“Ask Team Clean” – Henkel x Whites. How we built an engaged social media community in 10 European markets
How do you evoke positive emotions when bringing up the topic of household chores, laundry and cleaning? How do you build communication in social media for an international FMCG brand? How do you create engaging content related to household cleaning? Together with Henkel Laundry & Home Care, we have found a way.
Henkel – there is no need to introduce this brand. Presumably, everyone has used some products carrying the Henkel logo. However, not everyone knows that this global conglomerate has a few core branches. One of them is Henkel Laundry & Home Care – an FMCG company producing and offering cleaning and laundry products, such as Persil, Silan, Somat, Pur, Perwoll or Clin. It is for this part of the multinational corporation that we are a strategic partner in the field of social media in Central and Eastern Europe.
Whites is a digital marketing agency with a team of over 120 experts who support clients in the areas of data-driven SEO and performance marketing, marketing automation and product design, content marketing and social media, advertising creation, video production and public relations. We work with Polish and international brands. Our social media competence, intensely developed over the past 4 years, during which the team has grown from 3 to 24 people, includes activities from strategy to creative and execution of campaigns in full detail.
✔️ Build the reach of the international “Ask Team Clean” campaign, which creates community, advice and entertainment in several countries while promoting Henkel Laundry & Home Care’s well-known brands Persil, Somat, Perwoll, Pur, Silan and Clin.
✔️ Reach users interested in household topics, draw them into activities, engage and motivate them to react to published posts and, subsequently, to share and comment on them, thus increasing brand awareness in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Ukraine, Hungary, and, since March 2021, also in Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria.
✔️ Engage social media users across multiple European markets simultaneously so they not only react to posts about cleaning, laundry and washing, but also share and comment on them. And when that’s done – keep a watchful eye on the communication at all times.
✔️ Craft language and communication that is authentic and engaging for the target audience. Drive social media communication such that it sincerely responds to the needs of targeted groups.
✔️ Inspire. Through content, animation and advice, reinforce the brand image and build positive associations with it.
✔️ Provide long-term social media marketing communication with a local touch in each of the 10 markets, ensuring linguistic accuracy, cultural fit and tone of voice, while not losing perspective of the client’s strategy and goals.
✔️ Support the client’s international efforts in building an engaged community around the “Ask Team Clean” campaign.
Data from May 2020 to July 2021:
A unique reach of 92,6 million in the client-defined target audience, on Instagram 90.3% women, the majority between 25-34, on Facebook 94.7% women, the majority between 25 and 44.
Instagram profiles we created from scratch for the campaign have nearly 20,600 (20,674) followers, and on Facebook, the number of fans of local “Ask Team Clean” profiles is more than 134,000 (134,155) – an increase of 155,38% from May 2020 to the end of July 2021.
A 12-person multidisciplinary and international team, with three native speakers with excellent English and social media skills, writing in Romanian, Hungarian and Austrian German, recruited and prepared for the role over the course of 6 weeks.
87 qualitative animations that were the backbone of the campaign: 70 animations customized for Facebook and Instagram feeds, and 17 for Instagram Stories.
15 months (from May 2020 to July 2021) of daily work on adapted content in 10 markets: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Ukraine and Hungary, and since March 2021 also in Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria.
User engagement exceeding market benchmarks. Users respond and comment on tips. They participate in contests and games and share content. They create their own content for Henkel’s brand campaigns.
Starting with the real needs of social media users and offering communication that strongly and authentically meets those needs – turned out to be the best way to reach the target group of the “Ask Team Clean” campaign on social media. How did we do it? Read the rest of the case study… or feel free to contact us if you want to discuss what we can create for your brand.
The target group, whom we were addressing, were mainly women aged 25-40. Individuals interested in household care, doing their daily shopping and looking for advice in this area. In the CEE countries, apart from Austria, women are more active in social media than men. They are the ones who most often make decisions on what detergent, dishwasher pods or cleaning products to buy. This group is also distinguished by a need for respite from everyday life, which is why the communication strategy of the “Ask Team Clean” campaign is created around this issue.
We started our cooperation on the regional level. We were responsible for social media, Facebook and Instagram communication in 10 markets. We prepared content in English for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine (which was later tailored by local agencies cooperating with Henkel), while for Poland, Hungary, Austria and Romania – in the national languages, as we are also a local agency in these markets. In March 2021, the list of markets was extended to Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria.
Today, as we are achieving our goals by coordinating work in so many markets, and as we are obtaining results to be proud of, we have the know-how and experience to support our international clients. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to enhance the communication of your brand in international or local markets.
Organizational and Communication Challenges
✔️ A voluminous brief concerning activities in multiple markets. The offer took us 2.5 weeks to develop because it had to include, in addition to great ideas, a timetable and a budget – delivered with Swiss precision. We presented the offer in Vienna, at the headquarters of Henkel Laundry & Home Care – we got to know each other and shook hands before the pandemic stopped the world and made travel impossible.
✔️ Content strategy, content calendar and advertising calendar. Content had to be ready 2 months prior to publication, with dates, times and promotion details. Regional and local level concepts for 2 channels: Facebook and Instagram, prepared in English and adjusted to take into account cultural differences: both in the nature of the content published (local holidays, customs) and in the preferences for the form of the audience in a particular market (e.g. quizzes or tricks and tips).
✔️ Developing a multidisciplinary and international team of 12 people exclusively for the Henkel campaign. Onboarding of 3 native speakers with excellent English and SM skills, preparing posts in Romanian, Hungarian and Austrian German – we did it all in 6 weeks.
✔️ The pandemic hit when we were in the preliminary stages of the project and thwarted some of our plans, while the realization of others was significantly postponed. Closed borders, canceled flights. Plane tickets to Vienna, purchased well in advance, were of no use, and the meticulously planned 8-hour workshops with the client’s team ended up being conducted online, with half the time to spare.
✔️ Remote project management with a team scattered across several countries exactly when lockdown, movement restrictions, social distance and isolation orders were being put in place and the entire agency had to go into telecommute mode.
Preparations for the campaign launch took 4 months.
We carefully scheduled all activities. However, the threat of Covid-19 and the lockdown delayed some and turned a few upside down.
Fortunately, flexibly responding to changes and the responsibility and commitment of the people working on the project, as well as forbearance on the client’s side meant that by the agreed deadline we had everything buttoned up – and the content was ready.
In May 2020, we kicked off communications on Facebook and Instagram.
The communication and content concept
The team dedicated to the Henkel Laundry & Home Care campaign consisted of 12 people and was diversified in terms of competencies. It included social media and performance marketing specialists, graphic and motion designers, account managers, and native speakers from Romania, Hungary and Austria. On a regional level, we prepared posts in English, which were adapted and implemented by local agencies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. At the local level, our team developed and implemented the content for the other markets: Polish, Romanian, Austrian and Hungarian. We were also responsible for recommending paid activities on a regional level and reporting the results.
We wanted to be honest with the audience: not trying to persuade them that cleaning somehow makes one feel better, that it is exciting and enjoyable. Rather, we wanted to inspire and show them that they can take care of their homes effectively, quickly and with little effort. We offered valuable, informative content, focusing on socially relevant issues such as slow fashion and ecology, entertaining and, at the same time, simply presenting a ready-made solution: perfectly matched Henkel products. We highlighted the fact that these products make it easy to keep the house clean, and to do so efficiently, so in the end… one can simply return to other, more pleasant activities.
We succeeded in developing a strategy and an authentic and relevant tone of voice, as well as content and video animations that created buzz and engagement around the content and thus promoted the brands.
Rather than being strictly product-based, our communication was therefore designed as an umbrella. For this reason, the campaign was called “Ask Team Clean” and not, for example, Henkel Laundry & Home Care. The corporate products appeared as background content. The key was to attract users interested in taking care of their homes, establishing a relationship with them and developing a mutual voice.
This approach has become a hallmark of our communications and one of our success factors.
We based our communication on the previously created brand hero concept, which was provided to us by the client.
To engage FB and IG users, we based the campaign on user-generated content. We invited those interested to join the dialogue: we asked open questions in the posts and in the graphics. By answering them in comments, fans and followers could share their experiences, which built greater authenticity. We also organized contests, giving participants the opportunity to entertain themselves, and moderated comments on a regular basis.
We acknowledged that recipients who find answers and solutions to their questions on social media are more likely to participate in brand activities, so a large part of the communication consisted of tips and tricks. We searched for little-known tricks about laundry and cleaning, those that caught people’s attention because they were novelties, but also the most common and useful life hacks and protips.
We published the content in the form of attractive, unique animations. Each was developed in different language versions. Below is an example.
Because we wanted the published content to have as many views as possible and to be shared by Internet users, in our communication we also referred to current events (holidays, important days, seasons and activities related to them) and took into account locally unique elements (e.g. customs related to holidays).
In addition, on Instagram, we collected and used user-generated content in communication. We created stories and DIY animations. We also published posts with local influencers not associated with the cleaning industry.
The variety of posting forms in both channels went hand in hand with visual consistency. We used key visuals developed for Henkel, whereas the “Ask Team Clean” logo also appeared alongside the photos of users and influencers. As a result, it was easier for the recipients to recall the brand.
For both channels, we used all available formats – from flat lays to carousels. To increase community engagement on Instagram, we regularly used the Stories format for contests, quizzes, and fun activities, to name a few. We published official “stickers” and created an AR filter that one could apply to their photo.
We are here to help you with your social media communication on this level and help build momentum. Just drop us a line and let’s talk about possible cooperation.
Communication with clients and agencies in regional markets
In addition to creating a strategy for communication and engaging activities for Facebook and Instagram users in each country, the team appointed to support Henkel had another important task: day-to-day contact with the client’s team.
Communication with the client was not just about fixing current issues and reporting on goals.
Once a quarter, we held editorials – video conferences with the Henkel Laundry & Home Care team. During these, we discussed the results, presented concepts for further action and highlighted why they were worth the effort.
Apart from that, we regularly organized remote digital marketing courses for Henkel (e.g. social platforms, ads, video content, influencer marketing). Usually, about 100 people from the client’s side took part in these courses. Participants learned the ins and outs of social media and gained insight into what we do as an agency. This gave them a better awareness so they could make informed decisions and plan what other opportunities the Whites team could bring to the table.
If you are looking for this level of partnership with professionals, wait no longer. Let’s talk!
During the activities implemented on Facebook and Instagram, we reached the target group, defined at the beginning. What’s more, we also motivated older female users – aged between 40 and 54 – to ‘like’, ‘share’ and comment on the posts. In total, we had a unique reach of more than 92 million in Europe between May 2020 and July 2021, a figure that keeps growing as the “Ask Team Clean” campaign continues.
Women represented 90.3% of our users on Instagram and 94.7% on Facebook. As of March 2021, profiles on Instagram had more than 20,600 (20,674) followers. On Facebook, the number of fans exceeds 134,000 – having grown by as much as 155,38% since May 2020. User engagement was and is high: the average engagement rate from the campaign is 2x the industry median, which means that the relationship between the brand and its followers is strong and they rate the content as interesting.
The communication strategy, which was not pushy or salesy, promoted the brand and showed the not-so-attractive topics related to cleaning and laundry in a simple, eye-catching and engaging way – it worked very well and allowed us to build community.
The mobility restrictions caused by the pandemic, which thwarted our plans at the beginning of the collaboration, turned to our advantage over the following months. Online meetings saved time. It also offered us effective methods of remote management of an extensive project and an international team.
says Eva Kollarikova, Digital Marketing Manager CEE, Henkel
says Marcin Piotrowski, Business Development Manager, Whites Agency
Henkel highly valued its cooperation with us. In the NPS satisfaction survey conducted among our customers (we measure it periodically), we received 9 out of 10 points from the Henkel team. One expression of appreciation for the whole team was the extension and expansion of our cooperation: in March 2021 we started activities for 3 new European markets: Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia.
We have reasons to be proud, not only because of this evaluation and the invitation to further cooperation. Since March 2021, we have become a strategic partner and a regional agency for Henkel Laundry & Home Care, preparing social media content for 10 European countries. And most importantly – the adventure continues!
If you are facing challenges on an international scale and are looking for a trusted partner you can count on, with experience on which you can rely – let’s talk.