Newell Rubbermaid: Maximizing Social Impact with Minimal Budget #SESAtlanta

Social media campaigns have become content marketing campaigns, with the same challenges and potential as more traditional media, according to Phil Kinzler, senior manager of digital marketing for Newell Rubbermaid.

Sharing his top social media success stories at SES Atlanta yesterday, Kinzler said that while social is important, it’s still difficult for brands – even big names like Newell Rubbermaid, which owns brands like Sharpie and Goody hair products – to get a budget. Unlike television, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube don’t offer directly-measurable results.

“We all know that paid social is the fact of life,” Kinzler said. “Content drives relevance, and social media is no longer about building community.”

Goody recently had a marketing conundrum: the brand had no active campaigns but wanted to create engagement around Father’s Day. So the brand took to the streets, casting regular fathers and daughters for impromptu tutorials, in which fathers learned how to style their daughters’ hair. Then, the week before Father’s Day, Goody pushed the videos out over Facebook with a link to YouTube. Interestingly enough, the brand didn’t roll out the videos to consumers right away, but pushed them toward fashion designers, editors, and bloggers. The industry-only rollout worked. With only $100 or $200 behind the post, the story was picked up by MTV, Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping, just in time for Father’s Day. For the next leg of the campaign, Kinzler said the brand targeted, not fathers, but “moms, moms with daughters, and social media users interested in hair. We boosted the post to friends and fans, and then it took off virally.”

Many of those shares from fans of the campaign included the clever hashtag #DadHairDay. All told, the campaign cost only about $10,000 and resulted in 16.5 million brand impressions, a success Goody is still trying to figure out how to replicate.

“We’re trying to understand how much money we need to put behind a social media campaign to have the same impact as a tradition media campaign,” Kizler said.

And the answer seems to be that as long as the content is good, the cost of a social media success isn’t nearly as high as it is for other media outlets. For #DadHairDay, there were three times as many organic views on Facebook as paid, and 51 percent of social media mentions included the hashtag. And while most of Rubbermaid’s mass media goes through focus group testing, Kizler said his team took the #DadHairDay idea and ran with it without testing at all, which in the long run boosted brand reputation while saving money.

“Put your money behind the best content and it will resonate,” Kinzler said. “You can test, but also do because good content means you spend less money.”

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