How to Stand Out When Selling A Commodity (And Sell North of $100M)


The term “coffee” is searched 5 million times a month. If you are selling coffee, how do you get seen? How do you differentiate yourself? In the case of Black Rifle Coffee, it is not their coffee that makes them special or different. It is their branding.

I last took a look at Black Rifle Coffee at the end of July. For this check-in, I tried something a little different. I have been looking for domain experts to discuss these brands I am breaking down from their perspective. For this breakdown, I spoke with Marc Gutman from WildStory. Marc is an expert at storytelling and branding. Here is our discussion about Black Rifle Coffee:

Sales Update

I started tracking Black Rifle Coffee in July. I estimate they generated about $7.9M in revenue through their website. In August, I estimate they grew their revenue to $8.2M (about a 3% growth month over month).

Social Growth

Instagram followers have grown from 1.6M to 1.7M. In July, they were being tagged an average of 570 times per week. Currently, I see them being tagged about 646 times per week. They have an incredibly passionate audience, which is shown not only in their social numbers but also in their sales numbers. 

On Tiktok, they have grown their following from 370.8K followers to 380.2K followers.

Their Youtube audience has from 819K to 829K.


On Facebook, Black Rifle Coffee currently has 120 active ads. In July, they had 300 active ads. 3 different brands I am tracking have drastically reduced their number of active ads from July to August on Facebook. 

21 of their ads were launched in August. In July, they had launched 77 ads (all of which are now inactive). 

See Black Rifle’s Facebook Ads

For search, the vast majority of Black Rifle’s traffic comes from its brand name. This is not terribly surprising because coffee is a commodity and the word coffee is search 5M times each month. To stand out, Black Rifle Coffee has had to build their traffic off of their brand, which means people search for their brand rather than trying to find them from a non-branded term.

You Need To Be Different, You Need To Stand Out

Black Rifle Coffee’s success can be directly attributed to its branding. Just from their eCommerce sales, they are generating around $100M in revenue. They have differentiated themselves, and they have stood out. If you look at any of the content they produce, almost none of it talks about how great their coffee is. It is all about building their brand image. And they can be polarizing, but that has been a good thing for this brand. It is good to have haters too.

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