Whirlpool: A User Generated Content Case Study

My marketing class assignment this week is to evaluate a digital marketing campaign by a major brand, and then evaluate their current efforts. Because I published two posts on user generated content this week, I went with Whirlpool’s “Every Day, Care” campaign. This gives me an opportunity to further explore the points I made in this week’s podcast episodes with a real life example with real results. So, let me begin analyzing this user generated content case study.

Whirlpool’s Goal: Change the Way We Viewed Chores

Whirlpool dealt with a lot of customers, but often only when they had complaints (DigitasLBi, Crowdtap, Whirlpool, 2019). Whirlpool products are used to perform tasks most consumers don’t look forward to: chores. At least, I don’t look forward to them.

Interestingly enough, 62% of adults said that the key to a successful marriage was a chore system. It’s easy for one partner to take on more work and become unhappy about it (Klein, Izquierdo, Bradbury, 2016). That makes a lot of sense really, when I think about the arguments I’ve had about chores…

Whirlpool wanted to change the tone of the chore argument, er, conversation. That’s what inspired the “Every Day, Care” campaign. The work a stay at home parent does for their family each day (or working parents who split the duties, etc.) is valued at more than $160,000 (Juneau, 2019). So the value of these chores is huge for a family. Whirlpool wanted to put the focus back on that value.

Whirlpools Campaign Centered Around UGC

Whirlpool used Crowdtap to gather thousands of user generated content (UGC) stories. Why? They knew that no matter what story they told, nothing would be more effective that consumers telling their own stories. Research shows that over 66% of consumers trust UGC more than branded company content.

Whirlpool gathered more than 44,000 different types of UGC: text, images and video (DigitasLBi, Crowdtap, Whirlpool, 2019). Don’t forget, almost anything a consumer creates can be UGC. Whirlpool took these different pieces of UGC and created a content marketing campaign around them. They created a microsite as the hub of their efforts. The entire digital marketing effort incorporated paid, earned, and owned channels.

Business Impact of Whirlpool’s UGC Campaign

As a result of the campaign, Whirlpool experienced 12% year-over-year unit growth and a 6-6% increase in sales. The consumer view of of the brand also increased, from -.3 to 4.6 on a five-point scale (DigitasLBi, Crowdtap, Whirlpool, 2019).

Whirlpool was able to cause significant change in business metrics by helping their customers appreciate the value of the daily work they did for their families. By reframing the way customers viewed their tasks (which they used Whirlpool and competitor products for).

Did Whirlpool Continue to Ride the UGC Momentum?

After reviewing Whirlpool’s website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it appears that the campaign success didn’t convince Whirpool to change their social media strategy. Despite the measurable success and impact on revenue significant metrics, Whirlpool’s strategy seems to reflect many mistakes big brands often make.

Facebook

This gives an opportunity to (predominantly unhappy) customers to complain about their product issues. It doesn’t appear that the social media management team is equipped to do more than pass the issue along to customer service. The responses are always canned, and don’t sound like a real person. They would do better to personalize these responses and sound more authentic.

Instagram and Twitter

They appear to use Instagram and Twitter as employee facing channels, promoting content that would likely be relevant to current and potential employees. This is definitely something I wouldn’t recommend at all. There is a lot of overlap in their target demographic in terms of who uses Facebook and who uses Instagram.

I’m seriously shocked that despite the huge success of the campaign, Whirlpool’s current channels don’t have a piece of UGC in sight. Definitely a disappointing end to this user generated content case study.

References

DigitasLBi, Crowdtap, & Whirlpool. (2019). #EveryDayCare – Whirlpool, DigitasLBi and Crowdtap. Retrieved from https://shortyawards.com/8th/everydaycare-whirlpool-digitaslbi-and-crowdtap-2

Juneau, J. (2019, January 15). Study Finds Stay-at-Home Moms Should Earn More Than $160,000 for Caring for Their Kids. Retrieved from https://people.com/parents/stay-at-home-moms-salary-should-be-160000-study/

Klein, W., Izquierdo, C., & Bradbury, T. N. (2016, June 20). The Difference Between a Happy Marriage and Miserable One: Chores. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/the-difference-between-a-happy-marriage-and-miserable-one-chores/273615/

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