Integrated digital marketing (IDM) best practices emphasize the importance of optimizing your brand’s quality content and other owned media assets by promoting them through your website and social platforms. By maintaining a consistent storyline, look, and feel across all channels, you can provide your target audience a clear and consistent message that they begin to believe and trust in; by engaging with your social community, you can build consumer advocacy and other earned media assets like positive user-generated reviews and social mentions. Finally, you can use paid media to quickly scale and amplify the reach your owned and earned content assets.
Converged media requires each instrument of content delivery, whether owned, earned, or paid, to work in concert to deliver a seamless brand message.
Converged Media Practices that are #KINDAWESOME
What’s in a name? To the snack brand KIND, its name wasn’t just a brand identity, it reflected a desire to change the world through more than a healthy fruit and nut bar.
With an underlying foundational belief that there is “more to business than just profit,” KIND maintains a focus on brand message even when not discussing its products. For starters, KIND excels in optimizing its owned media. The organization has all the boxes checked with regard to a successful IDM strategy: a user-friendly website, blog, social media channels, and robust community engagement. But what makes KIND stand out as a leader in converged media?
Providing a great product, KIND has attracted a spate of earned media through reviews and highlights in acclaimed news articles—Men’s Fitness, Women’s Health, People, and Huffington Post to name a few. In addition to the attention from published media outlets, KIND leverages the buzz it receives from delighted customers by promoting social mentions from its army of “kindaholics” on its website, streaming a live feed of customer tweets and Instagram posts that is all things #kindawesome.
Although KIND does not utilize paid media like billboards, print ads, or online display ads, they employ an indirect (and novel) form of paid media by endowing social initiatives, sponsoring a charity foundation, and providing selected customers with sample products to review.
In an effort to bring KINDness to the world around us, KIND runs a monthly poll soliciting entries for worthy causes from customers. The brand agrees to donate $10,000 to any cause entered that receives the winning number of votes. The KIND Causes initiative an excellent tool for long-term consumer engagement, mainly because, as KIND solicits votes for new causes each month, supporters of the brand or cause will continue to return to the website whether or not they intend to purchase any KIND products.
Taking a Cue from KIND
As consumer research has shown, if consumers are presented with something they already value, either a cause or a sports team they support, they will subconsciously select that brand over other choices. By taking a stand and introducing a number of worthwhile social initiatives, KIND has built a brand that others can believe in. Strong customer affinity for KIND’s owned media initiatives has led to a large volume of positive earned media from brand advocates and champions. Media convergence at its finest.
- Could KIND benefit from spreading its popular message through paid media channels? How? Which channels might be most effective and why?
- How does KIND manage to create a consistent brand message over all channels? What lessons can other organizations learn from KIND’s approach to converged media?