Company: Lion Brand Yarn
Campaign: Lion Brand podcast and blog
PR Team: internal and Converseon
Duration: October 2007-October 2008
Despite its reputation as a seemingly ageless pastime, knitting has found a new life on the Web, spawning numerous knitting blogs and even a few online communities. Lion Brand Yarn, itself more than 125 years old, aimed to connect with Web-based consumers by creating an online portal for knitters. The company used the site to drive loyalty and sales for its brand, says Ilana Rabinowitz, VP of marketing at Lion Brand.
“We have a very social group of consumers and a very passionate user base, and they are hobbyists, and we were wanted there,” she explains.
While the company saw the benefits of taking its brand into social networking, it decided to first only utilize podcasting and blogging because of its older user base that was not actively on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking options, says Rabinowitz.
“I was a little nervous about getting us on Facebook, or getting us too involved in Twitter, because the customer base tends to be an older customer,” she says. “And so we felt that blogging and listening to a podcast would be something that was pretty digestible to them and could raise consumer interaction with the brand.”
The strategy also helped the company increase brand loyalty, which showed when customers regularly stood up to defend the brand online, Rabinowitz adds. The company eventually extended its online work to Facebook and Twitter.
“We got a lot of very positive qualitative comments, and we also saw that consumers would not just interact with us but with each other,” she says. “And on an occasion when a consumer might be critical, other consumers jumped in.”
The company used its long-running newsletters to promote the podcasts. It also further engrained itself in the online knitting community by inviting prominent bloggers and personalities to guest appearances on the blog and the biweekly podcast.
The company also regularly conducted “knit-alongs,” which combine online and offline events and show consumers how to create the same pattern. The knit-alongs tend to drive higher amounts of traffic to the Lion Brand site, says Rabinowitz.
The podcasts usually garner between 15,000 and 20,000 downloads per episode, according to Converseon. While the company did not disclose the number of views or visits to the blog, Lion Brand said its research shows that social media users are 83% more likely to be brand loyal than others.
“The people who have a deep relationship are enhancing the brand, and the social media traffic is converting to sales much higher than the regular traffic, so it's much more valuable traffic,” says Paull Young, social media strategist and account lead at Converseon. “We know these people are out there advocating for the brand both online and offline.”
Converseon and Lion Brand do not have any future social media campaigns planned at the moment. However, the two companies continue to work together and future social media work is an option.