2015 Digital PR Awards: Influencer Communications

Winner: Cohn & Wolfe / Tom's of Maine - Goodness Circle Ambassador Program

In 2014, Tom’s of Maine asked Cohn & Wolfe to help bring its brand and core values to a larger audience. Although it’s a 45-year-old brand, Tom’s of Maine has only a 49% awareness in the U.S. and had spent far too long talking to a very narrow dark green consumer while the natural category began exploding in the mainstream marketplace.

To help increase the brand’s reach and relevance, the team created an ambassador program to create word-of-mouth conversation around the brand’s products and core programming. The Goodness Circle was established as a pilot, test-and-learn program to help establish a wider fan base for Tom’s of Maine.

Online influencers provide consumers with an outlet for recommendations and lifestyle insights, while creating a two-way relationship that brands lack with their consumers. When consumers follow an influencer, they feel connected to them, like they would a friend or a family member.

With that in mind, Cohn & Wolfe went beyond the typical paid-product endorsement to find bloggers who had values and beliefs similar to Tom’s of Maine, and who already used the brand’s products on a regular basis. These bloggers were leaders inside of their communities, not only through their large reach through their blogs and social media channels, but through their involvement in industry events and selective brand partnerships. They shared stories from their family and everyday life, creating an online persona that their readers respected and followed with zeal.

Ultimately, the Tom’s of Maine Goodness Circle exceeded program goals by 269% in 2014 with 56.5 million total program impressions and a 10.5% increase in Twitter following for the brand.

Honorable Mentions:

•             Experience Columbus - Columbus Residents Share #LifeinCbus

•             Hunter Public Relations on behalf of E. & J. Gallo Winery - Getting Barefoot on Instagram

•             Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena - Hydro Boost Launch

•             Marina Maher Communications - Clairol Turns YouTube Creators into Ambassadors to Help Women Overcome Fear of At-Home Hair Color

•             Marina Maher Communications and Crowdtap, Inc. - U by Kotex Taps into a Universal Female Truth, Connects with Young Women Everywhere and Saves the Undies

•             Sierra Club - Strength in Members: Influencers Drive Thousands to AddUp.org

•             Unilever - All Things Hair