

This interview has been lightly condensed and edited for clarity.

Marketing Brew: Tell us about how your brand got involved with #BamaRushTok.

Mindy Perry: We noticed on Tuesday night, August 10, that our personal TikTok feeds were becoming filled with Alabama sorority rush content, and Kendra Scott was being organically worn and mentioned by many women rushing. I was getting all sorts of texts from friends and former colleagues! We were not tagged in much of the content, but our incredible social team jumped on the opportunity to engage with our customers. We immediately started commenting on their videos and quickly saw thousands of likes pouring in on our comments alone.

Literally overnight, our social team quickly concepted and created a TikTok video called “Choose your #BamaRush Jewelry Look,” and by Wednesday it was live, igniting amazing, immediate engagement.

MB: Was it difficult to determine whether you should stay in the background and let the internet do its thing, or jump in on the action?

Perry: With some trends, it can be difficult to decide whether to jump in, but this was an easy one for our team, as our brand was organically mentioned so frequently in the first 24 hours of this trend. Our team saw an authentic opportunity to bring value and join in on the #BamaRush conversation to connect with our customers.

MB: Has Kendra Scott leaned into #BamaRushTok content anywhere other than TikTok?

Perry: While we engage with our customers on multiple social channels with content that is relevant to the audience, our engagement in the #BamaRush conversation has strategically remained primarily on TikTok, where it originated. We shared our content on Instagram Reels and found that the audience was not following along with the TikTok trend and it did not resonate. As a brand, we know the importance of channel-specific content and this trend underscored the importance of that.

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MB: Who creates the brand’s TikToks?

Perry: Our social media strategy and content is created and executed in-house by our social team. Having the social team in-house, umbrellaed under marketing, helps amplify our initiatives and supports quick reactions to trends and engagement with our followers.

MB: Alabama’s rush season is on the earlier side—which means you probably have the opportunity to double down on #RushTok content for other schools. Have you put any thought into that?

Perry: Absolutely. The engagement we experienced with #BamaRush brought so much excitement for the entire Kendra Scott team, and we are already thinking of opportunities to continue organic engagement with these types of conversations.

Kendra Scott herself joined the TikTok conversation by posting a video of her reaction to all the support for our brand during rush, saying she “can’t wait to see what university will be next,” and we all share her sentiment. Our social team is closely monitoring what school will emerge next, or if the #RushTok trend will die down. Trends on TikTok can change so rapidly, and our marketing team prides ourselves in being able to pivot quickly.

MB: What other schools do you foresee blowing up on TikTok in the same way?

Perry: We have already seen schools jumping on the #RushTok trend. The young women at Ole Miss are starting to generate buzz on TikTok, and the University of Texas’s rush began on Tuesday, so we can’t wait to see how other schools approach #RushTok.

MB: Does website traffic usually increase during rush? Have you ever tracked that before?

Perry: Yes, we do see increased site and store traffic as students get ready for a new year. Back-to-school is an important shopping season for our customers, so that they look and feel their best going into the school year. As rush aligns with back-to-school, we are excited to be part of our customers’ journey going back to school and getting ready for rush.

MB: Have you seen a sales increase since your #RushTok content took off?

Perry: I mentioned our fantastic increase in new site visitors and we’re thrilled to see these new customers not just explore the brand throughout our site but actually convert at a higher rate. We saw an almost 5% increase in conversions among new site visitors, and that translated to an almost 20% increase in revenue coming from new customers week over week.

MB: How do you know when to continue making content around a cultural moment + when it gets stale?

Perry: We listen to our customers, first and foremost. TikTok moves extremely fast and has so many niche content categories. We ensure our team is engaged in our overall strategy and then empower them to use their strengths to bring it to life with our customers. Our social team isdedicated to being active on TikTok—breaking down trends, finding emerging influencers, and listening to what our customers and potential customers are doing. We use TikTok as our content playground—a place where we can try new things with our brand. TikTok is a platform that rewards fresh content, so you don't want to be too late on a trend, and need to be ready to move on to where the customers go for the next one.

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