Sun Bum, and the Art of the “Fan-sumer”

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In a previous post, I discussed Brand Identity, and why it’s so important in today’s world. I’ve noticed a few companies that have taken this concept to the next level by trying to build less of a consumer base, and more of a fan base. These “fansumers” are wholly dedicated customers, not just because they enjoy the products, but because they believe in the cause and mission of the company.


Case in point: Sun Bum, a company that sells suntan lotion, and other suncare products. I’ve seen several of their displays in various stores (they typically sell in more outdoor-oriented and watersports stores), and one thing that’s always surprised me is the variety of products that they stock. Footballs, paddleball sets, frisbees, towels, even vinyl figurines and car decals – items that would typically only be offered online to the most dedicated of fans – are all readily available where their everyday products are sold.


Kind of a risky move, since most customers will usually pass up items like that. But it’s payed off in spades for Sun Bum, who have developed a respectable and very dedicated following among surfers, paddleboarders, and beach athletes in general. If you check out their website, you can read about Sun Bum’s mission to fight skin cancer, which can afflict as many as one in five people exposed to regular sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation has tested and approved all of their products to reduce the risk of skin cancer, and regularly using these products can reduce your chances by a staggering 80 percent! Fans of Sun Bum are completely behind this mission, and they want to show their support in any way that they can.

"The Bum", mascot of the company.
“The Bum”, mascot of the company.

This is something that I think other brands should strive for, especially those with a powerful cause. It’s about more than putting your logo on a shirt, or handing out stickers to your customers. Sun Bum sells products that their fans will actually use, and that are designed to go with them for their favorite activities. They care about their customers, and invite them to be involved with the company in any way they can, and to show their love. We need more brands that foster a sense of pride, and whose alternate products are more than just an afterthought. We need more than stickers, laniards, and key chains.

If you know of any other companies who are doing something similar, I’d love to hear about them! Leave a link to their website or store in the comments, so that other designers can be inspired too!


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