What do Charles Darwin, Facebook and Rebel Sport have in Common?

17 August, 2013

How Rebel Sport Uses Facebook

Charles Darwin might be surprised to know that businesses can apply many of the concepts of his theory of evolution to their digital marketing management!

Rebel Sport, Australia’s largest sporting goods and clothing retailer has come a long way since opening its first store in 1985 and, with the proliferation of online discount outlets and big brands like Nike and Adidas starting to sell direct to the consumer, Rebel Sport has had to adapt – quickly. Social media is part of its journey of evolution.

Rebel Sport now has a significant online presence including an ecommerce website and a Facebook page. To help you with your own social media, here’s what Rebel Sport has done well, and what can be improved.

Tip #1: We live in an ever changing world

Darwin said it best “nothing stays the same”. This is as true of the physical world as it is of the business world. Evolve with the times and become strongest of your species or you’ll become extinct. Rebel Sport’s online shop and Facebook page rival many of their key competitors so this is a good start.

Rebel Sport doesn’t do the ‘hard sell’ online, instead it’s about engaging and building relationships with its audience. For one of the country’s biggest retailers this takes good planning. Rebel Sport posts items of general interest, for example updates of sporting match scores and the latest photos from big sporting events and it leaves commentary on them open to consumers.

Tip #2: Natural selection is real

Not all members of the species make the cut. Even businesses that are well established sometimes find themselves unable to compete in an evolving world. The same applies to social media posts, their reach, and subsequent customer engagement.


Rebel Sport uses its Facebook page to create goodwill among customers by promoting significant discounts of 40% or more and high profile competitions. One recent campaign asked fans to take a photo of them wearing a product (sold at Rebel Sports stores) and then post the photo on its Facebook page. If customers weren’t already fans of the page, the first step in the entry process was to “like” the Facebook page.

These sorts of tactics play a key role in growing the page ‘likes’ with the brand having over 22,900 ‘likes’ since 2011. Fans were also encouraged to post the photos to other social media sites like Instagram. By combining Facebook, Twitter and Instagram into the competition Rebel Sporttheir exposure across multiple applications. This is helps the brand to keep pace with the competition.

Tip #3: Evolution takes time


Generally evolution isn’t a process that can be rushed – it happens slowly allowing for improvements along the way. But unfortunately, in business often there’s no time to wait. Things need to happen quickly, they need to happen now and they need to happen right – first time around!

If you can’t afford to be patient, you should at least be prepared and this is where Rebel Sport gains ground on its competitors. Rebel Sport has implemented a visible, professional and expedient strategy in response to customer complaints on its Facebook page – and they have set the bar high. Where possible, complaints are usually addressed by Rebel. Often it will be as simple as recognising the feedback. In other instances, further advice or direction will be offered to the customer. Where there are direct questions, these are answered officially.

The page appears to be managed by well-trained, socially savvy staff and it seems as though all the right protocols and procedures are in place. There will always be consumers with complaints – it’s all part and parcel of customer service, but it’s how you deal with them, particularly in public social media forums that will help keep or win-back upset consumers.


Tip #4: One species gives rise to another

By understanding the intricacies of the different social media forums, Rebel Sport holds a significant advantage over competing businesses. Not only is its evolving into a more customer-focused business, it’s able to use public forums like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to log its progress.

Companies can use negative feedback on their Facebook page as strategic assets when it comes to planning and company development. It’s very cheap research! By utilising social media feedback as a tool to improve their business model and increase their consumer engagement, Rebel Sport is evolving into a stronger, fitter species.

By Scott Evans
As co-founder and Director of Gorilla 360, Scott has spent the last 12 years helping businesses grow through smart digital marketing.
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