by Daniel Crask, Managing Partner @ Brand Shepherd


There’s a brand of products I am particularly impressed with because of how obsessed they are with their customer experience.

Their official Facebook Group is the unlikely means by which they are growing their Tribe of customers, and they do it so masterfully, I have to tell you about it because I believe this brand is showing every other product brand out there that an energized, active, loyal Tribe of customers is still possible today.

This brand uses their Facebook group to…

  • Have an ongoing, open dialogue with customers every hour of the day and night.
  • Topics range from how their products are used in everyday life, to how their products fit into their niche interests, birthdays, birth announcements, vacations, shipping challenges, order questions, sales questions.
  • Handle customer service initiation questions about products, orders, and shipping out in the open, for all to see.
  • Get new product ideas from customers – at least once per day!
  • Announce upcoming new products, promos, and flash sales.

So, what’s the product that people are so engaged in?

Flashlights.

You read that right.

112,000+ people – 90% of which are men – are engaged in a Facebook group for a flashlight brand.

As in 250+ posts per day…10,000 posts per month…313 new group members last week…engaged.

The brand is Olight.

Olight is a global brand estimated to be $80mil/year that designs, manufactures, and expertly sells flashlights to extremely devoted customers around the world.

Olight and the Every Day Carry

Since 2007, Olight has been designing, innovating, and selling lighting products, such as flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps to militaries, law enforcement, and most of all, men and women who buy products in the Every Day Carry, or EDC, product category.

EDC as a product category includes a variety of items, each with its own market size, but since EDC is an individualized experience of preferences, by definition, it is impossible to accurately say how many billions of dollars per year is spent in the category.

However, since EDC includes the flashlight, knife, firearms, and tool product categories – to name just a few – you can begin to get a sense of how far and wide the reach is.

Within the EDC productsphere, Olight has worked hard to be the most trusted flashlight brand for EDC’ers.

You might rebut, “Ok, that’s all interesting; any competent product brand can build itself up to that kind of success. What makes Olight special?”

Olight’s approach to its customers is what makes them special.

Any brand in any category could take Olight’s approach to the customer experience and apply it.

I will call out some things I see working very well.

Olight’s Bright Idea

Olight had the bright idea of being a brand that is obsessed with its customers (in a non-creepy way).

They do this by, of all things, their official Facebook group, which they created in 2016.

The Olight Facebook group is, by far, the most engaged, active, and must-see social media feed I have been part of for years. It is like an entire social media platform within Facebook.

Recently, Olight dedicated an entire Flash Sale to celebrate a mile marker of having 100,000 members in the group and then had another promo when the group celebrated 5 years. Olight even had a commemorative “challenge coin” minted – as they do for many of their products – for the 5-year mark.

These promos were announced, curated, and supported through the Facebook group, and those who are in the group couldn’t be happier about it.

Olight supports this group with a team of 20-or-so Olight-branded ambassadors and staff who are part of every single post and comment section.

The ambassadors are simply longtime, loyal customers who know the products really well.

The staff is a mix of people from the Georgia and China offices.

This, to me, is fascinating because it shows the USA- and China-based staff and volunteers working seamlessly together for the customer experience.

Each Olight person has their own branded Facebook persona, such as Olight Miranda, Olight Ed, and Olight Chris. Their avatars tell us that they’re part of the brand.

The Customer Is A Person

The simple idea that Olight seems to base everything they do around is that the customer is a person.

You know, like a real people human person.

Not a target. Not a demographic. A person.

This is most glaringly evident in how wide a variety of content is shared within the Olight group.

Every day, I see shared…

  • Very personal stories about how the people in the group have supported one another through life’s various challenges.
  • A dad giving his kid their first Olight.
  • Pics from a job site and how an Olight flashlight makes their work more enjoyable.
  • Open complaints about products or shipping times.
  • The #Odesigner hashtag is used by customers who have created a new product idea. Some of these ideas are high-fidelity concepts, not just sketches!
  • And so, so much more. It’s hard to capture just how robust this brand’s community is. I have never seen anything like it from a brand.

Why do people – again, almost all are men – feel so free to share all of this?

Because Olight people are right alongside them, sharing the same types of stuff, and they’re also in the comments, having conversations and actively listening.

4 Key Takeaways

Olight launched their Facebook group in 2016, so this exceptional case study did not just pop up overnight. Over the course of 5 years, they adapted and slowly let their guard down within the group in terms of how they talk openly with their customers. Takeaway: Start now.

In addition to the Facebook group, Olight has a strong presence on Instagram and YouTube with at least one live video each week — oftentimes more. The live videos are leaning toward the live selling trend we are seeing take hold in Asia. The videos add another layer of personality and being approachable. They have enough brand on each video to be considered “on-brand,” but there’s no script. Takeaway: Video can support – not lead – the Tribe-building work.

The Olight Facebook group allows for some truly personal content. There are days when a very tender moment is shared, such as a child’s birth, loss of a loved one, someone struggling with a life challenge, etc., and Olight not only lets it stay in the group feed, but I see Olight staff right there in the mix of comments. It’s not uncommon for Olight to even DM the OP and send them a gift! Takeaway: Your customer is a person. Embrace their personhood in your group.

It would be a total failure for me to not state this, even though this should be glaringly obvious: Olight makes incredibly great products, and they show no signs of slowing down. They’re not just pumping out all new models of flashlights, either. They take beloved lights and offer them in a variety of colors, materials, and limited runs. I own a “Winter” Titanium Baton S1RII that’s worth over $400 on eBay! Some products gain value over time. Just last week I saw a rare copper light go for $1,100 on eBay. Takeaway: Make great products.

BONUS 5th takeaway: Don’t just read this — go join the group for yourself and let the posts take over your main Facebook feed for a day or two. Observe, learn, and adapt it for your product’s Tribe. Your brand will be all the better for it.

Every Product Needs A Shepherd.

Let’s talk about your brand. Together, we can make it thrive.