In March 2020, as the severity of the pandemic began to weigh on the world, marketers rushed to turn off spots that no longer felt “right” while we collectively adjusted to our new normal. While thousands of businesses closed their doors as the world shut down, stay-at-home orders created an unexpected opportunity for KitchenAid: time spent in the kitchen was on a meteoric rise.
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, people fell back on the simple and comforting, relishing little moments of joy. While they couldn’t control what was going on outside, they could make things a little brighter inside - and for many, that started in the kitchen.
The brand has always championed the creativity-boosting, stress-lowering and anxiety-relieving power of making food from scratch. And now more than ever, the world needed to tap into that homemade goodness.
To drive long-term growth and build relevance, KitchenAid’s objectives focused on driving brand-building efforts - lifts in consideration, favorability and social engagement - so that even when things are back to “normal”, consumers would have a meaningful connection to the brand.
While learning how to cook was previously considered an aspirational skill, amidst a global pandemic, it became a necessity with a steep learning curve. In March 2020, an abundance of novice cooks entered the kitchen and quickly tired of microwaved frozen dinners, creating an urgent need for help and guidance.
Searches for simple solutions (61%) and recipes for on-hand ingredients (60%) skyrocketed as people went into lockdown. Baking boomed as yeast and flour flew off the shelves, #sourdough mentions on Instagram surpassed 4MM and banana bread searches increased 54%. As online chatter around making was beginning to boil, KitchenAid had the opportunity to not only join, but lead the conversation.
Rising to the challenge, KitchenAid launched #MakeItTogether - a globally relevant, social-first campaign designed to bring joy back to the everyday through the one thing everyone already has at home: their kitchen. Through recipes, tutorials, challenges and games, #MakeItTogether equipped makers of all levels with tools to make the most of their time at home and stay connected during an unprecedented time of isolation.
Keeping the constraints of pandemic life top-of-mind, content was designed to work with what people had on-hand: “When life gives you…” featured readily available ingredients and “Yes We Can” illustrated delicious dishes possible with canned food. The brand mixed short video tutorials, recipe pins that drove to the website, and inspiration built around native features (quizzes, polls, GIPHY stickers) to keep engagement and positivity high. KitchenAid elevated trendy recipes with a fresh take: meeting the Banana Bread craze with their spin on Banana Popsicles, and offering a “salted tahini” version of the popular whipped coffee drink.
With the landscape changing daily, KitchenAid adopted an agile mindset to keep the campaign tone relevant for consumers, day after day. #MakeItTogether became a living, breathing content machine shaped by search behaviors, cultural trends, and social listening. As cooking interests shifted rapidly, so did our content.
Collectively, these insights shaped our campaign and content pillars, while further cementing KitchenAid as a helpful, inspirational and compassionate resource at a time when we needed it most.
To amplify our message and lend credibility, we hand-picked influencers and chefs to create content across Instagram and Pinterest and help the brand cast a wider net to bring #MakeItTogether to more people. Unlike a traditional program with set content parameters, our partners served as real-time correspondents, collaboratively determining which content themes best met their followers’ needs and trends of the moment.
Over the course of 10 weeks, we launched over 200 pieces of content in the U.S. alone, ultimately activating #MakeItTogether across North and South America, EMEA and APAC. The campaign rallied the growing maker community through creative cooking challenges, recipe content and virtual events, all with KitchenAid at the helm.
In 2020, we turned lemons into lemonade, proving that with creativity and agility, anything is possible. Working with almost nothing, we created an agile and integrated social approach, built and engaged in authentic dialogue with our existing and new social community, activated across influencer and all owned media, and engaged retailer support to help amplify the #MakeItTogether message.
Globally we reached 72MM people worldwide, generated 179MM impressions, grew our followers by 50K and got 5MM engagements in just two and a half months. As a result, KitchenAid saw a 3.7-point lift in consideration, 15% increase in brand engagement and 10% increase in preference YOY in the U.S. - the brand’s biggest market.